A busy lifestyle and cooler weather can take a toll on the body, especially for those who suffer from chronic aches and pains. Whether the cause of your pain is due to injury, stress, or poor sleep, there are many ways to feel better while avoiding future pain.

To stay well this season and naturally manage pain, consider these tips from professional ballroom dancer Tony Dovolani, who’s no stranger to the subject of pain management.

  • Stretch. Stretching is not just for before or after a workout. Stretch throughout the day to keep blood flowing, particularly if you have a job that keeps you sedentary.
  • Eat right. Your diet should include lean protein and healthy carbs. “And I eat my vegetables, too!” said Dovolani. “Mainly spinach, string beans, and broccoli.”

Figure out which vegetables you like best, and be sure to incorporate them into your diet early and often.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is necessary for muscle repair. Drink water throughout the day and especially when you’re active. If you’re a soda or sugary-drink drinker, you won’t believe the immediate positives that will emerge from either cutting back or cutting out all that sugar. You’ll notice more energy, better focus, and weight loss within a week, and beyond.
  • Apply heat. Heat is a timeless remedy, and it’s clinically proven to relieve pain associated with muscle tension and stress, helping to relax muscles and improve blood flow. The increased blood flow restores oxygen and nutrients to inflamed areas to help accelerate healing.
  • And quickly becoming a culprit in numerous physical and mental health studies in the digital age: screen time. As a society, especially with our youth, we stare at some type of screen more and more each day—whether at work, home, shopping, events, etc.

Children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults aged 35-49 watch more than 33 hours, according to data from Nielsen that suggests TV time increases the older we get. The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day.

And this doesn’t include additional time spent staring at a phone, a watch, a tablet, or a laptop. While no long-term data is available yet, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the type of impact this behavior has begun to have on our eyes, our brains, our dispositions, our emotional states, and our ability to remain focused and “present.”

A general rule is to set various times during the day that are “device-free,” culminating at a point in the early evening where the devices officially go away for the night. Some folks find success by implementing “no device in the bedroom” rules.

Obviously, more time on the couch watching TV equals more health problems, especially as we age. Imagine if just half of that 33-hour amount for adults was spent not staring at a screen in one position, but moving around, engaged—involved in the world around us.

The beginning of the year is traditionally a productive time for health assessments of all types. Let this month be a springboard for some new health habits that define your 2018.

— ARTICLE BY: Jillian Williams in collaboration with StatePoint Media

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