As the holidays approach, it is no secret that following a healthy routine is hard to maintain. Between delicious holiday meals, family get-togethers, and traveling, maintaining a normal activity level can be hard to do.
Studies have shown that staying moderately active can reduce your risk of developing chronic lower back pain by up to 20%. Most sources report that being moderately active includes taking part in both cardio exercise, such as running, and strength training, such as lifting weights.
While getting to the gym might be difficult with your busy holiday schedule there are plenty of ways to modify your normal routine to fit at least most of it in at home. Instead of hitting the elliptical, try taking a brisk walk with the family’s round the pumpkin patch (lifting those pumpkins can count as weight lifting exercise, too!) or going on a neighborhood bike ride before it gets too chilly. Strength training on the fly at home can be just as simple. By simply curling cans of soup, squatting while holding bottles of water, or transferring a pile of winter sweaters from storage to your closet (with proper lifting form, of course), you can strengthen your body while being productive at home. Don’t forget to include those exercises that your physical therapist gave you!
Healthy eating is also an important part of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle and preventing back and other musculoskeletal pain. While no one is saying that all of the yummy Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, or Christmas cookies should be ignored, eating in moderation and throwing some vegetables in daily can make a difference in reducing holiday weight gain and putting less strain on your back.
Finally, go see your favorite local physical therapist! Throughout the holidays we want to see you moving better and enjoying yourself pain-free. If you’ve already discharged from PT, ask our offices about taking part in our monthly wellness program to keep up your strength and mobility and keep your body in prime trick-or-treating shape!