Everyone wants to start the New Year with a goal of improved health, but few know what steps to take to reach that goal.
Whether it's to be able to walk more with less pain or start an exercise program, many people don't quite know
where to begin.
If you follow some simple rules, you'll be able to start moving toward better health in 2015.
First, set your goals and make them manageable. If you want to reduce back pain you've had for 10 years, set both short and long term marks to reach.
In this example, a reasonable shortterm goal might be to walk around the block without a pain increase or to sleep
all night without pain.
You must be reasonable with your progress. Don't expect pain you've had for many years to disappear in a week or
two. It is more reasonable to see levels diminish gradually.
Another example might be a stiff shoulder that won't allow you to reach into high cupboards.
A short-term goal might be to reach to the first shelf above thecounter.
Second, remember, there are no quick fixes or magic pills. You have to pick a program and work toward it every
A helpful tool I sometimes give my patients is an activity calendar to chart what they've done in their therapy program. This gives them black and white evidence if they are really following through with their exercises.
Seeing several days in a row with no completed boxes can be a great motivator to get on track.
Remember, persistence will pay off. If, for example, you want to improve your balance and not need a walker, it will be a gradual improvement.
Third, adapt the program if what you are doing isn't moving toward the end goal.
If you aren't sure you are doing the appropriate activity, seek a qualified professional to address the problem you are seeking to resolve.
While a personal trainer might be able to devise a program for a general fitness goal, a health provider such as a physical therapist might be needed for specific conditions such as low back problems or poor balance.
Your health is the most important gift you can give yourself. Keep a positive attitude and with some strong determination, sooner than you thought your goal can be in sight.
Jackie Cannon, PT, DPT, MBA, ATC, CSCS is the owner of FIT Consultants Physical Therapy, LLC. physicaltherapy