We get told time and time again that we need to make sure that we drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential to our health. Our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, which means, that drinking water will help replenish any that we lose throughout the day from sweating, crying, urinating, etc. However, replenishing the output of water in our bodies is not the only key reason to making sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Here are some benefits of drinking water to stay hydrated:
1.It quenches your thirst and helps prevent dry mouth.
2.It helps prevent headaches.
3.It helps regulate your body temperature.
4.It helps keep your skin more subtle, improving your complexion.
5.It is a mood and energy booster.
6.It helps prevent foggy brain and increases cognitive function.
7.It helps reduce your risk of heart attacks.
8.It helps your kidneys to function properly, keeping you healthier.
9.It helps lubricate your muscles and joints, reducing stiffness and soreness.
Water really is good for you and your body. If drinking plain water all day does not appeal to your taste buds, try adding some fruit to your water. Adding lemon, lime, raspberries, melons, or any other juicy fruit to your water gives it a nice flavor to help quench your thirst. Switch it up with some herbal teas throughout the day. Just try to stay away from drinking a lot of beverages that are full of caffeine, carbonation, or alcohol. These drinks do not count toward keeping yourself hydrated and healthy.
So, the next time you go into the kitchen to get something to drink, fill your cup up with water to gulp down. Fill up your water bottle and take it with your when you leave the house and sip on it while you drive or take a drink at every stop light during your commute. Remember to keep refilling your cup and water bottle throughout the day. Staying hydrated does help keep you healthy. Cheers to a healthy you!
Our hands and wrists are probably the one of the most overused, and least thought about body parts, when it comes to self-care and stretching. With our increased use of computers, cell phones, and other technologies that require the constant use of our hands, you may notice that your hands and wrists feel tighter, stiffer, even more sore than they had in the past. The constant typing and even gripping of items can fatigue your muscles, weakening your hands and wrists, and cause you pain and discomfort. Carrying grocery bags, gardening, knitting, writing, painting, working out, and a variety of other activities can all put strain on your wrists and hands with prolong and repetitive use.
To help give your overused wrists and hands a break, it is always a great idea to do some simple stretches throughout the day. Stretches not only helps with flexibility and mobility of your joints, but they can help relieve tension and relax tight muscles, easing the pain and stiffness you may be feeling in your hands and wrists. The best part about stretching your hands and wrists is that you can do them anywhere, anytime. You do not need a lot of space or time to stretch them out!
Here are some suggested stretches that you can do for your hands and wrists:
For some other suggestions on stretches that you can do, here are some links to other articles and videos that I found online:
If you find that your hands and wrists are sore, tight, or even fatigued throughout the day or after activities, give these stretches a try. Do them several times a day or as needed to help loosen them up and relieve some of the tension. If doing any of these stretches is painful, feels sharp, or you experience tingling or numbness in your arms and hands, consult with your doctor right away to make sure that you do not have an injury or another possible health related condition.
Neck pain and headaches can be debilitating. Having plenty of neck issues myself; I know and understand first-hand how miserable they can be if you do not catch them in their early stages of development. One of the best ways that I have found to combat stiff necks, neck pain, and even headaches, is by doing stretches. Stretching daily or at least a few times a week can help ward off these pains a great deal.
A sore or stiff neck and headaches can arise upon waking up first thing in the morning, or it can develop during a long work day, especially if you have a desk based job. This is often due to the results of the muscles and joints around the upper neck becoming too tight, putting pressure on the nerves at the top of your spine. This pain shoots up to the eyes and forehead. Instead of reaching for your pain medications, try to do some gentle stretching exercises instead.
Stretching helps keep your flexibility, which is important to preventing discomfort from stiff necks, general neck pains, and headaches. Below are some easy stretches that you can do throughout the day to help prevent neck pain and headaches from occurring.
Neck Exercises for Neck Pain
Stretches for Headaches
5 Simple Stretches to Relieve Headaches
Simple Stretches to Relieve and Prevent Tension Headaches
Of course, always remember to make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent dehydration, another common source of headaches.
I feel that everyone has experienced upper back pain at some point. It is actually the most common area of complaint that I hear from clients coming in for massages. Upper back pain is very common, especially when the Rhomboid muscles, the muscles between the spine and scapula (shoulder blade), are all knotted up and causing you pain and discomfort.
For most of us, this is due to bad posture. Our lifestyles cater to a slouched and hunched over posture all day long. Whether you are driving, sitting at desk, or texting away on your phone, you will notice that your shoulders are rounded forward, neck may be extended slightly forward, and you may even be tilting your head in a downward direction.
All of these positions lead to pulling your upper back muscles into a lengthened position and your chest (pectoral) muscles to become locked down in a shortened position, causing a lot of your upper back pain. That is where stretching your chest and shoulders, in between your massage appointments, play an important role in your own self-care. Below are some links (green) to various shoulder and chest stretches that you may find useful.
Yoga Poses to Open Your Shoulders (Click link to see full list with photos of the poses. Below are a few of my favorite ones that I like to use for my shoulders).
Stretches for Upper Cross Syndrome
This website goes over some stretches for your pectoral muscles (pecs) as well as some scalene stretches (side of your neck area). When most people say that their upper back is bothering them (Rhomboid area), often times their pectoral muscles will be quite tight as well. To help relieve the muscles in your back, you need to release the muscles in your chest. They are playing tug-o-war with one another, with the pecs winning. If you allow the pec muscles to relax and lengthen, the rhomboids can then shorten back to their natural position, reducing pain and stiffness that you may be feeling.
Simple Stretches While At Your Desk
I hear all the time from clients that they are too busy to stretch. That they are stuck at a desk all day long. This website (even though a little silly in their presentation) shows several stretches that you can do while still seated at your desk. I also recommend keeping water at your desk and drink it. This will do two things for you. One, it will fill your bladder so that you will have to get up to use the restroom. Getting up and walking is great time to stretch your muscles and relieve them from that hunched over, seated position. Two, you need to refill that water bottle up again, which also requires you to get up from your desk. See where I am going with this? Mini breaks that only take a couple of minutes can do wonders for your posture!
So when you are unable to schedule your much needed massages, try some of these stretches in between appointments to see if they will help alleviate some of the upper back pain you may be experiencing. It's worth giving them a try. Let's keep your body moving.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.