During the winter, it’s all too easy to settle into a more sedentary lifestyle. As a Toronto chiropractor, I want to give you some tips and encouragement. Let’s talk about simple ways to stay active and counteract busy school or work schedules or extreme weather.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated workout, but get your body moving often. Staying active during this season has multiple benefits:
- Improves mood with endorphins
- Improves or maintains flexibility
- Improves heart health
- Increases or maintains muscle strength
- Stimulates brain function
Movement is vital for us physically and mentally! “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine,” said Dr. Roger Sperry, 1981 Nobel Prize winner for brain research.
As the weather permits, enjoy getting your movement outside. Combining nature with exercise is truly a winning combination.
It may require a little more planning to know where you should run, walk, jog or do yoga during the Toronto winters. You may need workout clothing more adapted to cold weather.
Movement can be as simple as turning on energizing music in your home. I enjoy dance parties with my small children. This is a physical and emotional boost as we jump and laugh.
What is one way that you could get more movement in your day?
Maybe there’s a friend who would like to partner with you in being active! This can work in many different ways – from texting encouragement as you both start working out separately at a set time, to an in-person workout, where permitted.
There are many wonderful local gyms and trainers with valuable expertise who may offer support either virtually or in-person. Ask me if you’d like a referral or some suggestions!
Beginning or continuing regular chiropractic adjustments help to optimize your health during the winter in several ways.
- Increased adaptability. An adjustment removes any pressure on the nervous system from misaligned vertebrae. This allows the nervous system to communicate with the brain and body better, increasing its ability to adapt smoothly to our environment. This means adapting better to temperature changes, pathogens and other stressors.
- Increased flexibility and range of motion. Chiropractors identify where joints are not able to move well, and specifically move them back into their ideal position. A joint in motion stays in motion.
- Improved sleep and energy. When you’re well-adjusted, you may also experience relief from discomfort that may have been preventing you from resting or been waking you up at night. When our spines are in alignment, our nervous system can be in a calm, parasympathetic state. This may result in a great night’s sleep more often, giving you more energy to be active as a result.
Get Stretching: 6 Simple Stretches to Do at Home
There are so many things you can do in a small space in your home! Here are 6 simple stretches that can help counteract a more sedentary life. To do these, I recommend you have:
- A foam roller
- A resistance band (or a set)
- A Lacrosse ball
Watch this 3-minute video where I show you how to do each of these, and see the descriptions below.
Single Leg Squat
Stand on one foot, stabilizing yourself with a chair or wall as needed. Squat slowly with your torso straight, pushing through the heel. If you can do this in a mirror, check if the other hip drops, indicating instability. Do this exercise on each leg to build core strength.
Glute/Core Walk With Resistance Band
With a band around your knees, do a slight squat and then step sideways 10 steps in one direction and then 10 steps back to your original spot. Keep your posture upright to really engage the glute muscles in your rear.
Foam Roller for the Upper Back
Great if you sit at a computer for long hours. Lay the roller on the floor. Lay back and position the roller in the middle of your spine. Bend your knees and lift your rear off the floor. Slowly roll for 30-seconds to a few minutes, sticking to the more tender areas.
Foam Roller for Hip Flexors
Another great exercise for anyone who has extended periods of sitting! Lay the roller on the floor. Get on all-fours and lower one hip onto the roller. Position yourself with the roller just below your hip bone. Relax and roll slightly until you find a more tender spot. Hold it there for a few seconds and roll gently for a few moments.
Elbow and Wrist Relief
This is for you if you spend a great deal of time typing or doing other repetitive movements. Bend your elbow so your palm is hover above the opposite shoulder. Use the fingers of the other hand to massage just below the elbow, moving like you were playing a trumpet. Wiggle your fingers as you go. Dig in a little to find any sore places; hold those for 3-5 seconds.
Take a Lacrosse ball and find an area of blank wall or on the floor. Position the ball between your shoulder blades. Roll gently to find the tender knots under your shoulder blades. Hold any tight spots for a few moments.
You may also enjoy reading Getting Antsy? 5 Ways To Shake Up Working From Home