Different Ways To Keep Healthy Until You Can Return To Being Active

Whether you’re injured, in pain or because of current circumstances due to coronavirus, you may be finding yourself less active than normal. Without access to your usual healthcare professionals or physical trainer to guide you, you might feel that you need some extra help to get you moving again.

If you’re worried about how this inactivity is affecting your health, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we are focusing on the different ways to keep healthy, until you can go back to your ‘normal’.

What happens when you’re not being active?

No matter your age, regular activity is key to maintaining a working body. It is important to keep active even if you are recovering from an injury or suffering with chronic pain.

One major effect of inactivity is muscle loss. Your muscles need to be worked regularly to maintain size, strength and ability. This loss of muscle power could mean that you’re unable to do things that you could easily do before.

Another effect of prolonged periods of inactivity is causing joint stiffness. Movement of the joints keeps the joint fluid moving. Being inactive can cause the cartilage to shrink and stiffen, resulting in restricted joint mobility. It has also been found that physical activity can help manage arthritis.

There are many more negative effects inactivity can have on your body. But rather than focusing on the doom and gloom, we want to help you get back on track with your health.

The following are six different ways to keep healthy.

1) Do low-impact exercises to maintain good health

If you are recovering from injury or joint pain is stopping you from moving, we would recommend that you look into starting some low-impact exercises. These will improve your health and fitness without harming your joints.

Walking is a great low-impact exercise. It will boost your cardiovascular system and get your heart pumping. You can go at your own pace, adding inclines or short bursts of speed when it suits you. Increase your distance or speed gradually over time.

Another, fun exercise you can do is dancing. As with walking, this gets you fit at your own pace. Regular dancing is great for maintaining strong bones, improving muscle strength and increasing balance. You can choose a style and music to suit your tastes and keep you motivated.

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If you are unable to stand for a prolonged time, sitting exercises may be the way for you. These are gentle and can help improve your mobility. Try these exercises at least twice a week and aim to build slowly by gradually increasing repetitions over time. The NHS website has a great sitting exercise plan which is easy to follow.

2) Strengthen your muscles with resistance training

Being sedentary for just a couple of weeks can cause muscle loss. This is due to the body breaking down the muscle to conserve energy. In order to keep your muscles working, and working strong, you need to regularly use them.

The best way to fight the decline is to train with weights. This is known as resistance training. Live Strong have put together a great workout plan for beginners. Don’t have any weights at home? Use bottles of water, sugar bags or anything else you find around the house.

If you don’t think exercising with weights is for you, there are plenty of other options to keep your muscles moving. Here, we’ve put together five joint strengthening exercises you can do at home.

3) Try a range of activities to keep you healthy and moving

You may be worried about exercise, especially if you are recovering from an injury or have joint stiffness. There are plenty of activities that gently get you moving but won’t put too much strain on your body.

Walking is a great choice. You could also try tai chi or qigong. Activities around the house to get you moving include gardening, housework, cooking and low-impact workouts during TV time.

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Regular activity not only gets you moving but it also helps keep your brain active. Which in turn boosts your mental health and helps you feel less stressed.

4) Stop smoking for your general health

We all know smoking is bad for your health. It diminishes your lung capacity, reduces blood circulation but on top this, smokers are more likely to experience joint pain as it causes people to be more sensitive to pain. As the tobacco reduces blood flow to bones and tissues, you will be getting less oxygen and nutrients. Both of which are needed to keep your muscles and joints working strong and pain free.

Quitting smoking could be one of the most significant things you can do to keep healthy. If you need a helping hand, there are plenty of tools out there to guide you on your way. See NHS Smokefree and QUIT.

5) Eat an anti-inflammatory diet to ease pain

Inflammation is a natural response by our immune system to protect us against harmful things such as bacteria or exposure to a toxin. Everyone has a unique immune system that responds to particular circumstances differently.

Sometimes when our bodies are struggling from a long term or chronic condition it becomes harder for the body to access the nutrients it needs. For some, an anti-inflammatory diet may help control inflammation and relieve joint pain.

Here are a few examples of the types of foods found in this kind of diet:

  • Fish – certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammatory proteins in your body. Examples include salmon, tuna and cold-water fish.
  • Fruits and vegetables – these are packed with naturally occurring antioxidants which support the immune system. Examples include berries, broccoli and spinach.
  • Olive oil – containing monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, olive oil contains all the good things which can lower pain caused by inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil is best.

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We recommend eating a rainbow every day to ensure that you are getting the wide variety of nutrients that your body needs.

6) Don’t forget about your mental health and wellbeing

One important consideration to staying healthy is your mental health. The current COVID-19 situation has meant that we are getting limited social contact, which in turn has a negative impact on our wellbeing. Stress can cause pain and make existing pain worse.

Make sure that you keep your mind active and refreshed. By planning your day, staying connected with loved ones and getting plenty of sleep, you will feel more ready to take on the day.

 

If you’re concerned about your health, or worried about starting activity again, please speak to your GP or Osteopathy For All for advice.

At Osteopathy For All, we are determined to help keep you as healthy and pain-free as possible. We aim to support you with osteopathic advice and self-help techniques, even while you are at home.

We are currently able to offer telephone and online video consultations to continue to support our clients and the wider community with osteopathic services.

Contact us today by booking an appointment, emailing hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk or calling 01825 840582.