In honor of Physical Therapy month, I wanted to share a few tips on how to stay healthy, active, and feeling good, especially through the winter months. As the days become shorter and the weather grows colder, it can be harder to live the active, healthy lifestyle we should! However, here are a few things to help you stay healthy throughout the year.
The first and most crucial element to staying healthy is your diet. I’m sure you’ve heard that staying fit is 80% what you eat and 20% what you do in the gym, and this holds true! Research is showing that what you eat can be more effective at changing your health than what is in the medicine cabinet. Your body reacts to an unhealthy diet the exact same way it responds to a bacterial infection, causing inflammation throughout the body. While inflammation is a process aimed at protecting your body from threatening invaders and is a good process, persistent inflammation can be harmful. Low-level inflammation throughout your body, caused by eating a diet high in certain foods, can contribute to an increase in muscle, tissue, and joint pain as well as increased risk of certain diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. However, implementing some simple changes to your diet can keep you feeling good and your immune system strong.
3 Simple Food Recommendations:
1. Eat Colorful, whole foods such as:
- Spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges
2. Decrease the consumption of red meat
Increase consumption of fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel
- Substitute with chicken, turkey for good protein sources
3. Decrease simple carbohydrates (sugar) and dairy
- Choose “better” carbohydrates, such as oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes or rye
- Dairy in limited quantities or opt for a dairy-free alternative such as almond milk
While the foods we eat are essential to our health, it’s important to remember most foods are fine in moderation. It’s ok to indulge in a burger, some french fries or ice cream on occasion!
Another vital part of staying healthy and strong throughout the year is moving your body! Daily exercise is essential to helping you feel your best. There are many different ways to exercise, so find the one you enjoy the most and stick to it! Personally, I enjoy a mix of resistance training, walking, and yoga to help me feel my best. I find that the more I move, the better I feel, and the more energy I have.
3 Exercise tips:
- Aim for 8,000-10,000 steps a day – walking is a fantastic form of exercise and good for weight loss!
- Create a routine and stick with it – you can do it!
Here are a few of my favorite stretches I do daily for good hip, spine, and upper body mobility: