It’s a brand-new year and for many of us, that means it’s time for new resolutions, new beginnings, and some self-reflection. No matter where you might be on that spectrum, there are some things that are very important to keep in mind for a new year – and, for that matter, all year round.
First – get moving. I know that, especially in the winter months, it is difficult to get those workouts into your schedule. Some of us would rather just curl up with a good book and wait it out until spring. Truthfully, the best thing you can do for your heart health is to simply get moving. It doesn’t really matter if you prefer the long stretch from a yoga routine, going to the gym, or taking walks with a friend– just get moving. Your heart is a muscle and, as with any muscle, exercise is what strengthens it.
Second – Quit smoking. Quitting smoking is tough, even when you know that it’s important to quit. One of the biggest reasons is that it’s linked to heart disease and high blood pressure. Smoking also impacts bone health, leading to osteoporosis and hip fractures – and it is not good for anyone else around you who breathes your smoke secondhand.
Third – Lose weight. Losing weight is more than just a diet and exercise. It’s a personal journey that involves finding what you like and what works for you. Eat a heart healthy meal that includes heart healthy fats such as salmon, avocado, and plenty of vegetables. The good news is that chocolate and wine (in moderation) are also heart healthy. They are both high in antioxidants that have been shown to increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterols, and improve clotting function. Speaking of moderation, eating in moderation is also important all year round. Deaths from heart attacks spike at times when copious amounts of food are consumed. Eating a lot of food at once leads to blood shifting from the heart to the digestive system, and a faster and irregular heart rhythm may occur which can lead to heart attack or heart failure.
Fourth – Don’t stress. Boy, that is so easy to say and so hard to practice. Did you know that there are more than 1,400 biochemical responses to stress, including a rise in blood pressure and a faster heart rate? Those areas of the brain that trigger stress responses are fed by stress, causing even more stress and creating a cycle of stress. Eventually stress will actually shrink the brain tissue. Specifically, the shrinking happens in the part of the brain that helps us perform and focus, and increases the part that sets off fear and anxiety. Stress feeds on itself and chronic stress accelerates aging. If you don’t manage your stress, it can create more stress and trap you in a stress cycle. If you can’t change the events in your life that are causing stress, the goal is to change your response to stress so that endorphins that calm the brain are released. Some ways to manage your stress include massage, acupuncture, Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, and even simply changing your breathing pattern. Try 4-7-8 breathing exercises. Inhale for a count of four, then hold your breath for a count of seven, and now exhale for a count of eight.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself, is to get back on track with your chiropractor if it’s been a while. If you regularly go to your chiropractor, I urge you to continue your regular routine.
BEFORE YOU HIT THE GYM
When people imagine getting into shape during the new year, they immediately gravitate toward a gym membership to improve health, but chiropractic care is just as important in keeping the body healthy. Chiropractic care uses gentle manipulation and adjustments to remove restrictions, tension, and pain within the body. This helps to improve mobility and makes movement and activity easier during workouts. By realigning the spine and removing any tension, a wealth of benefits can be felt as functionality is restored throughout the entire body, enabling you to hit the ground running with your new year resolution for better health.
BOOST UP YOUR IMMUNITY
The spine is the line of communication for the body and is intricately linked to multiple organ systems, which is why it is important to keep your spine in proper alignment. Any misalignment can lead to impairment within the nervous system, which can place a toll on your immune system. Many find that with frequent chiropractic care, they are sick less often and the body is more capable of fighting it off if they do become ill. Beginning the new year with us can help you maintain a stronger immune system.
If you suffer from pain, working out or just daily activity can be difficult. Visiting a chiropractor can help relieve pressure and tension within the body. As restrictions or misalignments are corrected with the manipulation of joints within the body, pressure and pain will be eliminated. Another great benefit of chiropractic treatment is pain prevention. With frequent care, many patients report noticing less pain and illness, and faster recovery time should any illness or injury occur. Whether your pain is mild, severe, chronic, or short-term, visit a chiropractor so you can start the year pain-free.
IMPROVE FOCUS AND ENERGY LEVELS
As mentioned above, a misaligned spine can drain your energy and take a toll on your body. An unhealthy spine or any impairment can have a ripple effect on the body and alter your ability to focus and maintain concentration. Chiropractors can help you with treatment to be more alert, have better focus, and have better clarity by correcting misalignments in your body.
As we enter the new year and begin to work towards new goals, consider receiving chiropractic treatment to start the year off right and love yourself from within!
Remember, your health is not a cost it is an investment!