Ever wonder what your doctor does to stay healthy? Here’s a little glimpse into the musculoskeletal routine of yours truly (with some added info about my significant other, Dr. Dan, also a chiropractor whose routine I’m privy to).
Make Sleep a Priority
Bedtime is early, and almost the same time each night, with some weekend variation. I demand a lot of my body daily between my workouts and my line of work, and sleep is when our bodies do damage control–clean up waste products and heal damaged and worn tissue. People underestimate the necessity of sleep. In my life, it is non-negotiable. Social excursions, housework, and even gym time comes second to sleep. Compared with my more sleepless adolescent and college years, I am less groggy and have more energy to get everything done during the day.
Before I begin my workouts, after work in the evening, and at night time before bed I spend about five minutes moving my body in a functional and therapeutic way. Before workouts, I “limber up” by doing the movements I expect to do in my workout in a slow and controlled fashion without weight. After work I move in ways that stretch out tight areas from the day. At night before bed I concentrate on putting my neck, back, hips, and shoulders through their full ranges of motion. Three times a day for a total of 15 minutes I move my body therapeutically. Side note: Dr. Dan also has his own movement routines, which involve foam rolling and self-spinal decompression. Our dog thinks we’re crazy when we’re on the floor stretching and rolling before bed.
Stay on top of Proper Posture
Dr. Dan’s advice to his patients while driving in the car: set your rearview mirror to be only visible when you are sitting up tall with proper posture. Try putting a mirror at your desk if you work a desk job–somewhere that you can see and catch yourself when you’re slumping. Use your pain as an indicator–when you start to feel sore and achy after sitting for too long, that is your body’s reminder to straighten up. Remember, the more you practice good posture, the easier it gets.
Move Often, and Move Well
There is never a day that I spend laying around the house. To stay on the move, even when there is nothing to do, I like to clean the house. Even if the house is already spotless, I find something to work on for a few hours–organizing closets and cupboards, scrubbing floor boards, weeding the yard–and while I do this, I make sure my back is in the right position, my core is tight, and I’m moving in a way that will only help, not hurt me. If cleaning isn’t your thing, even just going for a walk around your yard or neighborhood is just as good. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t move your body in some challenging way.
What daily routines do you have to stay healthy? Your body is like a machine–it needs regular maintenance and good daily practice.