So it is now Spring.
The winter holidays have passed, New Year’s Resolutions possibly have come and gone, and the days are getting longer. It is now time to dive into really doing some positive actions for our hearts and minds.
Let’s begin with exercise. Unless you have severe COPD, or another serious medical hindrance, OVERWHELMING literature points to the fact that exercise irrefutably aids in overall mind and body health. Why then, can it be so hard to establish exercise habits? For starters, we are all very busy these days. The irony, however, is that regular exercise increases energy and mental clarity, therefore allowing us to be more productive and efficient. There goes that excuse. My first rule of exercise is that IT MUST BE ENJOYABLE, or most likely you will not continue with it. To help in this arena, join us with some friends and find something you all enjoy. A nice walk outside with good conversation goes quickly. Here you have taken care of two birds with one stone. Good socialization increases our levels of oxytocin-a powerful mood elevator, and you will get the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Sustained aerobic exercises helps to neutralize the effects of too many stress related hormones. If the winter has you down, find a local gym or class. The structure of a class and well as the camaraderie can make exercise fun and healthful. Another carrot is to hire a personal trainer to get you set up on a program. These can be individual, or with a small group. The smaller groups are more cost effective and can be even more fun. Find some pals and get a trainer.
GOALS: This is always helpful. Be realistic and choose something that is attainable. Goals can make an existing program more fun, or give you a little extra push to start a program. There are local events that are fun for all levels. Chicks on Sticks is a ski EVENT-not race-that celebrates women on skis. Sorry guys this one is not for you. It is an 8km event that can be done at your own pace. It is also a fund raiser for breast cancer. Last year there were about 150 participants of all ages and skill levels. In the spring in Wenatchee, there is an Apple Blossom run and walk. These events are plentiful in our area. Maybe hiking up to Sauer Mountain this spring is your goal. Find something that you like and go for it.
Now for the mind. Exercise is an excellent stimulant for our minds. It is important in our chaotic lives to add balance with an activity that mellows. Yoga, meditation, quiet time with deep breathing are all good tools.
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful area, so taking the time to enjoy the vistas and breathe the air may be all it takes to mellow out your system. Find what feeds your soul-and hopefully you know what that is-and carve a little time for that activity. That too, will help keep your mind and body in balance. Good Luck and enjoy our lengthening days.