Health Tip #78

Health Tip 78

Health Tip #23

health-tip-23

It was inevitable.  Sooner or later I was going to mention exercise.

Move Like Our Ancestors Did

If one of our ancestors, who lived off the land, before the time of all our modern technologies and conveniences, heard us talking about exercise, they’d think we were crazy.  They didn’t have to exercise.  Daily life was exercise. They had to use their bodies a lot more. In our modern exercises, we should try to replicate some of the hard work that constituted exercise for them.

Keep Moving

They had to move a lot.  There wasn’t a lot of time for just sitting down.  In our modern times, sitting has been labeled the new smoking for its negative health effects.  So, we too, should aim to keep active.  Park the car further away from the store front and walk.  Leave the car and walk or ride your bike.  Take the stairs.  Go for a walk on your lunch break.  Use a stand up desk at work.  Keep moving!  We should aim to sit as little as possible during the day.

Move Like Your Life Depended On It

The other thing our ancestors had to do was to move quickly in short intense bursts, often to avoid unwanted consequences.  Short burst of intense activity should also be included in our exercise regime.  If we’re taking a walk, we may speed walk as fast as we can for short bursts, then return to our regular pace.  If we’re jogging, we may sprint for short bursts.  It is suggested that we get out and get our heart pumping in this way 2 1/2 hours/week.

Heavy Lifting

Yet another thing our ancestors had to do was move heavy objects from place to place.  Resistance and weight training are excellent ways to replicate this work.  We can even use our own body weight for these exercises, as in push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges… We don’t need expensive equipment.  Yoga and Pilates are great weight bearing exercises as well.  Weight bearing exercise is important as we age for maintenance of strong bones.   It is recommended that this kind of exercise should be done 2 times/week.

Stay Quick and Nimble

Our ancestors were agile.  As we age we tend to lose our agility.  Doing agility exercises helps keep us young.  Do you ever watch kids on the playground?  Try adding in agility exercises.  Go through an agility course at a local park, try out a local adventure park or indoor climbing gym.  Take a dance fitness class.  Or, the next time you take a walk in the park, don’t just walk, play.  How would a child walk through the same park?  Would they just walk or would they jump off stumps and find wobbly logs to balance on?

Have Fun!

Most of all, make exercise fun and enjoyable.  Do a form of exercise that you love doing, not something that you have to force yourself to do, and do it consistently.

Health Tip #8

health-tip-8

We hear the word stress thrown out there so often that it has kind of become meaningless.

What is the big deal about stress anyway?  The big deal about stress is that  it is the underlying factor in every disease you can think of.  We all have a weak link in our chain and under stress, that’s where the chain is going to break.  That’s where we are going to see ill health show up.  Stress can turn on disease promoting genes that might have otherwise remained switched off.  That’s a pretty big deal.

So what is stress anyway?  Stress is wanting reality to be different than it is.  Stress is fear  and lack of trust in our future. Stress is perceiving our situation in a negative way.

Stress can make us crave sugar and processed carbs to sooth our emotions and as a quick source of fuel for our muscles so we can  fight or take flight.  Stress raises our blood pressure.  Stress shuts down our digestive system making it hard for us to extract nutrients from our food and can lead to irritable bowl syndrome and other digestive disorders.

So what can we do about it?  Relax.  Find a few moments each day to unplug and slow down.  Activities that help us to relax and de-stress are ones that encourage deep, rhythmic breathing.  Deep breathing sends the message to your body that you are safe.  Some of these activities include meditation, guided meditation or visualization work, yoga, and tai chi.  Writing in a gratitude journal also affords us that little break to slow down and switch gears.  I enjoy little reminders throughout the day to stop and take a conscious, deep, cleansing breath.  I sign up for positive reminders that remind me stop, relax and refocus.  I also have a mindfulness chime app on my phone that I can set to go off periodically throughout the day as a reminder to take that much needed breath.  And finally as pictured above, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress is to take a walk in nature…And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul!