Tips to achieve optimal health

Physiotherapist Jason Smith believes we need to adopt a new approach to health and wellbeing.

Physiotherapist Jason Smith is passionate about changing the way we view his industry. Challenging the traditional ‘break/fix’ model of physiotherapy, Jason believes we need to go beyond even a preventative model of physiotherapy treatment, to one he calls ‘health promotion.’

Spreading the word through his physiotherapy group, Back in Motion, that now has locations across three Australian states, Smith believes the absence of pain and injury is not the equivalent of health. We need to aspire to be more than just injury free, we need to have optimal health.

Jason explores this philosophy in his book ‘Get yourself back in motion,’ and shares with us some of the simple, regular routines we can get into to improve our physical health and live better lives.

What proactive things can people do everyday to keep in good physical condition & prevent injury?

It’s about daily things, it’s not about binge habits. It’s about getting into a rhythm and a routine. Some of the obvious ones that I touch on in the book and that research supports are:

– Physical activity – ensuring you undertake the right amount and type

– Sleep – getting the right sleep rhythm around your lifestyle

– Diet – food intake is a component and portion control/volume is key

– Postural fitness – getting better control around core stability and posture has daily corrections that cumulatively, over a lifetime, have a massive impact

Philosophically, I want people to understand that these things are not that hard.

Stretching can often be overlooked – at all ages – why is it important and what should people do and when?

Stretching is underrated. We think of stretching only if you feel tight or if you have a particular sport of preferred activity that requires a lot of flexibility. I think stretching is for everyone – especially when it comes back to the core belief that postural fitness is one of the least attended to attributes of health and one that causes the most pain and physical injury.

Daily stretching is a wonderful objective. Getting into a rhythm of instinctively lengthening muscles that feel tight is a really good habit to build. Intentionally sitting down for 2 – 3 times per week and stretching the ‘anti-gravity’ muscles is essential. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a whole series of postural inadequacies that you won’t even identify until it’s too late and it will compromise your performance.

What are the things that people need to be conscious of in the workplace to improve their posture?

As a graduate, I used to think that labourers, blue collar workers were my ‘at risk’ population. They’re not. The bigger population at risk are those being sedentary all day long.

We have such a fast-paced world at the moment that stimulates our mind but not our bodies.

Awareness is a great first step because intuitively we think resting our body is good, but too much rest is actually counter-productive.

Secondly, optimal posture in the sitting position is important. Otherwise you are physically assaulting the structures in the body for up to eight hours each day. No one would do it if they understood what exactly was happening.

Thirdly, we need the right environment – the ergonomics of the desk, position of the phone, height of the monitor.

The pattern of work is important. Making sure you intentionally break your sitting as often as 30 minutes. It can be as simple as standing up and sitting down again and allowing your posture to reset.

For more information or to purchase a copy of Jason’s book, Get yourself back in motion, visit backinmotion.com.au

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