Start the New Year off right by committing to a healthier lifestyle. A few simple and practical lifestyle changes can make a positive impact on your health and can also prevent you from experiencing a painful injury in the year ahead, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).
The ACA and your local doctor of chiropractic urge you to adopt the following New Year’s resolutions for a healthier 2011.
1. I will limit my intake of caffeinated coffee, sodas and teas. The caffeine in these drinks can cause dehydration and can rob the body of essential nutrients. Stick to water, natural juices and other decaffeinated beverages.
2. I will avoid over medicating myself and my family. Many over-the- counter and prescription medications have unknown side effects. Discuss alternative remedies with your chiropractor.
3. I will not carry a heavy purse or briefcase with its strap over my shoulder, unless I place the strap over my head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain.
4. I will not allow my children to carry backpacks that weigh more than 10 percent of their body weight. Beyond that weight, the backpack can cause the wearer to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, instead of the shoulders.
5. I will not lift heavy objects over my head. These types of movements can strain muscles and affect nerves, causing severe neck, shoulder and arm problems.
6. I will not turn my torso while lifting relatively heavy objects. This rotates the spine and can bring on a “back attack.”
7. I will avoid the habit of consistently crossing the same knee over the other. Such a habit can also eventually cause misalignment of the spine.
8. I will try to keep moving while I’m at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.
9. I will, when using a shovel – in winter or summer – remember to push rather than lift, whenever possible.
10. I will use luggage with wheels whenever possible. Carrying, lifting and moving a heavy suitcase can ruin a vacation.