1. Get moving daily. As human beings we are designed to move, sitting in one spot or sitting in front of the computer all day leads us to a stiff and achy body leading to common complaints of neck and back pain. I recommend spending a minimum of 20min a day moving your body however you choose - walking the dog, running, playing sport or dancing to your favourite music around the house.
If you are someone that works desk bound for most of the day I recommend setting a reminder on at your desk to get up every hour and get moving. This can be as simple as taking phone calls standing, walking to get a glass of water or doing a lap of the house or office.
2. Spend 10 min a day stretching. A great way to prevent any stiff, aching or tight muscles is to spend 10 min a day stretching. Stretching the big muscle groups - pecs, glutes, low back, hip flexors and calves is a great way to keep the body moving, and can reduce your risk of injury. This is an easy activity to integrate at the end of the day while watching your favourite show.
3. Get adequate sleep. Sleep plays an important part in recovery and repair, when we sleep it allows our body to repair and restore tissues that may have been damaged from activities such as running or stress. Adults should aim for 8-9 hours of quality sleep each night, adolescents and kids need 9+ hours each night to assist in growth and to meet their energy demands.
Some things to consider to ensure a good night's sleep is:
a. Avoid devices or TVs 1 hour prior to sleep.
b. Avoid coffee after 2pm, opt for a herbal tea like camomile or peppermint instead.
c. Aim to set up a regular night routine that works for you, for example - warm shower, herbal tea and read a book.
d. Practice some deep breathing exercises to help the body relax - breathe 10 slow deep belly breaths, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your jaw relaxed.
4. Stop and breathe. Often we find we are constantly rushing from one place to the next, we end up breathing through our upper chest and notice that our upper back, neck and traps become tight and achy. Pausing a few times a day, closing your eyes and placing your hand on your lower belly and breathing into your lower abdomen 10 times, keeping your jaw and shoulders relaxed, will help switch the body to the parasympathetic nervous system, helping the body to relax and to repair.
5. Keep hydrated. In winter we can find we may not be drinking as much water as the warmer months due to the cool weather, however our body is still made up of 60% water.
Our body needs water to keep functioning- it helps regulate body temperature, keeps bodily organs functioning, keeps joints well lubricated, and can prevent muscles from feeling tight and achy. Plus being well hydrated plays a part in our mood, our concentration and helps for better quality sleep. Aim for 2-3 litres of water a day.