Routine visits with a chiropractor help support an overall healthy lifestyle. Research shows that spinal adjustments aid us in maintaining a healthy spine, reducing the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, and boosting our infection-fighting antibody levels. While routine visits to a chiropractor have numerous health benefits, this is only one component of the lifestyle habits a chiropractor will recommend as an integrative approach for overall health and well-being.
Exercise is one of the best things we can do each day to help our bodies live longer and become healthier and stronger in the process. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise at least five times per week is a great goal to start with. The exercise doesn’t have to be exhausting; rather, it should be moderate and tied to an activity that you enjoy, such as taking a brisk walk, riding a bike, gardening, playing a sport you enjoy or swimming. This will help you to maintain a healthy exercise habit and have an overall more enjoyable life.
Those who have a condition that is being managed by a chiropractor will likely be given some specific exercises designed to help improve their condition. It’s important to stay consistent in doing these exercises. Also, make sure you are using proper form when working out or lifting heavy objects in an effort to avoid excess stressors on the spine and muscles. Your chiropractor may also recommend taking a break from rigorous exercise or from a certain exercise that may be contributing to your pain.
Follow a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is an essential element in maintaining an ideal body weight as well as overall health. When determining whether or not your diet is healthy, it can help to start a food journal or simply write down the types of foods you tend to purchase from the store or order at restaurants along with how often you eat these foods and the typical portion size. Once you have this laid out in front of you, it will be easier to determine where you can start making healthy adjustments. The goal is to adopt a lifestyle change that stays with you over the years rather than going on a crash diet in order to lose weight fast.
While trying to establish a healthy lifestyle change, it is usually counterproductive to suddenly cut certain foods out of our diet that we are used to eating. When we eliminate these foods from our diets completely, we’re more likely to overindulge in them later on. Rather than doing away with indulgent foods altogether, it helps to simply limit how often they are consumed, as well as the size of the serving. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule of consuming at least 80% of our calories from healthy foods, and no more than 20% from indulgent foods. It also helps to eat only until we are 80% full, and to focus more on putting good, healthy foods into our bodies than on counting calories each day. Research has shown that eating more slowly is associated with feelings of fullness; this supports the logic of stopping our eating before feeling completely full and allowing our hunger sensations to catch up.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is an important component in maintaining overall health. Drinking plenty of water helps our bodies to remove waste through urination, bowel movements and perspiration. It also helps us to keep our body temperature normal, it lubricates and cushions our joints, and it protects the sensitive tissues in our body. Typically, 20% of our daily fluids come from the foods that we eat, while the other 80% must come from fluids that we drink. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends that men drink 3.7 liters of water per day and that women drink 2.7 liters. Factors that increase our need for water each day include perspiration from heat, humidity or exercise, vomiting, diarrhea, pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important factor in maintaining good health. But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults isn’t getting enough sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can have numerous adverse effects on both our physical and mental well-being. It is also the leading cause of work-related accidents. Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, depending on age. This sleep should be uninterrupted and accompanied by a supportive mattress and pillow to keep the spine in a proper position.
If you would like to start making lifestyle adjustments to help increase your quality of life and extend it, visit a chiropractor to discuss your options. Upon your visit, you will be examined, and your medical history and lifestyle habits will be discussed. Your chiropractor will then recommend any tests to determine any physical conditions that need attention and will recommend healthy lifestyle changes and exercises to best support your unique needs.