Don’t Forget Your Health: Mental and Physical

When we are young, we believe we can live forever. I don’t think we place a great emphasis on mortality in our early years. Today I think it’s much easier to eat out than spend time cooking for oneself- or in my case a family. You can develop poor eating habits if you aren’t careful. I want people to think about not just their physical health but also their mental health. There are various tools you can use at your disposal to improve your chances of a strong mind as well as a strong body for vitality.

Are you familiar with deep breathing or visualization to improve your mental acuity? You can also practice yoga and meditation techniques to keep the body quieter and improve your flexibility. In terms of your physical health, many experts and doctors agree that at a minimum a mixture of aerobic and strength training 4 to 5 times a week will keep the blood flowing, the muscles working and your metabolism at a higher burn rate for fuel. The suggested minimum for aerobic exercise would be 20-30 minutes a day, which can be anything from jogging, running, biking, walking, and so forth.

The favorite line we tell ourselves when it comes to our lack of mental and physical exercise is: “I don’t have enough time in my day to do this.” Baloney! We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can all figure out a way to see our favorite television shows, go to sporting events, have meals out with family and friends, and so forth. If you schedule it on your to do list, this aspect of your life will also become second nature. If you know ahead of time you can gain another 10, 20 or 30 years of life by putting in the daily effort now, wouldn’t you go for it?

Even in the cold weather months, I know of writers like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Zig Ziglar who still get their exercise in- be it walking up and down flights of stairs for 30 minutes at a time or even within their hotel rooms. Put yourself on a 30 day exercise diet- journal your experiences by day and partner up with a friend or co-worker to make the shared journey better for both of you.

Mentally I practice deep breathing and visualization techniques at a minimum of three times a day- once before I go to sleep, once when I awake and again at another point in the day (usually at work ). I will spontaneously get up and do 100 jumping jacks in my work area to get the blood flowing. I take the stairs whenever possible versus always riding the elevator- even where my car is parked on the third floor, I would rather walk up the stairs for the extra added health benefit.

I know I need to improve my total well being if I want to live the longest life possible. I’ve been slowly changing my eating habits at work- introducing more nuts, fruits and whole grains into my diet. It’s tough because at my time of day I have to bring in items to eat- and most pre-packaged food has too much fat and sodium to truly be processed in the body for fuel. Don’t be afraid to ask your primary care physician for advice on this topic. At my last physical I asked specific questions based on my daily schedule- and I took his thoughts into consideration.

If you fall off the health wagon for one day or a couple of days- realize you can get right back on. Nobody’s perfect- so don’t believe you have to be extremely rigid in terms of what you do and what will work best for you. I remember watching a video from personal development and fitness/ nutrition expert Christopher Guerriero where he talks about having numerous legs under a table and that your success depends on the number of different legs at your disposal. In other words, the number of different types of mental and physical exercise you can use, the more likely it will be for you to achieve your goals. If you only have one leg to stand on (running for instance), and you have a leg injury, how likely will you be to achieve your physical fitness goals?

Apply the Nike principle: just do it! Consult your doctor and make a plan for both areas of your life- and good luck to your success!

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