It’s no secret that the typical approach to health could use some improvement. Visits to the doctor are mainly centered around relieving the symptom(s) that brought you in — A pill for this, a procedure for that. And then the cycle continues once another symptom pops up.
But what if we could hit rewind and proactively prevent that nagging complaint or diagnosis? What if we started to use a more preventative approach to health care, rather than a reactionary one?
While not unheard of, preventative methods are still far from the norm. So we’re here to share with you a few refreshing ways to take care of your health with the goal of stopping symptoms before they’ve even started. Ready to do this?
When it comes to aches and pains, back pain — especially lower back pain — is by far the most common (and costly) one. It is estimated that 60-70% of people will deal with this sort of pain at some point in their life, and the risk increases if you’re sitting at a desk all day.
New approach: Try exercise-based therapy
Proper body mechanics, strength training, and stretching to improve flexibility are all key factors in ensuring your back remains pain-free! When it comes to back pain, movement is both the key to prevention and fixing an existing problem. Studies have shown that most types of weight training (with the purpose of increasing core strength) are not only safe for those with chronic back pain, but they can also help relieve pain and improve function.
Want to get started? A personal trainer or a physiotherapist can help ensure that all exercises are done correctly, reducing your risk of re-injury and teaching you some new techniques, such as proper sitting and lifting mechanics.
We know movement and exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind. But what if you wanted to go a step further and do some preventative care for your mental health? More and more research is being done about the need to train our minds for times of high stress. No one is immune to hitting some bumps in the road — but the right coping techniques can make a challenging situation seem much less daunting.
New approach: Develop resiliency to prepare for hard times
So what is resilience and how do we know if we have it? Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. It’s the practice of learning from our mistakes and moving forward toward our goals while maintaining a positive outlook. Sounds great, right? But how do we become more resilient? It can take time to build resiliency, similar to how we train to get in shape (or stay in shape) — consistency and practice are key. And sometimes, it can take reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist, for coaching and guidance.
Want to start building? Check out these evidence-based strategies. Don’t know where to start? Visit Starling Minds in the League Marketplace for an online program to help you build up your mental fitness.
When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. (Seriously.) Did you know that 80% of premature heart disease and strokes can be prevented by early behaviors? That’s no small statistic. One of the most meaningful ways you can lower your risk of heart disease is through your food choices.
New approach: Re-think your diet
It’s always good to start by cutting down on processed foods and carbohydrates containing added sugar or ingredients the average person can’t pronounce while increasing our consumption of vegetables, healthy fats, and protein-rich foods. When it comes to our diet, dietitians and nutritionists are a valuable resource and can help us create a meal plan we can stick with. They will take into account preferences, time commitments, and budget to personalize anyone’s plan to their unique needs. Who said healthy has to be boring?
Too challenging to change your eating habits on your own? Consider signing up for our newest Weight Management Health Rewards Program that focuses on how to live a low-carb lifestyle, or speak with a health professional if the program’s not for you.
While arthritis is not always preventable, one of the most common forms (i.e., osteoarthritis) tends to occur in joints that have experienced previous injuries or strains after the cushioning (i.e., cartilage) breaks down.
New approach: Get moving
When it comes to WHY we develop arthritis, two of the biggest culprits are: (1) being overweight, and (2) being sedentary. The good news is, we can work on both of these issues at the same time by simply moving our body on a regular basis. Having an exercise routine helps keep us at a healthy weight, reducing the wear and tear to our joints and minimizing inflammation that can lead to arthritis. Plus, did you know that those who are inactive are 30% more likely to develop arthritis?
Our gut is a complex place. It breaks down our food so we can get the fuel and nutrients we need for energy. New research is also showing that it can play a role in everything from our moods to our immune system. So we think it’s safe to say: If your gut is not happy, your body might not be happy either!
New approach: Make gut health a priority
Remember, you are what you eat! Try these gut-friendly tips first before visiting your doctor (unless your symptoms are listed here, in which case a doctor visit is warranted). But, simply limiting your intake of things like alcohol, heavily processed foods or those containing refined sugars, even if for a short time, can do wonders for improving digestion. If after you’ve shown your gut some love and your bathroom habits still seem off — or if bloating or gas becomes your new normal — don’t try to treat your symptoms on your own. Instead, consider seeing someone like a naturopath that can help you get to the root of the cause and implement lifestyle changes to support proper digestive function. Reach out to Health Concierge or check out the League marketplace to connect with a provider near you.