Social media is all abuzz with challenges these days –my wife is completing the June ab challenge (with a substitute exercise for leg extensions, as these are bad for your low back).
As a chiropractic physician, who has seen hundreds of patients, I know that while I certainly have a skill set that can help many people, what I can do is limited by the choices that each individual makes. A friend, who is also a patient recently said to me, “I know when I come to see you that I will also go home with a list of exercises that I have to complete in order to heal.” As a chiropractor, those words are music to my ears. While many patients find chiropractors to fix an injury, chiropractic is, by nature, a preventative philosophy of health care. I know that we will have completed health care reform when we see healthy care policy, in the public and private sectors, that reward preventative care.
Incentives aside, I know it is often easier to make an unhealthy choice than it is to make a healthy one. A healthy lifestyle is a habit, developed slowly and over time. To that end, I would like to encourage my patients to begin making small manageable lifestyle changes. The word small is deceiving, because small does not mean insignificant. I would like to encourage all of my patients and readers to take the challenge with me. I want to walk the talk. Each month, I would invite you to join me to make healthy changes. If you fall off the wagon, just get back on the next day, this is not about being perfect, but about starting each day with a choice to be healthy.
The challenge for July is hydration. According to a 2013 study by the CDC, almost half of Americans do not drink enough water on a daily basis. Water is essential for every bodily functions– it is used to cushion and lubricate the joints, help with elimination of toxin and wastes from our body. It controls temperature regulation and is needed for essential bodily fluids such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid and lymph.
The standard advice is eight 8 oz glasses a day. While there is some debate about the numbers, most health care professionals would agree that under 6 glasses a day is too low. Hot humid weather, activity, intake of salty foods as well as consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol all increase your need for water. An easy way to judge your need for more water is to monitor your urine. Urine should be pale yellow, the darker the urine, the greater the need to drink more water.
With more water your body will function at a higher level. Won’t you join my in the July Challenge and drink more water?
Goodman AB, Blanck HM, Sherry B, Park S, Nebeling L, Yaroch AL. Behaviors and Attitudes Associated With Low Drinking Water Intake Among US Adults, Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, 2007. Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120248. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd10.120248.