Sun’s out, man buns out. (Gotta love ’em.)
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As the mercury drops, it can be easy to fall into a workout slump.
Whether you’re a creature of habit when it comes to your fitness routine or the winter weather has your goals frozen in time—there’s always room for some extra motivation. Fight the seasonal workout blues with these six tips to step up your fitness routine:
If motivation is failing you, find an accountability buddy—a colleague, friend or relative—to work out with. Having a workout partner works wonders for staying committed and can make trying new classes more fun. Look for a partner with similar goals who can count on.
Explore new classes and studios in your area using the MINDBODY app. Sometimes all it takes to get re-inspired is adding something new to your routine. Plus, if you’re in the market for a workout buddy, you might just find one at that studio you’ve been meaning to check out for months.
Just discovered your next binge-worthy series? Instead of planting your booty on the couch, workout while you watch. Whether you’re doing planks in your living room or running on the treadmill at the gym, watching a show will help pass the time with entertainment.
Some people call it retail therapy; others call it motivation. Whichever way you spin it, new workout gear can actually motivate you to stick to (or get back to) your fitness regimen. After all, that $100 pair of sweat-wicking leggings won’t do any good in your dresser drawer.
Words have serious sway. In fact, positive words trigger positive subconscious responses in the brain. So why not tap into social media for motivational workout quotes? Get involved with like-minded communities online by looking for common hashtags, such as #MondayMantra. Participating and sharing motivation online is another great way to maintain accountability.
Routine requires organization. Get organized and start building new habits each day. For example, if your goal is to work out more often, get in the habit of booking classes a few days in advance. If you know you need to work out in the morning, get your gear ready the night before so you can roll out of bed and go—no excuses. Alternatively, if you work out during the day, set calendar reminders for yourself so you don’t forget.
Not sure which motivation strategies work for you? Try any variety of these tactics until you find the perfect match.
Acupuncture is extremely beneficial for various ailments ranging from digestion to carpal tunnel, but the level of effectiveness varies from person-to-person. I’ve had Sciatica patients spend months combating their back and leg pain, and others hop off the table in two hours, never needing a follow-up appointment. Some rotator cuffs take six weeks; others take two years.
Why is this?
While your body's response to acupuncture depends on the complaint or injury, it also depends on your overall health, and how well you take care of the injured site between sessions. If we eat junk food all the time, are inactive, don’t sleep well, or overwork ourselves, then injury is imminent, and recovery is going to be hard. Equally, if we ignore an injury or don't care for it, then we will likely stay injured for longer.
So, let’s break down what’s best for you when it comes to acupuncture:
“How often should you get acupuncture with specific ailments?”
This is different for everyone, but here are some general guidelines.
More is better.
Acupuncture has cumulative effects, so while most feel relief after one session, it likely will not have resolved the issue. Multiple follow up sessions are needed, and for your own comfort, it’s recommended that you use sessions before the effects have completely worn off each time.
Every time you receive a session, your relief should be more significant, and the effects should last longer—bringing the injury closer to resolution. With this in mind; the worse the injury, the more frequent you’ll want to receive acupuncture. Several times a week is standard, that way you will get out of discomfort faster, and you’ll need fewer sessions overall.
Understanding acute versus chronic ailments.
Some acute symptoms like nausea, dizziness, bleeding, swelling, or anxiety will clear up on the spot. However, for recent injuries pertaining to tissues, like a strained muscle, you can use three acupuncture sessions in one week with great effect. For example, with strained lower back muscles, you will feel less pain in one session, a significant reduction in inflammation and symptoms within three sessions. An ankle sprain is a little more serious and may take two or three weeks, but the general idea is the same.
With stubborn pain, or chronic issues like sciatica, skin rashes, nerve pain, hormone irregularities, it can take a bunch of sessions to see lingering results. Often there will be relief right after each session, but the symptoms return quickly (albeit with a little less vengeance). This just means the results are happening in smaller increments. For this reason, your practitioner will tell you to come in over three times a week for two or three weeks so you’ll get more relief faster, but you can space the sessions out as you begin to feel better.
“What can I do to make my acupuncture benefits bigger?”
As mentioned, how you care for yourself between sessions makes a big difference. Here’s a few pro tips.
Your practitioner will give you specific directions they want you to follow for your ailment, but generally, after an acupuncture visit, it is wise to drink a lot of water and rest.
Here’s the obvious thing we don’t often consider. If you get instant relief for your pulled hamstring, but then you go running the next day, it’s going to take forever to heal! That injured body part needs to be pampered and catered to. Your acupuncturist will give you food, supplement, lifestyle, and movement suggestions to use between sessions– use them all.
I’ve seen countless patients walk in with frozen shoulder, spend 90 minutes in the chair with various points and stimulation techniques, and then leave swinging their arm painlessly with 50% more range of motion. If they eat well, do their physical therapy, and are kind to their shoulders, the effects will last. Then, next time, we can add another 50% on to their range of motionBut, if they paint a house or swing a baseball, then I see them go right back to square one overnight. How we take care of ourselves between sessions really matters.
You will want to note any changes; no matter how small or irrelevant they seem. Your practitioner is armed with many protocols and techniques. They will always start with the combo that they’ve seen work best for your complaint, from there they will work backward or tweak it slightly based on the information you give them. Make sure to tell them every detail, even if it seems unrelated.
One lady, with unrelenting pain, finally revealed a game-changing nugget to me while nonchalantly laughing about her need to wear neck scarves everywhere. I found out she had been experiencing chills and had a significant aversion to wind during the summer. This “irrelevant” snippet made me radically change the protocol, and she was pain-free and healing rapidly within four sessions.
So, there you have it. How acupuncture benefits various body parts depends on the area concerned, but also on how we treat our bodies before, during, and after injury.