Modern society is obsessed with achieving what is perceived as a "hot" body. Image is everything in our culture. People spend large amounts of time and money going to the gym: it is even considered fashionable to have one's own personal trainer. Some people will go so far as to have surgical procedures to attain their idea of the "perfect" body.
I have to ask, is this kind of thinking realistic? Is our obsession with physical perfection actually benefiting our overall health?
Do you really need the bulky equipment, the personal trainer, and the fancy gym to have a flexible, well-toned body? I suppose that it is a matter of preference, but personally I can’t think of anything more boring than spinning on a stationary bicycle or strolling on the tread mill, glued to the TV. We gain much more benefit from choosing an activity that brings us more in touch with our bodies and our natural environment. By this I mean choosing life-related physical activities and other forms of exercise that we enjoy and that allow us to maintain our health.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for activities that will give you optimal health benefits, both physical and mental.
|Walking along the river by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.|
3. Finding an activity that you ENJOY!
Taking a daily walk is the most important exercise for everyone.
Walking is a great way to achieve your ideal weight, and clear and calm your mind. While walking is great cardiovascular exercise, you also benefit from the rhythmic aspect of walking: when you walk, you balance the right side of your body with the left side of your body (chambers of the heart, kidneys, ovaries, testicles, lungs, intestines, etc). Walking outside also helps you become more aligned with your natural environment.
|A morning stretch at SHI!|
I think that stretching is one of the most over-looked aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Stretching is especially important as we mature. Children are always running around, playing, and engaging themselves. However, as we age, we tend to lead more sedentary lifestyles, whether we are sitting at our desk, driving our cars, or performing repetitive physical tasks. This means that we are not using portions of our body on a daily basis. As with anything that does not get used, the less-used portions of our bodies get tight. While proper diet can do a great deal to keep our minds and bodies relaxed, it is often not enough to keep our tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues loose. This is where regular stretching helps us. Regular stretching will keep the less-used portions of our bodies more flexible and will allow us to maintain good muscle tone, which in turn keeps us feeling and looking youthful! If you are looking for some good stretches, I recommend yin yoga, or other gentle forms of yoga.
Finding an activity that you ENJOY:
|Picking organic veggies!|
|Most of all, have fun and play!|