Do you take your car in for an oil change every 3000 miles…maybe 5000 or more if you have a newer car?
Do you get your tires rotated? Your fluids checked?
If you answered yes to the above questions, do you do the same maintenance on yourself?
It seems in our society that we seem to take better care of our vehicles or personal items more than we do ourselves!
We need to pay attention to our bodies and make sure they are running at optimal performance just like we would our cars so that we are able to last for many “miles” in our lifetime. First, what types of fluids are you putting in your body? Water is the most important fluid that you need! Our bodies consists of approximately 55-60% water and our cells need it to perform at optimal levels just like a car needs its fluids checked to run efficiently! So why is water so beneficial?
Well let me tell you some of the benefits of water and the importance of proper hydration:
- It helps to transport nutrients throughout the body (the ones that you get from eating your fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of meat)!
- Helps to flush out toxins and rid the body of waste.
- Helps regulate body temperature
- Lubricates bones and joints
- Helps the heart pump blood more easily, which helps it get to the muscles to work more efficiently.
- Helps to improve blood pressure.
Some of your medicines may cause dehydration so it is important to get a good amount of water daily. To tell if you are properly hydrated, the color of your urine should be pale yellow or clear.
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination or dark colored urine.
Here are some tips for getting water into your daily routine:
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up!
- Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
- Add fresh fruits such as strawberries to give it a natural flavor.
- Drink a glass of water with your medicine!
This is one of the main reasons when something is going on with a fighter, I ask, how much water have you had today?
Just like proper water intake, our diets need to include lots of colors. Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate. Eat leaner cuts of meat and try to get organic if possible! If you are lucky enough to have local farmers markets in our are, grab the freshest choices possible. If you need more guidance with your menu, seek out a registered dietician to help you maximize your nutrients and help you to best optimize timing of your medication with protein sources.
So now that we have covered hydration and diet, we must include our 6,000-mile check-up, meaning our doctors visits.
It is important living with Parkinson’s disease to have your 3-6 month follow-ups with a Movement Disorder Specialist. This is where you let them know what is and what is not working, any concerns you may have such as sleeping habits, depression, slowness, etc. They also do their series of tests to see if have shown signs of progression of the disease or if you are maintaining. If there is something specific that you need to work on, they will refer you to the appropriate discipline such as physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy.
Now it is also important to have your 3-month follow ups with your rehab team. This is where you get your baseline testing and specific exercise program for you! Just like your car, you need to keep on the maintenance to help keep yourself running at your best! Once you completed your time with them, it is important for you to do your homework that is specifically designed for you!
In addition to your specific home exercise program, continue with your group exercise classes, go for walks in the park or your neighborhood and “smell” the roses. Find activities that you enjoy to help keep you functional and operating at your best version of you!
Another important factor is sleep!! I don’t know about you, but I need a good 7-8 hours of good sleep to feel like I am well rested. Sometimes this is hard with Parkinson’s because of bathroom trips, restless legs, hard to move, or your significant other is snoring loudly! Try changing up your routine such as getting in bed a little earlier to possibly fall asleep sooner or put on soothing sounds like the ocean waves to help get you in that peaceful sleep. Different things and strategies work differently for everyone, so find the one that works best for you! If you try different approaches and nothing seems to work, talk to your doctor about it.
Ahh…and stress! Who doesn’t have stress in their lives? How do you handle stress and/or anxiety? Sure, it is easy to take a pill and relieve those symptoms, but the best approach is first taking those deeps breaths, pause and step back and ask yourself, how can I change this to be better? Other options may include getting a massage, taking a walk, listen to some music, or simply BE LOUD (within due reason..this doesn’t include yelling at your loved ones!) and let those frustrations out!
Now that you have some information for optimizing your best self, start taking care of you! You are worth it and you will feel better!
**This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to take place of the advice of your medical professional. Please refer any concerns to your doctor! **