Whatever it is that makes you feel alive and well, the question remains... How do I keep my body feeling its best until my next massage therapy treatment?
Here are 5 easy things that everyone can do to insure that your muscles remain happy and healthy in between appointments:
1. Hydrate: You've heard it all before, right? 8 glasses of water a day? If you're a water drinker, than keep up the good work, but it's okay to have fun with your hydration! Try putting some sliced cucumbers, lemon wedges, lavender flowers, or rosemary in your water. Have fun with tea - rooibos in particular is caffeine free, full of anti-oxidants, and comes in an amazing array of flavours. Have a watermelon in the fridge that is getting a little overripe? Remove the rind, cube the melon, and throw it in to the blender with a squeeze of lime. Delish!
Your muscles need water to perform and rebuild. Many times the tightness we feel after exercise is largely due to the cramping effects of dehydration. Make a point of keeping your fluids up and pay close attention to how you feel the day after a trip to the gym. You'll be surprised what a difference it makes!
2. Stretch: When you wake up in the morning, do you wish you could lay in bed a little while longer? You can! Just make the time productive - slowly waking your body up and preparing it for the day. Start to move your feet, rotating at the ankle in small circles. Sit up and gently roll your shoulders in circles. Stretch your arms above your head and rotate your wrists. This process may be different for everyone, but the idea is to wake up your nervous system and avoid starting the day rushing from the moment you fling your covers off. Stretching is not only for the flexible, in fact, if you have limited range of motion in any part of your body, a few simple and gentle movements in the morning will not only help you to wake up and be your best, stretching will also help to prevent injury.
3. Posture: In this technology-reliant age, we see countless clients with issues related to prolonged computer use. When you're at a desk, try to become aware of your posture, and find a relaxed position with your shoulders comfortably down and back, your back straight, and your line of sight comfortably forward, avoiding having your head tilted down at all time. Many computer monitors are easy to adjust, and a couple minutes of adjustments might just save you years of pain down the road.
4. Bags: Heavy purses and shoulder bags never go out of style, but they will put your spine out of place, causing a chain reaction of fatigue to your overcompensating muscles. There are some great backpacks on the market made especially for laptops and other work and school necessities. When a backpack just won't do, go ahead and carry a small purse or handbag, emphasis on 'small'. The best way to prevent having a heavy bag is for it not to have room for more than the necessities.
Bringing groceries in from the car? It's okay to make a couple of trips! You won't impress anyone by carrying them all in the house in one trip... especially if you hurt yourself in the process.
5. Walk: Exercise will strengthen our muscles, relax our minds, help us to live longer, and save us money when we walk, run, or bike to run errands. So what are you waiting for? You don't need to buy a new wardrobe or fancy running shoes, just get outside! Walk whenever possible to run small errands. When you need to drive, save yourself the hassle of fighting for a good parking spot and calmly drive a farther away, traffic free space that will allow (not force) you to move those legs- Avoiding stress and using your body, all in one simple move!
Massage Therapy is a marvellous and effective tool in maintaining muscle health, and the more you take care of yourself, the more you'll be able to get out of each therapy session. By staying hydrated, loose, and active, your therapist can help make your healthy body reach levels of well-being that you never thought possible!