By Dr. Jennifer Moses D.C. –
Somehow the changing of the calendar year seems to make people inspired to create a list of resolutions – some of the items on the list are realistic and others, well, not so much. While the years change, somehow the majority of the resolutions often stay the same. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made is “weight loss.” People decide they are going to go to the gym or they will just start a new diet that they read about or saw on television. While these are considered health-conscious resolutions, the true New Year’s resolution made should be one of overall better health. So many people think health is something they either “have” or “don’t have;” truly though, health is either a formula you are working toward or your life and the stresses it holds are working you away from.
To break it down to the basics, the formula for health is made up of five components:
1. The fuel you put in. Let’s start with water. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily (so if you weigh 200 pounds, then you should be drinking 100 ounces of water). Food you consume should be a conscious decision. Make sure to think about how what you eat is nourishing and fueling your body and mind. Your daily intake of food should involve more vegetables, fruits and protein-rich foods (like meat, fish and dairy) and less of the rest of the types of foods. If you aren’t getting the vitamins your body needs to run efficiently, make sure you supplement your diet with vitamins of superior quality.
2. Psychological stress is going to happen, but it’s how you deal with it that counts. Life is full of ups and downs; learning to calm yourself and include relaxation in your daily schedule is vital and important to managing stress. This is where prayer (you talking to God) and meditation (you listening or just quieting down your thoughts) are helpful.
3. Get your body moving! Engage in yoga, swim laps in a pool or participate in triathlons; it doesn’t matter what form of exercise you do – just do it! The joints in your body depend on you moving to get their nourishment. These physical activities are also helpful in releasing some of the psychological stresses in life.
4. Sleep is when your body has a chance to repair itself. The National Sleep Foundation says that 7-9 hours of sleep is the magical amount. They also state that when you sleep, is similarly important. From 8pm to 11pm is the time for hydration and stimulation, while 11pm to 3am is the time for nutrition and regeneration, and 3am to 5am is the time for resting. The following are some tips to help make sleep more beneficial to you.
. Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep.
. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow(s).
. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed).
. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
. Exercise regularly.
. Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking.
5. Chiropractic care should be a part of your ongoing health care regimen so your nervous system can function optimally. Sometimes people have aches and pains that are symptoms of an interference in their nervous system, while other times the symptoms aren’t something people tend to associate with their spines. The nervous system works by the brain sending messages down the spinal cord and then out through spinal nerves that branch off to muscles skin and organs. Then the body sends messages back through those nerves to the brain so it can make the proper adjustments in what it is doing. If there is an impingement of the spinal nerve, it interferes with that message and alters the function. The symptoms of this can be pain such as headaches, back pain or “pins and needles” in the arms and legs or it can be a dysfunction such as bedwetting, constipation, asthma, or irregular periods (for females), among many other things.
Now that you know some of the basics in the formula for health, think about other options for those New Year’s resolutions. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
• “I’m going to increase the amount of water I drink each day by replacing two servings of coffee/soda/alcohol with water.”
• “I’m going to meditate for 15 minutes each morning to start my day.”
• “I’m going to take a brisk 20 minute walk each evening.”
• “I’m going to get one more hours of sleep each night.”
• “I’m going to visit my Chiropractor, Dr. Jennifer, and get that free spinal consultation I have been putting off so I can relieve myself of this back pain.”
Whatever your resolution(s), remember the importance and value of maintaining your health. Remember, chiropractic care should be part of your ongoing health care regimen. Make sure you take time for yourself and also your spine so your 2014 visits to the doctor are for preventative care and maintenance rather than trying to cure or treat severe health symptoms. So this New Year, I wish you Health and Happiness!!