Four Tips for a Better You

Maybe some of you have been wondering when the husband in this relationship is going to chime in. Well, here it is, from me, Seth. You may be able to tell that my wife is the writer in the family and I’m ok with that. But every once in a while I’ll throw in my 2 cents’ worth and today is one of those days.

I’ve always been athletic, so fitness has always been a part of my life. Growing up, moving was what made me happy, whether it was being outside running around the woods or playing organized sports like basketball, baseball, football, and track. As I’ve gotten older, my body has realized the physical impact that playing all of those sports has had in positive and negative ways. For example, my knees are not in that great a shape and I had a spine injury when I was young. Both of those things I deal with every day but I have learned to work around them to still keep my body healthy and fit. The positive aspect is that movement is still my way of being happy.

I can’t always get in as much physical exercise as I would like, but there are four things I do on a regular basis that help me to achieve and maintain health and fitness in my every day life. You may be surprised at how easy these can be; you can do these too! Ready for these life-changing tips? Here we go . . .

Breathe

What do you mean, breathe? Don’t we all? What I mean is several times a day, take a few moments and stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths, focusing specifically on your breathing. Concentrating on filling your lungs completely and then slowly letting the air out. There are physical as well as mental benefits to doing this. Breathing deeply realigns your body, and replenishes oxygen to your brain. In addition, it releases tension in the muscles and can help you to sit or stand straighter. It can also help you take a step back from what you are doing and clear your mind. Taking a “breathing break” every few hours can help renew your energy and give you renewed focus.

Talk

Who would have thought talking would be healthy? Well, it is. Here’s how. I like to talk to other people. My wife is sometimes horrified at how I just start conversations with complete strangers, and often asks me if I know the person I was just talking to. My answer is usually no, but I like to have friendly conversation. I can always learn something from talking to people, and I find it refreshing to engage people in conversations where they wouldn’t expect it – the grocery store cashier, someone at a bank, the server at a restaurant, people that aren’t used to being engaged in conversation beyond their profession. One of the best ways to have conversation with people is over a great meal. If you engage in conversation during a meal, you tend to eat less as well – another healthy aspect of good conversation!

Laugh

Laughing is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and soul. Whether it’s laughing at yourself or laughing with others, enjoying yourself in a way that promotes health is one of the best things you can do! Laughing releases endorphins in your brain – the “feel good” chemical! It is also a great abs workout. Laughing increases the levels of oxygen in your system, and helps relax tense muscles. It is one of the most natural ways to feel good and to engage your whole body.

Move

Many people find exercise difficult or tiring, time consuming, boring, or too much out of their routine to be worth it. But exercise doesn’t have to always take place at a gym, nor walking, running, biking, etc. You can make regular movements that you do every day into mini exercises! The idea is to focus on the proper and most efficient way to move and find ways to increase blood flow and heart rate, even if just for a few minutes. This means we have to be conscious of every movement our muscles make, and focus on those movements. When walking from one place of your office to another, engage your quads and hamstrings, push off with your toes, flex your calves. When sitting at a desk, push your shoulders back, bringing your shoulder blades close to your spine, drop your shoulders away from your ears, and focus on contracting your abs. You can also regularly stretch your neck and shoulder muscles by rotating your head slowly. While picking up that cup of coffee, flex your bicep and hold for a few seconds, and alternate arms. Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, it can simply be stretching a few times a day and making conscious decisions to take a few extra steps every day; maybe take the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking an extra lap around the building when coming back from the restroom. For many people, these small changes can make significant improvements toward better health.

If you haven’t figured it out already, a better ME means a better US. When you get on an airplane, one of the safety procedures explained is that in case of oxygen loss in the cabin, you are to put YOUR mask on FIRST before assisting others. If you are not in good condition physically, mentally, and spiritually, you won’t be able to be as good in a relationship either. You may be tempted to be swayed by what others tell you or a new fad diet or exercise. But at the end of the day, the point is to listen to your own mind and body and do what works for YOU. I encourage you and challenge you to incorporate these four things into your daily life. Your partner will thank you for it too!

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