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How your lifestyle choices impact your musculoskeletal health

Your musculoskeletal health refers to structures in the body relating to muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. The health of these structures is influenced by a wide variety of factors, which are broadly classified as either internal or external. Internal health factors include our sex, age, height and a range of genetic factors – these variables cannot be changed. Our external health factors, however, can be changed. These external factors mainly relate to our lifestyle choices, such as exercise, diet, smoking status and alcohol consumption, for example. 

Throughout this blog, I hope to make clear how important our lifestyle choices are and how much of an impact they have on our musculoskeletal health.

**Healthy lifestyle = Healthy life**

The three main healthy lifestyle topics to be discussed:

  1. Living an active lifestyle
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight
  3. To be a non-smoker

Living an active lifestyle:

Living an active lifestyle is incredibly important for our health. Sadly, many people still worry that exercise can be harmful for their joints – it isn’t! Scientific studies evidence that you have less chance of developing osteoarthritis in the hips and knees if you jog regularly than someone who does not. Regular exercise is not only beneficial for your joints but it also severely cuts the risk of many other major diseases – check out the infographic below!

Benefits of Physical Activity

That infographic pretty much speaks for itself, right? So, how much exercise should you be completing? Recent guidelines suggest you should be exercising 150 minutes a week. But, this can be built into your normal day to day activities, so don’t panic. Follow this link for a brilliant video produced by the NHS https://youtu.be/d0pgHKCGqss about how people like yourself fit this 150 minutes into their busy schedules.

The infographic below nicely sums up your physical activity weekly recommendations. Finding time to exercise is possible, no matter how busy your schedule. If you are wanting to up your physical activity but are unsure where or how to start, please feel free to ask your therapist or pilates instructor for some advice, as we are more than happy to help!

How Much Physical Activity

Maintaining a healthy weight:

Likely no surprises here that maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of keeping you fit and healthy. A healthy diet not only provides your musculoskeletal system with the nutrients they need to stay strong, but it also reduces your risk of all sorts of chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease!

So, what are some of the common musculoskeletal health problems that being overweight increase the prevalence of? Lower back pain, hip and knee osteoarthritis are the big ones, but being overweight negatively influences almost all musculoskeletal problems!

With many musculoskeletal health problems, weight loss can produce amazing reductions in pain and aid in the prevention of many chronic musculoskeletal health problems through the combination of regular exercise and a healthier diet to maintain a healthy weight.

The eat well guide diagram below gives you a general idea of the food you should be eating to help you maintain a healthy weight.

If you struggle maintaining a healthy weight, I would highly recommend booking in with one of our expert physiotherapists so we can create an individualised and tailored exercise programme alongside further in depth healthy lifestyle management to help you on your fitness journey.

Eat Well Guide

To be a non-smoker:

We all know that smoking has devastating effects for our health and is a major contributor in diabetes, heart and lung problems. However, it is less well known that there is a strong link between musculoskeletal pain problems and smoking. Research evidence shows that smoking is a risk factor for almost every type of pain, including back pain, arthritis and tendon pain.

If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain, stopping smoking really can make a big difference in reducing your symptoms!

Alongside the above benefit of quitting smoking, the below figure really sheds light on the long-term benefits of quitting smoker, a real eye opener here!

Quitting Smoking Infographic

Finding Support in Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle:

Hopefully some new information for you here which sheds some light on how important our lifestyle choices are for our musculoskeletal health and not only our cardiovascular health. However, we all understand how challenging it can be to change our unhealthy lifestyle habits and choices but investing into your health can truly make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.

Here at Katie Bell Physiotherapy & Wellness we aim to deliver long lasting solutions to optimise our client’s health ans wellness with a personal and interconnected multidisciplinary service. This means that we offer a vast service ranging from physiotherapy, sports massage, nutrition, holistic therapy, pilates, yoga with a frequent range of events and health workshops to ensure that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle alongside the guidance of our experts.

Please feel free to contact our team on 0114 327 2080 or at hello@katiebellphysio.com

Blog post written by one of our in-house Physiotherapists, John Forde.

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