The more I learn, grow, and educate myself in the health and fitness industry the more I realize I can do for myself to stay well, rather than running from practitioner to practitioner to keep me moving and feeling healthy.
I think all types of medical practitioners including doctors, specialists, massage therapists, physio’s, chiros, acupuncturists, energy healers, counsellors, personal trainers, play their role in maintaining our health. I visit them all, and I recommend them all. For serious cases, involving high levels of pain or injury, we should visit them immediately.
But I also do believe there is so much we can do on our own, and our own time. I have compiled a list of a few of the things I do regularly that I believe help me save some money and time! It’s also very empowering and educational to know when an issue arises how to manage it on your own. Please don’t take this blog to mean you should never seek guidance/advice again, instead realize all the things you can weekly to improve the wellbeing of your body, in addition to seeking support.
#1. Myofascial Release:
– I use foam rollers and myofascial release balls on my body daily. I use them for maintenance purposes (keeping all the tissues moving well), I use them to focus on areas that are tight and sore from movement and exercise, and I use them to continually open up areas to improve my posture (chest and hip flexors). As a result I spend much less on massage, haven’t seen a physio in 10 years, and visit my chiro rarely now. I have discovered that if I can ‘zero in’ and focus on tissues daily (for 10-60 minutes) then I don’t have tightness, aches or pains, or issues like I used to. Not that it’s easy, sometimes 5 days a week 60 minutes a day using a foam roller is a lot to ask! I combine it with other tasks (listening to a podcast or watching a show I would anyways).
#2: Skipping workouts to focus on mobility instead.
– Do you ever get to the gym and you are super tired, or maybe almost everything in the body is sore from work and exercise? This would be an example of a day that your body will be happier with light mobility exercise than something challenging. If you push yourself today you are most likely going to end up injured, or in pain, and having to find someone to fix it for you! Listen to your body.
#3: Be calm, and quiet, and destress regularly.
– When we allow our subconscious negative thoughts to eat away at our brain all day, it shows up in our body. We feel exhausted, run down, alone, sad, upset, angry, frustrated, TIRED etc. All of those emotions can eventually manifest to illness in the body, whether it is something minor like inflammation or tightness, or something major like massive digestive issues, ‘allergies’, headaches, etc. Pick up a meditation practice, yoga practice, or something that calms you down at a CELLULAR level. You should feel DIFFERENT after you do it :). The more we meditate the less need for tylenol’s, psychologist’s, anti depressants. We still need those things for sure, but if we can do 80 % of the work ourselves first, we can do a lot of the healing on our own 🙂
#4: Eat whole foods.
There is no way I can write a blog about a topic that doesn’t include kicking processed foods. Processed foods are anything where ingredients have been combined outside of your home, packaged, and you buy from the inner aisles of the grocery store. They contain very little absorbable vitamins and minerals, contain compounds that are foreign to our body and often we don’t digest (hence, bloating, gas, water retention), and they don’t provide us with our ‘livelihood’- good healthy nutrition! Lack of good food, I believe, lies at the base of so many issues we see regularly. For the sake of this post alone, let’s just talk about digestion. If you experience bloating, gas, upset stomach, or don’t have 1-2 regular whole bowel movements a day, it’s time to have a food overhaul. Figure it out, before you mask it with tums/pepto bismol/running to a doctor. Probiotics, lemon water, and aloe are also great products (among many) for healing stomach issues.
#5: Drink more water, with electrolytes.
When we are dehydrated we feel sluggish, tired, have headaches, and eat more! From what I can see, I’d say most people are dehydrated. You should be consuming at least 2 litres of water day (besides any other drinks you may be having, especially coffee). Start today, fill up a big 2 litres of water, throw in some lemon wedges or coconut water for electrolytes and see how it changes how you feel, and if you end up with less complaints. I usually use coconut water for electrolyte replacement, but found an electrolyte replacer by the company VEGA that I am really into right now.
#6: Do better exercise for your body.
I analyze my client’s posture and how they walk. The majority of people have adapted some crazy postures and movements from sports, work, and wearing shoes our whole life. Instead of exercising to improve the way we move, and our posture, people choose activities like running. To run with poor posture, and crazy foot mechanics is asking for an injury. Instead of starting to run, then rushing off to a foot doctor, a physio, a massage therapist to fix all the issues you accumulate, instead start by fixing your body. When it moves better then head out and start your running!
#7: Figure out what you don’t eat enough of, and supplement with it.
There is a great site called http://nutritiondata.self.com/ where you can input all of the food you eat in a day, and see how close it comes to what is considered ‘acceptable’ (remember acceptable just means meets someone’s idea of the lowest levels we should eat to not get sick, so you might want to go a little higher). Once you see the nutrients and vitamins you are lacking, then you can supplement with them! More research and evidence is done on a daily basis to continue to demonstrate to us how your micronutrient diet can be related to disease. Why not be on the safe/proactive side?
That’s all I will share for now. Maybe you have some tips and tricks of your own? Post them in the comments below!