National Chiropractic Health Month
It’s National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM)! Held in October every year, NCHM is a nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness about chiropractic care and musculoskeletal health. We’d be lying if we said this year was ordinary. 2020 so far is anything but normal. COVID-19 has upended all of our lives, from the way we work to the way we shop, celebrate, and gather. It’s important now more than ever to maintain our health, especially musculoskeletal health, which experts believe is one of the keys to long-term wellness during this stressful period.
Why is Musculoskeletal Health Important?
The musculoskeletal system is composed of muscle, joints, and bones. This system includes the spine and is essential for your overall health because it allows the body to move and creates the body’s structure. The musculoskeletal system also acts as an endocrine system. When all components of the musculoskeletal system are working together, we feel healthy, strong, and energetic. But when our musculoskeletal health isn’t maintained, there’s a lot of pain and discomfort. In fact, musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability around the world.
Fitness in the Era of COVID
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults are recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking or light bicycling, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity like basketball or running. But because of stay-at-home orders, many of us are stuck indoors and only go out for essentials. Just because we’re home doesn’t mean fitness ends. Our musculoskeletal system needs movement to stay healthy, so it’s time we use creative measures to get active. Here are some ideas:
Create a home gym:
Local gym closed? Have no fear, because we’re bringing the gym to you! Use household items like the good ol’ flour sack in a plastic bag contraption for kettlebells, water bottles as weights, and pipes for a homemade pull-up bar. Or better yet, don’t use any equipment at all. Your body is your best machine, so use your home gym for workouts that don’t involve fancy (or makeshift) equipment.
If a home gym isn’t for you, then utilize the great outdoors as your workout space. Whether it’s taking a walk around your neighborhood or jogging in your local park, going outside is extremely beneficial for managing coronavirus anxieties and fostering long-term musculoskeletal health.
Adapt your daily routine:
One of the best ways to include more fitness in your routine is by changing up your daily routine and sneaking in more movement. Instead of sitting down at your desk to take those calls, why not answer them during a walk? While your coffee brews, move while you wait with jumping jacks or squats. Take extra trips when it comes to getting groceries in the house. Transporting grocery bags in three rounds rather than one is inefficient, but you’re certainly getting a good workout.
Make it a group activity:
Working out with a buddy is always great for motivation and keeping each other accountable. Include family members in your mission to stay active by designing simple workout routines that everyone can follow. Others have been participating in driveway fitness classes with their neighbors or joining Zoom exercises as a household. Whatever rocks your boat, just get moving!
The pandemic has forced many of us to work from home instead of the office. This means significantly less movement in routines, with slashed commutes, interactive meetings, and team lunches. If you’re working from home, chances are you’re sitting at your laptop for long hours.
Take a few minutes to arch your back and neck to relieve any tension and sore muscles before going back to your screen. This also relieves sore muscles and tensions. Stretches are essential for lessening your spine’s strain from sitting in one position for a long time. Include 15 minutes for a stretch break in your workday to relax your muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce numbness. Your back will thank you!