You Don’t Need A Gym Membership To Get Healthy

For most people, any mention of exercise conjures mental images of a gym.

While there’s nothing wrong with going to the gym, if you don’t like the idea, there are plenty of ways you can get fit without having to set foot in one.

In fact, far more important than paying for a gym membership is to simply begin.  Just pick an arbitrary day, like right now, immediately after you read this article, and start.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complex, you just have to increase your level of physical activity over and above what it is right now.

If you work in an office, there are literally dozens of exercises you can do without ever even getting up out of your chair.  You can intentionally park farther from the door to your office and do the same thing every time you go to a store, which will force you to walk more. Or take the stairs instead of an elevator.

The best way to get healthy and fit though, is to flip the script.  If you think of it as exercise, then your mind may rebel against it. If you pick some physical activity that you enjoy doing anyway, or that you haven’t tried before but think you might enjoy doing, it will feel like play rather than work. That will make it much more likely that you’ll stick with it for the long term.

If you’re struggling for ideas about what kinds of physical activities to consider, here are a few:

  • Take a fencing class
  • Sign up for martial arts
  • Buy a frisbee, grab a friend and go play in the nearest field
  • If you live near a wild area, go for a hike. If you fancy yourself a photographer, take your smartphone with you and start hunting for hidden vistas to shoot.
  • Take a whitewater rafting trip
  • Buy a bike and start riding
  • Buy some hula hoops and learn how to do it by using YouTube tutorials

All of these are great exercise, but none of them feel like working out. If it feels like fun, you’ll do it often! That’s an important distinction that can make all the difference in the world.

Causes of Knee Pain And How To Reduce It

Most adults will wind up suffering knee pain in one form or another at various points in their lives.  Sometimes it’s mild and sporadic, but other times, it can occur on a frequent basis. Sometimes it can be so severe that it can be debilitating and keep you from living life to the fullest.

While there are all sorts of things that can cause knee pain, here are some of the more common ones:

  • A damaged meniscus – A torn or damaged meniscus is one of the most common causes of knee pain in adults. Minisci are layers of cartilage that serve as cushions between your shin bone and your thigh bone.  If you’re performing a physical activity that puts too much stress on your knees, it can cause the meniscus to tear which causes sharp, shooting pain. It may keep your knees from functioning properly, including limiting your range of motion.
  • Bursitis – Another common cause of knee pain. Bursae are small pockets of fluid that lubricate the tendons in your shoulders, hips and knees, allowing them to move freely.  Inflammation of your bursae causes pain. Depending on a number of factors, it may come on suddenly and severely, or build up gradually over time.
  • Patellar Tendinitis – Tendons are tough, flexible bands of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Any time you overexert yourself, your tendons can become inflamed and sore.  If you’ve heard people complaining of having “jumper’s knee,” this is the condition they are describing. High impact exercise can cause this.
  • Osteoarthritis – The longer you live, the more wear and tear your body will suffer. The pain from the condition is caused by the loss of cartilage, which allows the bones to rub together, causing pain.  If you suffer from the condition, you’ll notice that repetitive movements or working out increase the pain.  The good news is that rest tends to alleviate the pain, so if you have osteoarthritis, be sure to pace yourself and take frequent breaks!

As we mentioned, there are plenty of other possible causes of knee pain, but these are the Big Three to watch out for.

For Your Best Health, Don’t Completely Avoid Sun Exposure

Everybody knows that too much sun can be bad for you in many different ways.

The dire warnings about it are everywhere. Of course, that’s why you find so many brands and varieties of sun block on store shelves.

Unfortunately, many people believe that the sun’s rays are nothing but downside, and that’s simply not true!  While it’s important to take sensible precautions, you definitely shouldn’t avoid the sun altogether.  If you do, you’ll miss out on some important benefits.

Here are just a few:

  • Serotonin – Depression can actually be caused by a lack of sunlight, which causes your serotonin levels to drop, and which is why so many people suffer from seasonal depression. Those long winter months indoors keeps you out of the sun. The good news is that sunlight actually triggers the production of serotonin, so warding off depression could be as simple as getting outside and enjoying it for a little while each day.
  • Melatonin – The sun’s rays also trigger the production of melatonin in your body, which helps ensure a good night’s sleep every night. Given that a shocking percentage of adults don’t get enough sleep as it is, this presents a simple opportunity for you that’s incredibly easy to take advantage of.
  • Vitamin D – Most everyone has heard that milk “does a body good” because it contains Vitamin D. What fewer people realize, however, is that your body produces Vitamin D naturally, and that exposure to the sun’s rays triggers it.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure you get out and get a little sun, every chance you get.

All that to say, take sensible precautions, but don’t be so afraid of the sun that you miss out on the benefits!

Arthritis Flare Ups Could Be Caused By Previous Injuries

Arthritis is no laughing matter and flare ups can happen at any time.  The unpredictable nature of it makes it more insidious, and unfortunately, previous injuries make those flare ups more likely to occur. Injuries can virtually guarantee that they’ll occur more frequently.

While you may require prescription medication to manage the pain and make flare ups easier to deal with, there are a number of viable over the counter medications that can work. A number of home remedies have a demonstrated track record of being effective, too.

In terms of over the counter medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Motrin and Advil, both of which contain ibuprofen, aspirin, or Aleve, which contains naproxen, are good options. Taking Tylenol  (acetaminophen) is another good option for pain relief, but bear in mind that acetaminophen doesn’t treat inflammation of an arthritis flare up; it just helps reduce the pain.

Where home remedies are concerned, a few of the more common options include:

  • Heat therapy to ease stiffness
  • Massage therapy
  • Breathing exercises which help to reduce stress
  • Acupuncture

It’s also important, if you suffer from arthritis and are in the midst of a flare up, that you pace yourself and take frequent breaks as you’re going about your day.

Unfortunately, none of the home remedies mentioned above will reduce your inflammation and swelling, but they can help make the flare-up easier to manage.

Even if you’re not taking prescription medications for your arthritis, it’s important that you consult with your doctor before making use of over the counter medicines or home remedies. Of course, that’s even more important if you are taking something prescribed by your doctor.  Failure to do so could lead to complications that might make matters worse or give you a new problem you hadn’t considered.

Not Exercising May Be Worse Than Sitting Too Much

Not long ago, a landmark study declared that “Sitting is the New Smoking!”  While the reality isn’t quite as bad as the study made it sound, it’s no secret that Americans sit too much. Even if the research team oversold their results slightly, their message was an important one.

One of the side effects of that study was the sudden surge in standing desks and other office solutions that encouraged less sitting.

While those products are helpful at the margins, the simple truth is this:  Using a standing desk is no substitute for exercising.  It’s marginally better than sitting in your chair all day, but a staggering 40 percent of Americans don’t get a meaningful amount of exercise on any given week.  That’s the core problem, and until it changes, our country is going to continue to struggle with its obesity epidemic.

The good news is that adding exercise to your daily routine is easy and painless.  We recommend starting small.  Park farther away from your office door or the door to any big box stores you visit and walk the length of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Any time your co-workers take a smoke break, you take a health break and do a lap or two around the building.  Before you sit down in the easy chair at home, take a stroll around the block.

None of these things take very long and none of them will really feel like exercising, but they’ll have a bigger impact than you might imagine. Every couple of weeks, you can add a little bit more to your slowly budding routine.

Before you know it, you’ll be spending twenty or thirty minutes a day doing low intensity exercises and that will make a tremendous difference to your overall level of health!  Start today, try it for yourself and see.  You’ll be amazed at the results.