If we neglect our bodies, misuse them, or otherwise fail to treat them with proper respect, they have an effective means of expressing their dissatisfaction.
We feel pain – in our joints, in our muscles, in our backs; pretty much any place where there exists a nerve that can fire off an urgent distress signal to the brain.
And as we age, those distress signals seem to become more frequent, with the simplest of movements, such as bending over to pick up a fallen object, creating anguish and instant regret.
“Unfortunately, pain and aging are facts of life,” says Nicky Snazell (www.painreliefclinic.co.uk), a physiotherapist, expert in pain management, and author of The 4 Keys to Health and other books.
“The good news is that, ultimately, our quality of life doesn’t have to be ruled by age and pain themselves, no matter what we might think. Instead, our quality of life is determined by how we handle age and pain.”
In many ways, we’re our bodies’ own worst enemies. But Snazell says those who want to treat their bodies the right way can accomplish that by making changes in four key areas:
- Mindset. Your mindset affects all aspects of your health, Snazell says. “Without a positive, long-term commitment to health, you will not eat and drink well, you will not get regular and adequate exercise, and you will not be able to control your stress,” she says. “Without first getting your head in the right place, how can you expect to make all of these changes to your life?”
- Nutrition and hydration. It’s no secret that most of us don’t have the best diets, Snazell says. “We eat too much of the food that enhances pain,” she says, “and too little that reduces pain.” Our ancient ancestors had the right idea, she says. They ate fresh meat, berries, roots, and fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants, and they had no processed foods. Perhaps more surprising, Snazell says, is that many people also aren’t properly hydrated. “Water is necessary for mental agility, the immune system, healing, cleansing, and detoxing,” she says, “so it is definitely not something we should ignore.”
- Fitness. Televisions, computers and smartphones helped turn us into a sedentary society self-imprisoned on our sofas. “The lack of physical activity causes emotional and physiological imbalances,” Snazell says. “Improving your fitness changes your chemistry, acts as a powerful antidepressant, promotes mental clarity, and reduces the likelihood of cancer.” Being disciplined about getting exercise is your key to longevity, she says, so exercise regularly and effectively. Running, for example, helps you lose dangerous belly fat that causes inflammation and aids stress. If running proves too difficult or isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other aerobic exercises, such as golf, walking, swimming, rowing and cross country skiing, among others.
- Lifestyle. “If you want to start changing your lifestyle right now to improve your mental and physical health, there are several small, simple things you can do to get headed in the right direction,” Snazell says. Here are just some of them: Get a regular massage; meditate daily; set purposeful goals; do something nice for a stranger; watch less TV; study something every day; spend time with inspiring and funny people; sing in the shower.
“As we age, we need to put even more care into our diet, our exercise, and our workload,” Snazell says. “It sounds simple, but many of us fail to even acknowledge that we have to change the way we use our bodies as we get older.
“We need to remember that so much of this is a choice. We have the power to change ourselves by transforming the way we think, what we eat, how we move, and what kind of lifestyle we choose to lead.”
About Nicky Snazell
Nicky Snazell (www.painreliefclinic.co.uk), author of The 4 Keys to Health and other books, is director of Nicky Snazell’s Wellness & Physiotherapy in the United Kingdom. She is a physiotherapist and pain specialist. Snazell is the founder of three health companies and still treats patients, embracing holistic physiotherapy, healthy living, and new technology for joint repair. After 30 years of treating patients, including about 14,000 at her clinic’s Midlands location, Snazell has seen a huge success rate. She also makes presentations internationally on health, wellbeing and pain relief.