How many times do you bend, stretch, lift, sit, stay up late, cut your exercise routine short (or skip it altogether), or worry in the average week?

What a ridiculous question! Of course no one keeps track of such details. But the fact is, many uncomfortable, limiting health conditions are less about one single factor than we realize. Much of "how we feel" comes from the accumulated effect of thousands of small actions (or inactions).

Now, at the threshold of a new year and a new perspective, get started moving in the direction of better wellness. Begin with these simple tips.

In the workplace:
- Sit with an upright posture with a good chair designed for back support.
- Get up and stretch on a regular basis. Better yet, take a walk.
- Especially for men: Take your wallet out of your pocket before sitting down. That little bit of extra height in one back pants pocket can throw off alignment.

At the gym:
- If you haven't already, begin a regular exercise routine that includes cardio, weights, and flexibility.
- Check your fitness routine. Does it include proper strengthening of the core abdominals? These muscles help support the back, a must for pain-free living.
- No matter what activities you choose, be sure to alert your instructor to any health issues before your start. Modifications in the routine can both increase your strength and movement in problem areas and help you avoid new injuries.

At home:
- Are you enjoying your life? Take time for you! This is not a luxury but a wellness must: Keeping stress from building up is a huge step toward better health.
- Get proper rest. That means sleeping on a mattress that is neither too worn nor too soft to support you properly. Sleep is essential for repairing negative effects on body tissue as well as maintaining sharp thinking, focus, and memory. And if you are dealing with a chronic condition, remember: Everything hurts more when you are tired.
- Side-sleeping with a pillow between the knees can reduce back, hip, or knee pain and stiffness.
- Lift heavy objects and children safely by bending your knees, not twisting your back.
- Avoid taking pills for minor pain relief. Instead, try using heat or cold, or alternate between them. Over-the-counter heat wraps, icy hot gels, etc. can help make this simple. Read instructions carefully. And see your doctor for pain that doesn't respond to these treatments.
- Lose weight if necessary. When there is too much weight around the middle, the body's center of gravity is shifted forward, which can place strain on back muscles.

- Leave heavy bags behind at home rather than weighing yourself down. If you don't need it, don't carry it.
- Find ways to "change the channel" when anxiety mounts. Discover the activities and actions that reduce your stress level, and try to stay positive. My 3Rs technique is a great way to start the de-stressing process.
- Play music. It doesn't matter what type as long as it's something you enjoy. Research has shown that music reduces anxiety and depression.

If indeed "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"--and it is!--then you have much to gain from taking a few small measures to protect your body from everyday stresses. Act now. You, and your continued wellness in the new year, are worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.