Keeping that New Year commitment to looking after yourself
The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is engage in a daily movement routine. I say movement, because sometimes ‘exercise routine’ can conjure up thoughts of needing to ‘smash’ oneself by engaging in some sort of gruelling, physical activity where no pain, no gain is the mantra. This does have a place, but most people don’t need to do that to become mobile, happy and healthy.
Typically, if you are on ‘the comeback,’ or even starting from a pretty good base and looking to maintain, I always advised a regular mechanical check over to make sure all the moving parts are moving to their optimal. We look out for restricted areas that need to be released to allow you to return to activity and assess the functional capacity of the tissue to screen for injury risk and ultimately to prevent from injury in the first place.
If you have not regularly exercised in a while and you are starting back, remember slow and steady – build up! You have as much time as you need. There is no point going hard in January only to have to rest up in February and March….then struggle to get the motivation to start up again in April, which gets put off until May!
Along with appropriately warming up, cooling down, stretching and rolling, you can reduce your risk of injury, improve your recovery and performance by regularly attending a yoga class that is right for you and getting some regular massage treatment, especially in the early days…just like the professionals do.
Exercise that focuses on awareness and control of your movement, such as Clinical Pilates, is a necessary part of your regime along with adequate recovery and preparation. Clinical Pilates is one of the best movement regimes to help you understand and become aware of how you move, to re-learn movement that may be ‘out of sync’ and need improving and to strengthen your muscles and joints at angles just not achievable with ‘regular’ training.
It is important to move beyond ‘re-training’ and to work with someone like an Exercise Physiologist, to take what you have learnt about your movement through pilates and apply it to movement tasks of everyday living. It is important to start to replicate usual movement and challenge with load so that you become stronger to perform your ‘tasks of daily living’ – It’s like training for a sport. You break the game or activity into ‘drills’ and practice until your capacity to perform them improves and feels natural…….most people, with recurring or chronic pain, simply need to do something like this, but really, to do this properly, you need help and coaching from a group of experts. Preferably experts who work closely with each other and know who is the best person to be working with at any given time.
Finally through out, it is important to maintain nutrition. A great place to start is with hydration and electrolytes, where Water and Magnesium are the main ‘go to’s’. These will help to keep your energy up, reduce training soreness and maintain your muscle health and suppleness. A great deal of injury prevention and recovery can be achieved with diet and strategic supplementation.
Dr Giulian Di Venuto is principal Osteopath and Director of MOVE Osteopathy and is available for Osteopathic consultations at both Brisbane City and New Farm Clinic. Move Osteopathy also offers, Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and consultations with our Exercise Physiologists, personalised exercise programs in our own rehabilitations gyms and clinical pilates.
Health benefits of water
Water makes up about 60 precent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
How much water do you need?
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 litres) of total beverages a day, for women it is about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages a day.
Factors that influence water needs
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on
- Exercise or how active you are,
- Climate you live in, (hot, cold, altitude, humid, dry etc)
- Health status (fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea, heart, kidney or liver problems)
- Pregnant or breast-feeding.
Other sources of water
What you eat can provide a significant portion of your fluid needs (about 20 percent of total water intake for average person). Eg fruits and vegetables. Other drinks such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water, but beware of caffeinated and sugar loaded beverages
Osteopath Dr Sam Nevis
“It is easy to adapt to the dry heat in country Victoria (where I grew up); wear sunscreen, stay in the shade, exercise early or later on that day. I have been living in Brisbane for a little over a month now and I am learning ways to cope with Queensland’s humidity. Otherwise I have found myself hot, lethargic and ‘headachy’.
I enjoy being active before and after work and believe it is important to have a work – lifestyle balance that you enjoy. For me this consists of going to the gym, swimming and football training. For me to be consistent with this routine in a new climate, I have had to be proactive in keeping a high energy level and to avoid dehydration.
Early signs of dehydration include increased thirst, nausea, dry mouth, headache as well as darker yellow urine. This can then lead to light headedness, cramps and disorientation for moderate to severe signs that the body is dehydrated.
I have found that drinking water consistently during the day from first thing in the mornings, at lunchtime and evenings, before I feel the need to helps prevent the early signs of dehydration. Having a drink bottle sitting next to me on the desk reminds me to drink throughout the day.
I have learnt the more active I want to be the more water I need to drink.”
7 tips to keep you drinking enough water
- Set a specific goal for the day.
- Invest in a water bottle that you’ll actually use — and keep it close.
- use an app to track progress
- infuse your water with fruit or herbs
- put drinking water into daily routines that you already have. or set specific hours of the day when your bottle should be emptied and refilled
- using straws can make you drink more apparently!
- hydrate with water based foods – soups, juices smoothies but beware caffeinated and sugary drinks
Want to read more?
What happens when you increase your water intake?
Check out this article and photos of a woman who staretd drinking 3 litres of water a day and see the dramatic changes! read
Need to re-hydrate after exercise?
Did you miss our article we posted on the best fluid to rehydrate after exercise? You’ll be surprised! read
Meditation is really becoming far more mainstream and the practice may seem more accessible as high profile businessmen, politicians, medical practitioners, highly successful public figures and athletes discuss in the media their daily practice of meditation…….. and why wouldn’t they be including meditation in their daily routines??? Studies showing the benefits of meditation just keep on mounting up and are hard to ignore. The support of meditation from the scientific world that shows that meditation practice can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, literally rewire key parts of your brain associated with stress and well-being is making more and more people interested in making meditation part of their daily life.
If you’re one of those people who “just can’t meditate,” you may want to give it another go. A video from ASAP Science, a YouTube channel lists some pretty solid benefits of the practice.
“During meditation, brain scans see increased activity in regions directly correlated with decreased anxiety and depression, along with increased pain tolerance,” the clip explains. “The Default Mode Network, in particular, is activated when one’s mind is at rest and not focusing on the outside world, and has been found to improve memory, self-awareness and goal-setting.”
Those who practice meditation also have higher levels of alpha waves, “which have been shown to reduce feelings of negative mood, tension, sadness and anger,” according to the video.
In fact, a 2011 brain imaging study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that even very brief instruction in mindfulness meditation (four x 20-minute sessions) was effective in relieving pain by reducing the brain’s emotional response to painful stimuli
Another benefit? Meditation can also improve sleep. At the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, researchers, citing their work, argued that meditation can help with insomnia. “Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night,” said Ramadevi Gourineni, M.D., director of the insomnia program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Our own Osteopath Dr Nick Ritter practices daily meditation and is seeing the benefits in patients who have incorporated it into their daily lives
“Something that I have been really into for a while is meditation, as a self practice. Since being over here in Australia, I’ve started to incorporate meditation into my patients management plans as stress and anxiety comes up a lot as a significant factor during initial case history. I’ve noticed that a few patients with chronic disorders, especially chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are gaining a lot of benefit from including daily meditation. As there is a significant somato-emotional component with these particular disorders, I’m finding that their practice of mindfulness along with the breathing focus is helping to reduce their pain perception and also lifting their overall mood when they come in for treatment. A few patients have mentioned that through meditation, they now have s sense of hope with managing with their particular disorder.”
How to get some meditation into your busy daily life?!
Setting aside a specific time everyday, taking a class or joining a course…. Or if you haven’t done meditation before and none of that appeals maybe you can catch some meditation during a flight or commute on a busy day by adding an app to your phone– check some of these apps out!
“You don’t have to brush all of your teeth…..just the ones you want to keep”
As a healthcare practitioner it really resonated with me.
We are certainly all guilty of neglecting areas of our life and lifestyle that contribute to our overall wellbeing…….yet a lot of us tell ourselves we are in pursuit of wellbeing and balance. We can’t be perfect all of the time in every facet of our life, we all experience stress and things that are out of control that come along and cause chaos, we deal with it the best that we can at the time and a fair number of us probably use the 80/20% rule with a lot of aspects of our lifestyle.
Most people that come to see us certainly have already made a decision to address their “pain” but the dentist’s quote stuck with me because we have certainly seen many patients over the years who are desperate for you to tell them that there is a quick solution to their problem. Some people spend the entire consultation trying to “negotiate” with your advice or professional opinion on what you think it takes to get better or really address the root of their problem.
OK sometimes you just fall off your bike and hurt yourself ……. but honestly most people we see could certainly be in much better shape working a bit more on their fitness, flexibility, posture etc …… not to mention diet, stress, work/life balance.
Most people we see usually have underlying issues that are contributing to their current state. Working with these patients to help them and see them move towards wellbeing and a much happier and healthier version of themselves is really what gives us a “kick’ as a practitioner. To use our many years worth of training and knowledge to see people well, happy and with less pain is what it’s all about for us. It’s the biggest thing that draws most of us into healthcare.
It’s always enjoyable and productive when a patient comes in who is really trying to achieve balance and is working forwards total wellbeing. The patient really wants to work and fixing their problem long term, they own their problem and their bad posture, lack of fitness, strength or whatever it is and are willing to genuinely try to do what they can and what it takes to really feel good. They are motivated and honest with themselves about all the facets of their life and trying to get some balance. These patients are inspiring people around them see and feel their motivation and it motivates others……… and make us love our job just that little bit more!