It's the New Year. This is the time to put our best foot forward and make 2013 the best year yet. It often feels like the time to start something new or make big changes in our lives that will propel us to be the best possible versions of ourselves. But if we start every year with the same aspirations, why is it that by May (or March) we're hanging up the towel until November when we start planning out our big move for the next January 1st? Big, broad resolutions, while ambitious, are often difficult to keep without a well laid out plan. And one slip, leads to another, leads to "maybe next year".
If your goal is to be healthier in 2013 than you were in 2012 (and that is a GREAT goal that everyone should have, in my opinion), then I'm here to help. Here is the first of four Healthy Resolutions that are easy to track on a daily basis and are sure to improve your life in 2013.
Healthy Resolution #1: Stretch It Out
This simple resolution is skipped by so many. Everyone wants to increase their cardio or lift more weights, but without proper stretching, injuries are sure to occur and throw you off your fitness path. Adding five minutes of stretching per day to your activity will go a long way to improving your health. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and surrounding tissues. It also helps to remove metabolic waste products created when the muscles are used on a regular basis, which reduces chronic muscle soreness and pain.
Keys to maximizing stretching:
1. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Although I love yoga programs, when you are simply stretching at the end of a workout, the key is to target your muscles groups as efficiently as possible. There is no need for long drawn out stretches on a daily basis, simply hold those stretches for 5-10 seconds and then move on to another area. The nice thing about a short stretch is that you have time to come back and repeat the stretch 2 or 3 times.
2. Customize your stretching. Everyone is built differently and has different occupational demands. An individual who sits at a desk for 8 hours a day will not need the same stretches as someone who is on their feet all day. The best way to target your areas of muscle tension is to ask your chiropractor. He evaluates your body on every visit and can help to identify areas of imbalance and the stretches that will be most beneficial for your lifestyle. If you do not or have never seen a chiropractor, but are contemplating adding stretching to your fitness routine, maybe this is the year to see what health goals you can achieve through chiropractic care.
3. Pick your time! The easiest way to make your stretching a habit is to pick a time that makes the most sense with your schedule. Maybe it is after dinner, during your favorite TV show, or first thing in the morning after you brush your teeth. If you correlate your stretching with a specific daily task, it will be that much easier to make stretching your next health habit.
This is one simple resolution that I have implemented into my own life throughout my years of practice. Check back next week for resolution #2!
These resolutions may seem small, but I know they will lead you to a healthier and happier 2013. Every decision you make takes you one step closer to health or one step closer to sickness. Small changes in the right direction make a big difference. Commit to these 4 Healthy Resolutions and make 2013 YOUR YEAR!
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