October is here and with it comes all the pumpkin things we can handle, a transition into cooler weather, and we settle into a routine of school and football. Maybe news to you, but something we are excited to share is that National Chiropractic Health Month is a nationwide observance held each October. The event helps to raise public awareness of the importance of musculoskeletal health and the benefits of chiropractic care and its natural, whole-person, patient-centered and drug-free approach to health and wellness.
Many have learned the hard way over time that lack of movement and physical activity can lead not only to weight gain but also achy joints and other musculoskeletal conditions. Movement is the answer: Finding ways to move our bodies more enhances not only our physical health and stamina but also our mental health and feelings of well-being. The essential services of doctors of chiropractic care have helped many people to keep moving and staying healthy, and chiropractors continue to be a resource for patients who seek not only pain relief but also advice on enhancing their overall health and physical fitness.
This October, set yourself up for future stability and success by taking steps to improve the strength of your musculoskeletal system:
- Move more. Bones, muscles and joints need movement to stay healthy. The U.S. surgeon general recommends adults get at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate physical activity (such as walking, yardwork, recreational swimming) or at least 75 minutes of intense weekly activity (jogging, hiking uphill, basketball).
- Eat a balanced diet. Proper nutrition is just as important to musculoskeletal health as it is to overall health. Eat a balanced diet that includes whole fresh foods and try to avoid processed foods. Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D for your bones and lean protein to build and maintain strong muscles.
- Go outside. The sun helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which in turn helps us to absorb calcium and strengthen bones. While the sun might not be out as much in the Fall and Winter months, getting outside in the fresh air is beneficial.
- Do weight-bearing exercises. Walking, jogging and resistance exercises such as weightlifting can improve bone density. Planks and squats can also strengthen core muscles. (Non-weight-bearing exercises such as swimming and biking can benefit the MSK system as well, especially for people unable to walk or jog while recovering from back, hip or knee pain.)
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water makes muscles stronger by carrying oxygen to the cells of the body. It also helps lubricate and cushion joints.
- Quit smoking. Smoking contributes not only to cardiovascular disease but also osteoporosis and bone fracture as we age.
- Get adequate rest. A good night’s sleep enables your body to repair muscles and joints that are strained or injured during the day.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. Drinking alcohol excessively can lead to osteoporosis and bone fracture.
We recommend movement all year, not just in October. But if this month of movement kicks off a new and improved fitness routine, great! We are here to be part of your wellness journey and welcome you into our practice of care and healing.