In your busy life, it may seem as if you are on a never-ending hamster wheel that demands you do as much as possible. However, it is important for everyone to understand what really is and isn’t possible through sheer willpower. It is important to understand that your willpower has limits.
It is hard enough to accomplish your to-do list within the limited hours you have in the day without feeling tired and drained. Instead, you must employ tricks and tips to stay engaged, motivated, and active on your quest to do it all – because no one can do it all on their own!
Below we’ve listed out five simple ways to stay active and involved throughout the day as you’re juggling your various tasks and responsibilities.
Tip #1: Make it your mission to reduce unnecessary pain.
One of the most common reasons why people lose their active lifestyle is pain. Whether it’s a pain you’ve been experiencing for some time, or the simple threat of pain occurring, it has proven enough to slow people down or sit them out altogether.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans experience chronic pain. An estimated 25.3 million adults reported pain every day for the preceding three months in a 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Nearly 40 million adults acknowledge suffering from severe pain, which is also a predictor of other health concerns.
Luckily, occupational and hand therapies are simple ways to manage or even eliminate pain completely. Hands-on therapy from a trained therapist, or more specialized treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, can all help in alleviating pain. Occupational and hand therapy treatments have also been proven to restore muscle and joint function, in order to help you lead a more active lifestyle.
Tip #2: Make sleep a priority.
We’ve all heard it before: “You need a good night’s sleep in order to perform your best.” But do we stay true to this? For most of us, the answer is “no,” whether it is intentional or not.
It is no secret that sleep is vital for the proper functioning of the body; however, sleep disturbances occur in approximately one-third of the US population. Occupational therapy can help you achieve better sleep, which can also help you achieve a higher degree of activity in your waking hours. Occupational therapists are trained in areas that are critical to sleep, such as pain modulation, tissue healing, cognitive functioning, and cardiovascular health. An occupational therapist can also provide suggestions for how you can integrate sleep health with overall wellbeing.
Tip #3: Take advantage of interactive tools.
There are a variety of products on the market that will encourage, inspire, and track your physical activity. Research shows that utilizing such products may have a favorable impact on your levels of activity. The key to success is to establish daily, weekly, or monthly goals that are easily tracked within the tool and to follow consistent strategies, such as:
- Using the tool every single day. Consistency creates habits, which by nature are notoriously difficult to break.
- Writing down your goals. A common goal that people set for themselves is 10,000 steps per day. However, it is worthwhile to check with a medical professional, in order to avoid overextending yourself.
- Encouraging your friends and family to use the tool with you. Many trackers have interactive features that allow you to measure your progress against someone else’s. Most of us also benefit from having a workout buddy, so this informal type of comparison can really serve as an effective motivator. Plus, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable for reaching your goals.
- Engaging in activities that you enjoy. While tools come with limitations — namely the activities that it measures — it is extremely helpful to choose a tracker based on the activities you enjoy. If you are doing something that interests you, it will be easier to maintain over time.
Tip #4: Take the dog with you.
It is true that a dog is a man’s best friend – and your dog likely won’t back down from the opportunity to be your exercise companion. The arrival of a new pet, particularly a dog, is an effective way to get owners moving. Physical activity is necessary for a dog, even if it is simply a short walk every day. This can help owners remain accountable for getting their daily exercise in, as well.
Tip #5: Finish those chores.
Cleaning your house employs a variety of muscle groups, in addition to keeping you active. Every step you take and every inch you vacuum helps you stay fit. For an added benefit, squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles as you’re trailing from room to room.
Whether you’re on a quest to stay fit and healthy, or simply want to enjoy life more, contact our Lynnwood, WA office today to find out how our occupational and hand therapists can help. The Hands for Living team is more than happy to get you started on the right track toward improved health and wellness!