Is My Lifestyle Helping Me Heal?
Posted on 14th March 2023
There’s nothing worse than being in any kind of pain for a long time. More often than not, massage therapy and other hands-on treatment can alleviate a lot of these symptoms of pain and also help to identify restrictions before they become a problem.
Unfortunately, though, we don’t have magic wands. Where most people find great relief after receiving treatment from our therapists, others find niggles that may take a few sessions to start to resolve and feel more comfortable.
As sports therapists, we’re huge advocates of rehabilitation and its role in aiding your recovery. But there are a lot of lifestyle habits and changes you can make which can have a significant impact on the timeline of your recovery.
Ways to speed up your recovery
Sleep – Sleep is the most important recovery process. During sleep your body rests and repairs itself, so ensuring a good night's sleep is pivotal to how your body heals itself after an injury or massage. The health guideline recommends 7-8 hours per night of sleep. This can help speed up recovery and change how you perceive pain the next day.
Here are some of the key reasons why sleep is essential for our health and well-being:
Restoring the body: Sleep is a time when the body can rest, repair and regenerate. During sleep, the body can heal and repair tissues, boost the immune system, and produce hormones that are necessary for growth and development.
Improving brain function: Sleep is essential for cognitive function, including memory consolidation, learning, problem-solving, and creativity. Getting enough sleep can improve our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and perform daily tasks.
Supporting mental health: Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Sleep is important for regulating mood and emotional responses, as well as reducing stress.
Regulating appetite and weight: Sleep plays a role in regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism, which can impact weight management. Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and other health issues.
Boosting physical performance: Getting enough sleep is important for athletic performance and physical endurance. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, decreased reaction time, and a reduced ability to perform at our best.
Nutrition – Eating lots of ‘pro-inflammatory’ foods will increase inflammation and pain signals from tissues after a massage treatment and exercise. These include fatty or processed foods, sugary treats, alcohol, and smoking! Trying to incorporate oily fish with high levels of Omega 3, pineapple, cauliflower, turmeric, or curcumin can help to reduce internal inflammation and therefore pain.
Here are some key reasons why nutrition is crucial for good health:
Providing energy: Our bodies require energy to carry out daily activities, and this energy comes from the food that we eat. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients provides the energy that we need to perform daily activities.
Supporting growth and development: Adequate nutrition is essential for growth and development, particularly during childhood and adolescence. Nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals are important for building and repairing tissues, and for supporting bone and muscle growth.
Maintaining a healthy weight: A balanced diet that includes the right amount of calories and nutrients can help maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the risk of obesity and other health problems.
Preventing chronic diseases: A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Supporting mental health: Nutrition can also impact mental health, as certain nutrients can affect brain function and mood. A healthy diet can improve mental clarity, reduce stress, and support overall emotional well-being.
Stress – High levels of stress can be detrimental to any healing tissue by reducing healing rates. This could be from internal bodily stresses such as consuming lots of energy drinks and caffeine or environmental factors, like work or not allowing your body to recover from a heavy training session at the gym. Ensure you have some downtime to give your body breathing space to repair.
Here are some reasons why minimizing stress is crucial for our well-being:
Reducing the risk of chronic diseases: Chronic stress has been linked to an increased risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Improving mental health: Stress can take a toll on our mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Boosting immune function: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
Improving sleep: Stress can interfere with sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. This can lead to fatigue and other health problems.
Enhancing overall well-being: Minimizing stress can improve overall well-being by reducing symptoms of stress such as headaches, muscle tension, and irritability. It can also improve our ability to cope with daily challenges and improve our relationships with others.
Hydration – Drinking between 2-3L a day will allow your body to function as optimally as possible which is a massive plus when it comes to healing. Hydration is important because our bodies are made up of mostly water, and every system in our body relies on water to function properly.
Here are some reasons why hydration is so important:
Regulating body temperature: Water helps regulate body temperature by sweating and releasing heat from the body
Aiding digestion: Water is essential for digestion, as it helps dissolve and transport nutrients throughout the body.
Removing waste: Water helps flush toxins and waste products out of the body through urine and bowel movements.
Lubricating joints: Water acts as a lubricant for joints, making movement easier and reducing the risk of injury.
Supporting the immune system: Water helps support the immune system by carrying nutrients to cells and flushing out waste products.
Preventing dehydration: When the body doesn't have enough water, it can become dehydrated, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other health problems.
Daily movement – Keeping yourself active through workouts and gym sessions is great for your health but do not disregard the rest of your day. A 1-hour gym session will not counteract 9 hours of desk work, so try to get yourself out for a long walk in natural sunlight each day to improve your daily activity and keep your body tiptop.
Here are some key reasons why daily movement is crucial for our well-being:
Maintaining physical health: Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and improve overall physical fitness.
Enhancing mental health: Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving mood, and promoting a sense of well-being.
Improving cognitive function: Regular physical activity has been linked to improvements in cognitive function, including memory, attention, and executive function.
Boosting energy levels: Daily movement can help boost energy levels and reduce fatigue, making it easier to perform daily activities.
Promoting better sleep: Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration, which can improve overall health and well-being.
Enhancing quality of life: Daily movement can improve overall quality of life by promoting physical and mental health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and increasing longevity.
If you’d like to help people understand how lifestyle factors can help the body heal, sign up for one of our sports therapist courses today!
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