1. 30 times 3! Ideally, 30 minutes of exercise, at least 3 times a week is the goal. Start out with 5-10 minutes and work yourself up. You don’t have to run a mile, but you can do some stretches and simple exercises to help ease painful muscles and joints. Try some Side Bends - bend from the waist from one side to the other. Or some Arm Circles - extend your arms out at both sides and rotate them forward and then backward for 30 seconds. Small movements, including even daily chores keep joints moving. You’ll be amazed at much better you’ll feel.
2. Reduce your Stress. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but you can start with a few simple techniques:
– Breathe! Breathe slowly and deeply. Count to 5 as you inhale and count to 5 as you exhale.
– Music also helps - take a moment to listen to some soothing, calming music.
– Laughter - call someone who makes you laugh. Think of a funny joke you’ve heard. There’s a reason “they” call laughter the best medicine. Anxiety and stress are often major contributors to enhanced pain. Why not make 2015 the year of “Less Stress”?
3. Take Your Vitamins. A daily multiple vitamin will ensure you are giving your body the daily dose of essential vitamins it needs. See your doctor to find out what other supplements may help you feel better - sometimes an extra dose of Magnesium, Bs or D vitamins can make the difference between feeling good and feeling great.
4. Hydrate. Drinking water helps with weight-control, smoking cessation, skin care, muscle cramps, energy - the list goes on and on! Fill up a large 2.2 lier bottle every morning and try to get to the bottom of it by the end of the day. You’ll love the extra energy and less weight that you’ll feel.
5. Sleep. You should be getting between 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Studies show a link between loss of sleep and a lower pain threshold. Additionally, sleep affects your mood and your overall health.
6. Avoid tobacco. We can’t say it enough...tobacco causes and contributes to cancer. It is also responsible for an estimated 20%-30% of heart disease (in the U.S.), along with increasing risks for hypertension obesity, bronchitis, and emphysema. On average, it takes a smoker about six attempts before s/he is successful at quitting smoking. Don’t be afraid to get help, either from your doctor or by using over-the-counter cessation aids. Quit NOW!
7. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol aggravates other physical ailments that you may be suffering from. It can impair your judgement and cause you to make bad and unsafe decisions, as well. Moderation is the key.
8. Protect your skin. Dry, itchy skin can harbor harmful infections and affect your overall health. Moisturize everyday, all day - men and women. Use lotions and creams with a minimum SPF 15 and be sure to pay special attention to hands and feet, especially if you suffer with diabetes.
9. Get a Balance Test. Sometimes bad or decreased balance can mean nerve damage or muscle weakness. Get tested and make sure your poor balance is not indicative of a bigger problem. You’ll also be able to learn simple exercises to help improve your balance and reduce your risk for falls.
10. Check yourself. Check your body periodically for injuries, lumps, bumps and bruises. Sometimes patients with nerve damage experience little or no feeling in their hands and/or feet and can injure themselves without even knowing it! Left untreated, this condition will only get worse. Give yourself a once-over regularly if you suffer from a nerve pain and make sure to visit your doctor.
11. See your doctor. We all say we’re going to, but make this the year you really DO it. Get that physical, that colonoscopy, that mammography/prostate exam. Early detection is key in most illnesses and if you’re healthy, wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying about little aches and pains? Call your doctor and make an appointment for a physical today.
12. Change your shoes. That’s right - your shoes! Foam-soled sandals and flip flops are among the biggest offenders, offering little or no arch support and causing pain in backs, feet, and ankles. If you know you’ll be walking or on your feet for a while, wear sneakers. Orthotics will help, no matter what shoe you wear. If you are good to your feet, your feet are good to your whole body.
13. Treat Your Pain. Find out what’s causing those aches and pains and reduce/ eliminate them, either with lifestyle modifications or professional pain management. Make 2015 your year to start living a more rewarding, pain-free life.
14. Eat At Least One Healthy Meal A Day. Swap out those fast food cheeseburgers for a healthy salad or a turkey sandwich. Subtle changes in your daily diet can change your mood, curb hunger and help you shed a few pounds.
15. Smile More. As silly as it may sound, studies show that an optimistic outlook helps you live healthier and longer!