Physical therapists say you're hurting your body if you aren't doing any of these simple things

Plus, helpful tools to help you achieve them.

ByAlexandra Elizabeth
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You only have one body, so it makes sense that treating it well should be a top priority. Unfortunately, though, there are tons of things that can take a toll on well-being. But fear not, because several physical therapists have lent their expertise, with tips that can help keep you in good repair. Whether you’re in the market for some high-quality stretching equipment, tools to help you tackle nutrition, or gadgets for better sleep, you’ll find physical therapist-approved guidance and recommendations right this way. Your body will thank you.


Use other tools — like a cooling blanket — to stay comfy all night long

Round out your sleep-enhancing routine with this cooling blanket that helps ensure things stay comfortable at night for better rest. Made from naturally temperature-regulating bamboo, this blanket is super breathable to ensure you don’t overheat. It’s also moisture wicking, to prevent nighttime clamminess that might keep you up. Snag it in a range of size dimensions and colors.

  • Available colors: 8


Prevent strain at night by encouraging good sleeping posture

Amanda Martin, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers — Bristol, believes that posture matters all the time — even when you’re sleeping — to help reduce the risk of strain. To that end, this knee pillow is a great option to promote proper spinal alignment when you’re catching zzz’s. This pillow is made with supportive memory foam, with a unique contoured shape that fits perfectly in between your legs. The strap ensures it won’t slip out of place at night.


Dedicate yourself to a strength-training routine at least twice a week

“My other non-negotiable with improving your health is to engage in strength training at minimum two days per week,” Dr. Uetz says. You can work on meeting that goal with tools like this push-up board. Suitable for varying shoulder widths, this board has adjustable handles that can be placed in specific slots to help target different muscle groups, like pecs, abs, and arms. The handles also help promote ideal spinal alignment as you work out.

  • Available colors: 3


Stay on top of your nutrition with adequate protein, carbs & fats

Landon Uetz, DPT, virtual physical therapist and expert pickleball instructor at TeachMe.To, believes in the power of nutrition, and this meal planner journal can help. He explains that protein “helps build muscle mass and aids recovery,” healthy fats like avocado and peanut butter “can help you feel full and assist in blood sugars and hormones,” and carbs like berries and whole grain breads “provide us with energy.” There are places to log your intake of all three in this journal, as well as space for goals, grocery lists, and more. It boasts a chic leather cover in a range of shades.

  • Available colors: 10


Don’t forget about targeting your core, legs & glutes

Ensure you don’t neglect your core in your strength-training regimen with the help of these dual-sided sliders. With a different texture on each side, they’re designed to glide easily across a variety of surfaces, including hardwood, tile, carpet, and more. Besides your core, they also help you achieve low-impact workouts for your legs and glutes. And because they’re just 7 inches in diameter, they’re incredibly portable and easy to store.

  • Available colors: 5


Stretch daily to counteract stiffness & sedentary work

Arpan Hundal, licensed physiotherapist at Proremedy Physiotherapy Clinic in Mississauga, Ontario, extols the benefits of stretching, and this stretch strap can help you unlock them. “A daily routine of simple stretches has helped several of my clients reduce stiffness, especially those with sedentary lifestyles. It's amazing how a few minutes dedicated to stretching can improve overall well-being,” Hundal says. To help, this strap is made from durable nylon and has 10 individual loops for achieving a variety of stretching positions in a range of challenge levels. It even comes with a useful guidebook to help illustrate some common techniques, so you get the most benefit from it.


Use a foam roller to help release muscle tension

Hundal is also a proponent of foam rollers like this one. “I introduced foam rolling to some of my clients who were dealing with muscle tightness, and they've seen fantastic results,” he says. This model is super lightweight, weighing less than a pound. It also features a textured finish for lots of grip, resulting in a satisfying stretch and release for muscles. Use it before workouts to loosen up, or after for a soothing massage that speeds recovery.

  • Available colors: 6


Drink lots of water to promote energy & prevent muscle strain

“Dehydration can lead to cramps and fatigue,” Hundal explains. “Guiding my clients to drink enough water throughout the day has enhanced their energy levels and helped avoid unnecessary muscle strain,” he continues. This 1-gallon bottle can help you stay on top of your water intake, and features helpful time and measurement markings along the side, as well as motivational phrases to keep you on track. It even comes with a drinking straw attachment for easy sipping.

  • Available colors: 36


Make sure your feet are properly supported

Hundal knows firsthand that a simple change in footwear can make a world of difference when it comes to alleviating foot discomfort. “Now, I always remind people to wear shoes that provide proper support, particularly if they're on their feet all day,” he says. If you already have shoes you love — or don’t want to spend money on a new pair — these orthotic insoles feature plenty of arch support, plus layers of cushy silicone to help with shock absorption. They help align your foot position for more stable walking and running, too.


Avoid overreaching & be conscious while lifting

Knowing your limits can also be a great way to be kind to an achey body. “Teaching clients to be conscious of their movements, like lifting objects correctly and not overreaching, has prevented unnecessary injuries. It's a simple change in awareness that can have a lasting impact,” Hundal explains.


Use items like a step stool to access high-up items

Following Hundal’s advice, this step stool can help keep you from overreaching when you’re struggling to reach items on the top shelf. The nonslip dots help keep feet planted in place, and the whole thing folds up for storage. There’s even a carrying handle for maximum portability.

  • Available colors: 7


And a pick-up tool to help you reach items on the floor

If Hundal’s advice to avoid overreaching resonated with you, you’ll want to score this magnetic pick-up tool as well. Instead of bending over unnecessarily and perhaps causing strain, you can use this tool that extends from 7 to 30 inches long to grab metal objects from the floor (think: coins, hardware, jewelry). It’s easy to grip, too, since the handle comes reinforced with cushioning.


Use resistance bands to improve flexibility & strength

Vivian Yu, physical therapist, personal trainer, and founder of Gym Near Me in Australia, is an advocate for resistance bands, “which can be used for a variety of exercises to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.” She adds, “It's especially important to stretch both before and after workouts to prepare your muscles for exercise and help them recover...” This particular set comes with five bands in varying levels of tension, allowing you to choose from 10 pounds all the way up to 175 pounds of resistance.


Prevent strain with regular workouts

“Regular physical activity can help strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility, which can help prevent injuries,” Yu explains. To do just that — and shake up your workouts — you can grab this Pilates bar kit. The stainless steel bar comes with a variety of resistance bands with foot and arm holds that help you execute tons of maneuvers with ease. It even comes with a convenient storage bag, too.


Zero in on strength training, flexibility & cardio

“Aim for a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises,” Yu counsels, and these yoga cards are sure to help you achieve at least two of those goals. The pack comes with 70 different yoga poses, so you can challenge yourself and keep things fresh. The large illustrations ensure you’ll have an ideal reference for proper form, too. Better yet, the cards are waterproof, so they’ll stand up to sweaty workouts.


Make your work setup more ergonomic to promote good posture

According to Yu, “Maintaining good posture, especially when sitting for long periods, can help prevent back pain and other musculoskeletal problems.” She continues, “Make sure your workstation is ergonomically set up to support good posture.” In other words, reach for this laptop stand, stat. It raises your computer to eye level to help prevent neck strain and slouching. Made from sturdy aluminum, this stand features grippy rubber pads to keep your computer in place. Its hollow design ensures air can circulate underneath your machine to prevent overheating, too.

  • Available colors: 8


Use a footrest to support your lower body

Your under-desk area is just as important as your desk setup, and this footrest proves it — especially since Yu advises ergonomically tailoring your workstation to support good posture. This height-adjustable footrest will help relieve pressure and align your hips, legs, and spine, so you can treat your body well as you work. And since the top is made from cushy, supportive foam, it’s super cozy.

  • Available colors: 3


Support your lower back with a lumbar cushion when you’re sitting

Dr. Martin says, “To avoid pain from poor posture, you can simply correct your posture, which may involve the use of a lumbar or cervical support.” This lumbar pillow is made from contoured memory foam that’s designed to support your lower back for proper alignment. The straps make it easy to attach to any chair, and the mesh cover helps enhance breathability. Another tip for posture adjustment, courtesy of Dr. Martin? Change up your position frequently throughout the day.


Give your neck some support with a cervical pillow

If you’re looking to follow Dr. Martin’s guidance and add some cervical support to your day to day routine, snag this neck pillow. Made from memory foam, this pillow attaches easily behind any headrest, with adjustable straps to cradle your cervical spine for proper alignment. And since it weighs less than a pound, it’s easy to travel with.

  • Available colors: 2


Use heat & cold therapy to soothe your body & promote recovery

According to Dr. Martin, there are tons of benefits to ice and heat, and these therapy packs do both: “Heat can be used to improve blood circulation [...] and decrease nerve excitability in the injured area.” As for ice, she says, “It causes constriction of blood vessels, decreases inflammation, and reduces the rate at which nerves are sending their signals.” This pack boasts an extra-large 14-by-11-inch size, and can be used for cold therapy by putting in the freezer, and heat therapy by warming it in the microwave.


Get enough sleep to help relieve feelings of discomfort & strain

“Sleep has been found to be linked to pain, so it’s important to get an adequate amount of sleep each night to aid in alleviation of pain,” Dr. Martin says, explaining that the worse you sleep, the more difficulty you may experience when it comes to recovery. So make catching some shut-eye just a bit easier with this white noise sound machine. It comes with six sounds to lull you to sleep, including ocean, brook, thunder, and traditional white noise. It’s compact enough to travel with, and even has a convenient timer setting.

  • Available colors: 2


Shoot for at least 7 hours of sleep every night

Dr. Martin adds that sleeping seven hours a night can help when it comes to easing strain and discomfort. Help block out light, so you can reap those sleep benefits with this set of two eye masks. These masks are made from super smooth mulberry silk, which is naturally temperature regulating, and they feature adjustable straps, so you can get a perfect fit and score those seven hours.

  • Available colors: 5


Promote overall mental & physical health by increasing strength

According to Dr. Uetz, “Improving your strength has almost no drawbacks, yet it can reduce your chances of chronic illness, manage your weight, improve your mental, cardiovascular, and bone health, and maximize your future independence.” With that in mind, you might want to pick up these neoprene dumbbells and start reaping the benefits. These dumbells come in weights ranging from 1 pound all the way up to 32 pounds, and are covered in a nonslip coating. Thanks to the hexagonal shape, they won’t roll around when you set them down.

  • Available weights: 1 — 32 pounds


Target your abs with a compact roller

If you’re ready for a challenge, try this ab roller wheel that’s sure to enhance your strength training regimen. The rubber-coated handles make it easy to grip, while the wheel itself is constructed to roll on a variety of surfaces, from hardwood to carpet. And not only does it help build core muscles, but it can help improve balance, too.


Increase balance & overall muscle power with an exercise ball

Whether you want to prop yourself up for lunges or balance for rows, this exercise ball has a spot in your workout tool collection. It’s made from a durable PVC material, and even comes with a pump for easy top-offs when it needs more air. It’s also highly rated, with over 44,000 reviewers weighing in to give it an impressive 4.6-star overall rating.

  • Available colors: 11


Use a step platform for cardio sessions

“Walking and steps are great for cardio,” Dr. Uetz says. If you don’t have stairs at home, though, he recommends a step aerobic platform, which can be had for a super reasonable price. Available in three different sizes, this platform is great as a tool for cardio and also as a stable base for strength-training exercises. You can even adjust the height of the platform from 4 to 6 inches if you’re looking for extra burn.


Lift heavy items correctly to prevent strain

“You can do so much damage to your spine by lifting incorrectly,” Dr. Uetz says. If you’re planning to move large items like sofas and dressers, use these furniture sliders instead instead of struggling (and risking strain). The set comes with eight pads that go underneath furniture legs in order to help your items slide across the floor. Use the fuzzy “sock” side to slide things across hardwood without causing damage, and the smooth, slippery side to move things easily across carpet.