So I mentioned in the section on What You Put into Your Body a little about how lifestyle can affect how you eat. But it also affects your wellness on a multitude of levels.
Exercise and movement is extremely important to health and aging well for so many reasons. So, let’s start with movement/exercise/activity.
A variety of movement is best, therefore you will want to incorporate the 4 “S’s” into your week.
- Strength training. You can use your own body, like with planks, squats, and push-ups. Or you can use free weights, kettlebells, bands, or weight machines. Make sure to include the bigger muscles like your thighs, and a variety of muscles. Do these 2-3 x weekly.
- Slow & Steady aerobic exercises, like walking & hiking. A pedometer is very useful for this. Aim for a certain amount of steps daily and try to increase from wherever you are at. Do this at least 3 times weekly.
- Sprinting. This can be done in other ways besides running. Consider things like jumping jacks, actual sprinting on the beach or in a park, jump rope, or jogging in place. Something that will rev your heart rate up for 10 to 30 seconds. Perform this 1 time weekly. Do 3 of these, resting for 30-60 seconds in between.
- Stretches. Warm up first, involve as many muscles as you can in a variety of stretches. Daily stretching is optimal.
I like to combine strength training with aerobic exercises; I do what I call the “Fab 4”, where I dance to 4 songs from a playlist while incorporating some squats, push-ups, lunges, and jumping jacks with each song.
Of course, use care with exercise. If you haven’t been very active, start slow. It goes back to Start*Build*Continue. Start somewhere that you are fairly comfortable, and slowly increase. Check with your doctor first if you are concerned about any medical condition.
Go to this article I wrote for more information:
Also, there are many videos on YouTube that you can watch for instruction and more ideas.
Sleep is important to your health and well-being on so many levels. You should aim for 7-8 hours each night. Some people need more. And at some times you may need more, like if you are under more stress, are fighting off an infection, or slept poorly the night before. Listen to your body and go to bed earlier if it is urging you to do so.
Also, the most beneficial hours for restorative sleep is between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m., so try to get as much sleep as you can in those hours.
Avoid screens at least an hour before bed, as well as bright lights.
Here are 2 articles that I wrote about sleep that have some information that you may find useful:
Sunlight earlier in the day helps with melatonin production at night to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Also, 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure daily is advised for its vitamin D benefits, like immunity boosting, anti-cancer protection, and bone health. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D, by the way. We are indoors too much, and then when we are outdoors, we are covered in sunscreen.
The only thing I like to shade is my face for anti-aging purposes.
So, on a perfect day, I walk barefooted to my mailbox at the end of my driveway, then read the mail while sitting on a large rock in my front yard with my barefeet on damp grass, with as much arm and leg skin exposed as possible. This way I am killing three lifestyle “birds” with one stone: sunlight for circadian rhythm, sun for vitamin D, and grounding.
Grounding is going barefooted on dirt, sand, concrete, and grass. It helps release free radicals and regulates the electrical charges in the body. This can reduce inflammation, reduce pain, increase a sense of well-being, increase sleep quality, and much more. Have you ever noticed how great you feel after a day at the beach with your feet on warm sand or wet sand? This is not a coincidence.
You can learn about this from this article that I wrote:
Sometimes we get all out of whack. We have 4-6 components to our life, depending, and there are times when one category gets all of us. Then we miss out on the rest, to our detriment.
For instance, if you are a workaholic, and you have a family, they suffer, therefore you suffer, because you are not living life well. You also are not taking care of yourself, or paying attention to your spiritual needs, or taking time for friends, or managing your household needs, etc. So, you suffer guilt, you are exhausted, things are a mess,
See the Balanced Life Worksheet and the Instructions with it.
I really believe that hobbies are a part of self-care. We are meant to experience the joy of living and hobbies really can add to that, whether it is playing an instrument, a sport, crafting, writing, baking/cooking, or art, it can all add a rich dimension to your life, be a stress reliever, and get more neurons firing, plus make you a more interesting person. Hobbies help us live a larger life.
Read this article for more on living a full life:
This should be a part of every wellness program somewhere. I believe it is very important in a number of ways. We all need to edit and keep editing our lives until they are manageable and as pleasant as they can be. This actually may not be a priority for you now, but keep this in mind. They are many resources out there to help.
Deep Breathing: Why & How
Deep breathing can really benefit your health.
The following is excerpted from an email newsletter to my subscribers from August 27, 2019:
Dr. Ben Lynch, a naturopathic doctor, claims that the brain of an average male at rest uses 19% of the incoming oxygen and the liver uses 27%. These are the top 2 oxygen users of the body, totaling 46%. Both organs perform critical functions, and they perform better if they receive the oxygen they need.
In fact, Lynch maintains that improper breathing is linked to many things such as negative moods, alcohol abuse, migraines, cravings, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, improper response to stress, and even chronic sinus congestion.
Furthermore, Lynch says that a mentor of his, Dr. Leon Chaitow, claims that if person has unexplained health problems with no specific cause it could be merely from dysfunctional breathing.
Some examples of dysfunctional breathing include: shallow breathing, breathing just from your chest up, unconsciously holding your breath, mouth breathing, hyperventilating, and of course, sleep apnea.
So, what can you do?
- Avoid slouching
- Go for a walk, even if it only down the hall or to another room
- Practice deep breathing from the abdomen up
- Breathe through your nose
- Do yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Pranayama, or Buteyko breathing exercises (Google or YouTube for more info on how to do).
- Do the 444, a breathing exercise that I have advised patients to do for years: breathe in through your nose very slowly to the count of 4 seconds, release breath over 4 seconds, do this 4 times. This will affects the autonomic nervous system (ANS), usually switching one from the flight or fight or sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to the rest & digest or parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is where you want to be most of the time.
- Take 2-4 deep breaths before eating, and then during, in between bites, take a deep breath.
- Do a doorway stretch with hands at about shoulder level on each side, then lean gently in.
- Deal with allergies, sleep apnea and other breathing problems.
- Exercise more, move more.
Well, maybe its a good time now to stand up and go to the door jam to expand your lungs.
This is very key to good health. I have my granola girl tendencies, but I don’t like to go overboard on anything. However, we are exposed to a lot of toxins, and it is just plain prudent to do what we can to limit that exposure when and where we can without going too crazy.
There is so much that can be said, but I just want you to start thinking about what you put in your body, on your body, what you breathe, etc. I try to buy quality grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, the clean 15 fruits and vegetables whenever I can, and I have swapped out most of my cleaning products with safer ones. In addition, I changed all of my makeup and skin care products to safer, cleaner versions such as WellPeople, Mineral Fusion, Ann-Marie, and Beautycounter. In fact, I even became a consultant with Beautycounter so that I could promote safer products.
Read this article for more information:
A Day of Rest
I am a big believer in taking one day off a week to rest, relax, and focus on spiritual things.
You can read more about this in this article that I wrote: