The World Health Day on April 7 provides a good opportunity to stop and really think about health for a while. Are there some things we could do better?
One has regular and effective fitness routines but no time for relaxation. Another is in a continuous Zen state of mind but eats far too few fruit and vegetables. As we try to care for everything and everyone simultaneously in life, our own health and well-being may be slid to the background.
At UPM we continue our efforts to improve the health of our employees. Health is part of UPM throughout the year. “Just like last year we have a different health-related theme in action every three months this year. The themes have been for example the importance of sleep, sports, the health of the brain and a good diet. The themes help us focus on health from many different points of view and the related projects help us put theory into action,” explains Tero Kemppainen, Chief Physician at UPM. We put together three expert tips to help you to take care of your health this spring. Choose the one that is most relevant to your well-being right now and be well!
1. Be patient as you start a new sport
Springtime always inspires you to do sports. But do you get achy all over after a good run? Give yourself more time and don’t over-do it. Let your body adjust to the changes that the new sport demands.
“Muscular strength grows quite quickly after you re-start regular exercising. However, joints and tendons take quite a bit longer to get used to it. When the amount of exercise increases rapidly, the repetitive strain injuries along with pain are common”, explains Petteri Kousa, a specialist in orthopedics and traumatology at Dextra Hospital.
Healing from these injuries can take a long time, even six months. Therefore it is recommended that you start exercising slowly and monitor even the smallest signs of over-doing it. Patience is also needed in developing a new training routine: research indicates that it takes five weeks to make exercising a habit!
2. Improve your sense of balance by walking in the forest
How about improving your sense of balance and observing the spring awakening of the nature at the same time? Maintaining and developing our balance pays off. “The best way is to challenge it. Excellent ways to do this are skiing, gymnastics, walking in the woods and running, for example. Diverse exercise is also good for our health,” says occupational physiotherapist Lauri Raivo.
You can also develop your balance with drills. Try standing on a balance board when working, or stand on one foot when brushing your teeth. You can up the challenge by closing one eye or tilting your head.
3. Remember work safety also at home
Spring is a great time for do-it-yourself projects. But are you paying enough attention to work safety at home?
“Home is a familiar place that feels safe. This generally leads to a more relaxed attitude compared to a workplace. You don’t think about risks or plan your chores as carefully as you would at work. Often an accident or a close call makes us think about secure ways of working at home,” says Toni Hyytinen, a researcher from Tampere University of Technology, specialized in free-time accidents.
So you might want to think twice about how you adjust the ladder before you cutting those apple tree branches!
These three tips and many other small choices will help you to look after your health today and in the future. Everyone will find the most suitable way of taking care of their well-being if they just consider their health for a moment or two. Do it today!