Health and Wellness Self-care

Healthy Happy Joints

Are you stiff when you get up in the morning? Do your knees or hips hurt when running or jumping? Do you feel like your 70 when your only in your 30s?

You don’t have to feel that way! Taking care of your joints now is SO important and there are simple things that you can do to help you feel and move better.

Here are 5 things you can start doing today to support healthy joints and movement:

  1. Move your body: The longer you sit, the more your muscles tighten. Staying active throughout the day (get those steps in!) will both help your joints feel better now and in the future.
  2. Strength Training: Did you know that a lot of knee pain comes from an imbalance of muscles strength? Our quads tend to naturally be stronger than our other leg muscles. When our quads (front of our thighs) are stronger than our hamstrings (back of our thighs), it pulls on our knee joints and can cause shooting pain. By strengthening your hamstrings and glutes (butt), you’ll not only feel stronger, but have less pain in your knees! But don’t just strength train your legs! You want to train your entire body. Looking for a great app that can help you do strength training (and overall fitness) at home? Try out the Pretty Muscles app by Erin Oprea. You’ll love it!
  3. Stretching: Just as an imbalance of muscles can cause joint pain, tight muscles can pull at your joints and affect how your move causing pain as well. Take the time to really stretch after a workout, try adding Yoga 1-2x/week, and find times throughout the day to stretch (just make sure you move those muscles some and warm them up before you stretch).
  4. Chiropractor: When your body is out of line, you will feel it in your joints. Find a good chiropractor to help keep your body moving well. Just going once a month for an adjustment will keep you feeling good for a long time…not just now, but as you age as well (take note: if you are dealing with pain now, a chiropractor will start you coming around 2 x/week, then eventually move it down to a maintenance phase as you start feeling better.) Also, find a chiropractor that you love — everyone has different styles and techniques. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a chiropractor that gels with your needs and comfort level.
  5. Supplements: There are a variety of supplements that have been proven to support healthy joints.
    • Collagen: Collagen is important for skin, hair, nails, AND your joints! In fact, it is one of the key building blocks for healthy joints. Never hurts to add some collagen to your supplement routine.
    • Glucosamine: Glucosamine has been proven to rebuild cartilage! Great supplement to add to your diet to keep you moving well.
    • Fish Oil: Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation. Less inflammation means less joint pain.

Interested in what supplements I use and recommend for healthy joints? You can check out this list here.

Here’s hoping that incorporating these ideas will have you feeling free to move your body anyway you choose!

Health and Wellness Self-care

My Wish For You

I talk a lot about wellness and taking care of your bodies. This isn’t just a passing phase or hobby…it is truly my heart and what I care about, not just for myself, but for the people around me. I heard someone say recently, “I want die young at an old age.” And that is my wish for you: to live a full life – healthy and thriving – until an old age. I want you to get the most out of life. This requires you to take care of yourself…and not just physically.

True wellness (or total fitness) is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental. I hope that through my blog, you’ve been able to see some of my journey in each of these areas and have encouraged you in your quest for wellness as well.

So here is my wish for you…

Physically: that you would find ways to move you body that bring you joy; that you would fuel your body with good foods and use quality supplements to fill that gap; that you would give you body the rest it needs to heal and replenish; that you would take care of your body so that you can thrive each day.

Emotionally: that you would be able to process through your feelings — whether with a friend or a professional — and find healing and hope; that you would grow in empathy and kindness.

Mentally: that you would find solutions to your problems and learn to process through all the information thrown at you to determine what is worth listening to and what should be ignored.

Socially: that you would have fulfilling relationships with others; that you would be a good friend; that you would find ways to serve and care for those around you.

Environmentally: that you would choose products that are free are harmful chemicals and toxins; that you would be wary of what you put in and on your body.

Spiritually: that you would run to Jesus and know him as your Lord and Savior; that you would see God working in the good and the bad and know that he loves you, sees you, and cares for you; that you would experience growth in your faith in God and love for others; that you would be filled with a peace and contentment and joy that makes no sense to the rest of the world.

My prayer and my desire for you is to find true and total health. That is what “wellness” means to me.

Health and Wellness Self-care

Know Your Body

I’m officially old.

This past Monday, while playing kickball with my 5th grade P.E. class, I tweaked my back throwing the ball in from the outfield. The muscles instantly tightened and pain shot through my glute whenever I turned. I sucked it up and moved on, but knew I needed to get help that day. If I let it go for too long, the muscles would continue to tighten and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the next morning.

As soon as we got home from school, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for a hour later. After a painful but needed adjustment, my pain decreased by 50% when I went to bed and 80% the next morning. I’m thankful that I know my body well enough to know when the pain or “tweak” is something that I can manage or is something that needs to be taken care of right away.

This was a learned process. Trust me, I’m often the last person to go to a doctor or take the needed rest for any type of pain. But after a big injury back in the summer of 2019 that had me flat on my back, I learned to listen better to the pain signals, give myself time to heal, and not just “suck it up” or “walk it off.”

Nothing hits the ego or makes you feel old, then tweaking your back simply throwing a ball (another not-so-gentle reminder that I’m 42 and not 22). Even though I exercise, lift weights, eat well, take good supplements, etc., age can still be a factor. As we get older, it is even more important to take care of our bodies and listen to them.

Stay active. Eat well. Take high-quality supplements. Reduce the toxic chemicals. And don’t forget to take time to rest, heal, and listen to your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, but it might be different. You might have to ease into things, stretch even more (if you’re young, be good with your stretching NOW), and give yourself those rest days.

And if you need a sympathetic ear or encouragement, I’ll be over here nursing my back and ego.

Ready for some kickball! — pre-injury 😉
Health and Wellness

Down the Road…

I started feeling pain in my right glute starting in July 2019. I stretched and foam rolled to try to make it get better, but I continued with my daily runs and workouts. One month later and the only way to not feel the pain shooting down the back of both of my legs was lying completely flat on my back. As someone who is always active, this was a big wake up call. I decided that I needed to do things right (not just take a break for a few days and then try running again), so I started Physical Therapy and stopped running or working out.

Gotta admit, on top of struggling to stay still, one of my first thoughts was “how will I not gain weight if I can’t workout?” Then I reminded myself what I tell clients all the time: wellness is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. I took a look at my nutrition and made sure I was eating good foods and not mindlessly snacking. Not only did I maintain my weight (even lost a few pounds), but it helped me reshape my mind-frame on exercise. 

I’ve worked in health and fitness for a while and I always hear people talking about working out so they can eat tacos or donuts or pizza or ____. The thing is, you can’t out-exercise a poor diet! Yes, exercise can boost your metabolism and burn calories, but if you continue to eat poorly, you will continue to be disappointed with what you see in the mirror and constantly be weighed down with guilt. Nutrition is the key ingredient to the physique and abs (and other health factors) that you desire.

So, if nutrition is the main motivator to losing weight, why bother to exercise? I have seen plenty of people jump on the latest diet trend to lose weight and most of them don’t incorporate exercise. Yes, you’ll lose weight, but there are a lot of reasons why it’s still important to focus on the other 20% (exercise) to reach total 100% health.

1. Exercise boosts your mood. Feeling tired and run down? Go for a walk. Take in the scenery, pray, listen to music or a podcast, and relax. One of the big things I learned during my recovery was the benefits of a good walk. I put in my earbuds, turn on some worship music, and go for a nice long walk to pray, calm my thoughts, and melt my stress away. Exercise boosts your endorphins and decreases the presence of stress hormones.

2. Exercise is good for your heart. Your heart is a muscle, so aerobic exercise helps to keep that muscle strong and more efficient as it pumps life-giving blood and nutrients throughout your body.

3. Exercise is good for your brain. Exercise has been found to help memory and slow the progression of memory decline later in life.

4. Exercise supports your immune system. Regular, moderate exercise stimulates immune activity so you are less likely to get sick or infections.

5. Exercise helps your sleep better. Just moving 20 minutes per day will help increase your quality of sleep.

6. Exercise keeps your joints healthy. Regular movement and exercise keeps your joints from getting stiff and reduces aches and pains now…and as you age.

For me, one of the biggest benefits to regular exercise is that my body is able to keep up with my active kids. Not just the day to day activities, but playing basketball with my 10-year-old and having dance parties with my 8-year-old as well. I love having the energy and ability to keep up with my children and engage in what makes them happy.

Down the road, how do you want to feel? Do you want to be able to travel with your spouse, chase your grandkids, have less pain? What you do now — both with nutrition and exercise — effects how you’ll feel down the road. How are you preparing for your future health?