6 Easy Steps to a Healthy Year Ahead

By Dr. Molly Casey

Stretching into the New Year

Most people this time of year throw some new goals at the wall in hopes of achieving all their dreams at once, either in life or in health. I notice most resolutions have fallen to the wayside by March.

Here is a quick read based on seven simple steps that will help anybody who is looking to improve their overall health and wellness. It may be a brand new year, but you don’t have a brand new spine, which has such a huge impact on your health; because it encases your spinal cord and the central nervous system, spinal health should be at the top of your list of health- or life-related goals.

It doesn’t need to be as hard or complicated as humans often make it. This overall approach is enough to create a full, solid foundation to your health and your year.

Step 1: Get Adjusted

Your nervous system -- brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves -- is your communication system. You live and experience all of your life through your nervous system. The better the system flows and functions, the better your experience of life is. The better your spine moves and the healthier the spine is, the better chance you have for optimal nervous system communication.

Step 2: Hydrate Properly

Every cell in your body requires water for proper functioning; this includes your nervous system cells as well as the spinal discs. The spinal discs are an axis of rotation for movement of the entire spine. The discs are filled with fluid. Optimal spinal function requires optimal disc function, and proper water is a part of this equation. You should drink half your body weight in ounces of water every single day.

Step 3: Decrease Stress

Stress is a top contributor to all the deadliest diseases in society today. Chronic stress wears on the human body and spirit at all levels. Conditions such as diabetes, obesity, headaches, heart disease, spinal movement, depression, and other mental health complaints are all negatively affected by the presence of stress, most notably chronic low grade stress. Integrating daily practices such as meditation, breathing, prayer or other calming tools are helpful in raising the ability of your system to deal with stressors. In addition, if there are opportunities for you to clear out or make changes in your life to decrease the actual numbers of stressors, do it.

Step 4: Increase Joy

Beyond decreasing the actual stressors and increasing your system’s ability to handle stress, it’s very important to add as much joy as possible. Laugh more. The addition of joyful moments, activities, and laughter does an extraordinary amount for the system and the spirit -- first in enjoying life and second by creating a higher threshold for those stressful experiences. One of the most often detrimental components to patients’ lives I see is that they have far too little joy and laughter in their life.

Step 5: Move Daily

Move your body every single day. Dedicate 30 minutes of your day to movement for the sake of movement. If you can get to the gym, fine. If you can’t, then walk the stairs instead. If you can’t do that, then walk around the block. And if you can’t do that, then walk in place. There is always a way to move the body. Movement is life. If gym routines and exercise plans feel daunting, dedicate time to movement daily no matter what it is. Be consistent and follow through.

Step 6: Regular Stretching

Again, this plan is for the basics. If nothing else, embrace a basic stretching routine in the morning and evening. Before you get out of bed or leave your room, spend five to 10 minutes stretching your body. Here are a few to get you started.

  • Do a full body stretch with outstretched arms and legs and hold for 45 seconds
  • Pull the knees into the chest and curl head up to knees; hold for 45 seconds
  • Pull knees into chest and rotate knees over to one side for 45 seconds, then to the other for 45 seconds
  • Sit up and put feet on the floor; bend over at the hips, letting arms hang down toward feet, and hold for 15 to 45 seconds

The truth is that everyone is at a different place in life. Some have the time, energy and effort to create a solid plan for the full year of health, and they set goals and go in-depth to fulfill that plan. Others don’t. This plan is for them, the ones who must make do with what they have. It’s a solid foundation to a good healthy start for taking care of your body from the ground up. Let doctors at The Joint Chiropractic help you help yourself on your health path as you move into 2019. Don’t let those resolutions fall to the wayside by spring.

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