A PAIN-FREE LIFESTYLE
A PAIN-FREE LIFESTYLE
Our lifestyle is the culmination of our external being -‐ our environment, our culture, our habits and our physicality. How can we make decisions that will help us lead a pain-‐free life?
Thousands of small daily decisions dictate our lifestyle -‐ whether or not we will choose to have cheesecake, take the stairs, smoke after dinner, stay up late or indulge negativity. These are the building blocks of a pain-‐free lifestyle – a good diet, exercise, cleanliness, good sleep and positivity.
It’s no secret that a diet laden with fat and sugar will result in increased body weight and body mass index. Weight gain can increase stress on joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles and cause pain, or worse, a pain cycle. While Americans have become obsessed with “healthy” diets, the simple philosophy articulated by Michael Pollan may be the best advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
While it’s easy to become consumed with the latest fitness craze – from Pilates to Crossfit – most experts agree and Michelle Obama confirms “movement” is key. New studies show that sitting more than nine hours per day can be a lethal activity. Cardiovascular workouts do have significant benefits to heart health, but household chores, walking, grocery shopping and cooking are all activities that will help you burn calories, maintain flexibility, and prevent pain associated with weight gain.
“Clean” living is not a matter of purity, but a matter of balance. As your body strives to maintain its delicate internal regulations, your best gifts to that cause are clean air, clean water and clean hands. Practically what does this mean? Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, drink plenty of water, limit caffeine drinks, choose pollution-‐free cities in which to live and visit, wash your hands before and after cooking and eating, after sneezing or couching, after going to the bathroom and returning from outside, as well as after any encounter with dirt, germs or sick persons.
Eight hours? Six hours plus a catnap? How much sleep do we need? It turns out the magic number is different for everyone – for most adults that number is between 7.5 – 9 hours per night to function at our best. Without that, our bodies feel fatigued, leaving us less able to handle stress, make decisions and be creative. Sleep deprivation can also accelerate aches and pains, or create a deficiency in healing. The quality of sleep we get is just as important as the quantity. Sleeping in a dark, quiet, clean, and cool room with fresh air will help ensure good sleep. Also important are a comfortable pillow and mattress, neither too firm nor too soft.
Though science may have yet to prove that positive thinking can cure a medical condition, more evidence has been found to suggest that negative thinking can in fact lead to increased pain. Negativity can actually be defined in medical terms as stress, and we all know the dangerous effects of stress on the body. Inversely, positive thinking can distract us from our pain and even create endorphins that naturally alleviate our pain.
Our lifestyle is a reflection of the internal decisions we make in response to our external circumstances. Employing proactive measures in these critical areas can help each of us life a more pain-‐free lifestyle.