What would happen if you stopped regularly brushing your teeth? And what if you never went to the dentist at all? Obviously, your oral health would decline significantly, leading to bad breath, yellow teeth, cavities and the dreaded gingivitis!
Sounds pretty gross, right?
Oral health is often drilled into our brains in early childhood. 2-3 times per day, every day, we brush our teeth, floss, use mouth wash, etc. If we go away on vacation and forget our toothbrush, we make an emergency trip to the drug store. For most of us, oral health is a big deal.
Now, what if we applied the logic above to physical health instead of oral health? Would people respond the same way? Unfortunately, probably not. Persistent pain, obesity and poor lifestyle habits continue to negatively affect people’s health, so we know there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to emphasizing the importance of physical health as a part of everyone’s daily routine.
As a physiotherapist, I see many patients whose injuries could have been avoided just by being a bit more diligent with their own physical health practices. Movement problems can slowly creep up on us, which can lead to full-blown injuries.
Here’s one example: if you go most of your adult life without squatting, your knee and hip joints are only experiencing a partial range of motion. The same goes for your back if you’re sitting most of the day.
If you haven’t properly exposed your joints to full range of motion and adequate usage for over a decade, it’s not fair to blame all your pain on that couch you had to lift and move around last week.
Establishing a new routine
So how can we start making changes that can affect the population as a whole?
Getting into a routine is often the hardest part. One way to build a new routine into your life is by associating a new activity with one that’s already a habit (like brushing your teeth!)
For the next few weeks, perform some mobility exercises for 5 to 10 minutes right after you’ve finished polishing those pearly whites. Start by scanning your body and looking for problem areas regarding movement.
Can you stand in an upright position?
Can you touch your toes?
Can you reach behind your back?
Can you fully reach over your head?
Can you sit cross-legged?
Can you squat?
Can you stand on one foot?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of the questions above, you should perform gentle exercises that can address that movement problem.
Add in a bit more walking per week and the next thing you know, you’ll be enjoying the journey and it will no longer seem like a chore. Once you’ve established a routine, it will be much easier to figure out your goals and how to build on your program.
If you’d like a professional opinion, you can schedule a meeting with a Lifemark clinician and have them complete a movement analysis. This is what preventative healthcare is all about! Check out our Locations page to find a Lifemark clinic near you.