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In the last post, I wrote about why you need to write your own obituary to create your own guide to mindful living. As in our analogy of building a house, this is the blueprint for your life. As for the foundation, my belief in God and my values are my foundation (I hope my Life Manifesto inspires you to find yours). Now, I am setting up the pillars for living life well by creating a guide to take care of the body, mind and soul.
Today, we’re going to focus on taking care of the body.
We have one life and one body to live it. Healthy body is the cornerstone of living life well.
It is concerning that with all the advancement in science and technology, our society as a whole is less healthy than our ancestors. Obesity, allergy, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, heart attacks and cancer are common nowadays.
What causes this health crisis? What can we do to take care of our body so we can thrive in life?
The Health Crisis
In an effort to balance our work, home and plethora of social activities, we often resort to drive-thru meals in the morning and frozen packaged dinners that we eat mindlessly in front of the TV after a long, hard day at work.
Our work has evolved so much due to the advancement of technology. On the flip side, it has become much more sedentary. If you have an office job, you spend 8 hours a day on a desk working in front of computer. Our body is designed for movement. We are not meant to be sitting at one position for such an extended period. No wonder we complain about back pain, varicose pain, eye fatigue, headache, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
We are also exposed to toxic fumes and radiation from cars, computers, cellphones you carry in your pocket, etc. Even in our own home, we are prone to toxic exposures from the detergents, cleaning products, and cosmetics that we use on our daily life.
So, what can we do to take care of the body?
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep is the time for our body to repair itself. Yet, it is the first one we often sacrifice to finish our seemingly endless to do list.
Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. We tend to become hungrier when we don’t get the proper amount of sleep. Whenever I burn the midnight oil, the first thing that I get in the morning is Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino. (No more explanation needed.)
Chronic lack of sleep causes dry skin, sunken eyes and dark circles underneath our eyes. Internally, it can lead to dry, sunken and barren reproductive system. Do you know that? This last tidbit is news to me.
Apparently, when our internal system is out of whack, it shuts down the least useful organs for the body’s survival. And guess what the first one in line is – our reproductive system.
Well, this alone will make me think twice the next time I feel like powering through the night.
2. Get your daily dose of sunshine
Sunshine activates your body’s ability to generate vitamin D. It increases hormone production and blood flow throughout the body. Blood flow brings oxygen to the brain and generates sense of well-being.
You only need 15 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure to benefit from this. Do it in the morning before 9 AM. After that time, the sun rays become more harmful than they are beneficial from unprotected, extended exposure.
3. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
You can take a walk, run, bike, go to the gym or whatever you fancy. Make it a routine. So, you don’t have to question yourself if you should do it or not.
4. Take the 10,000 steps in a day challenge
10,000 steps are like walking for 5 miles. Sedentary person probably makes only about 1000-3000 steps in a day. Here are some suggestions to make it happen:
- Park at the farthest parking spot available
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get up to change the TV channel
- Take a walk daily before or after work
- Clip on the Pedometer to track your progress
- If you need an accountability partner, there’s an app for that.
If you are reading this, I am challenging you to do it.
5. Go hiking on the weekends
I love going on a full day hike on the weekend. Hiking can teach you lots of life lessons. It also builds your resiliency, physical and emotional endurance.
I always struggle in the beginning of the hike and on an incline. But, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on your breathing, you will get up there. The gorgeous view at the top of the mountain makes it all worthwhile. Plus, you get to journey with like-minded people. I find hikers are the most straightforward, enjoyable people to be around with. (Shout out to all my hiking peeps!!)
If you are not in a physical condition to be hiking up a mountain, you still can benefit from going into the forest.
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term for “forest bathing.” In this case, you can go into the forest (or any natural area) and walk around in a relaxed way, breathing deeply and simply taking in the forest atmosphere. There is no strenuous physical exertion involved.
It is scientifically proven to boost immune system, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, accelerate recovery from surgery or illness, increase energy level, and improve sleep.
Learn more about it at shinrin-yoku.org.
7. Try yoga
There are many different styles of yoga. I am sure you can find one that fits your style. Yoga is not about being able to bend yourself into a pretzel knot. It’s about listening to your body. How far should you stretch? What does your body is telling you? Yoga also doubles as a training of the mind. It helps you focus on the here and now.
8. Try zumba
If you’re more into the dance kind of exercise, try zumba. Even if you’re not very coordinated (like me!), the upbeat music, moving your body, and enjoying yourself while you’re having fun are good enough reason to do it.
9. Try Kangoo dance
Kangoo dance is something I found out recently. I have never tried it before, but it looks like SO MUCH FUN!
Check out this video I discovered on Kangoo Jumps FB page.
(Video posted here with permission from Kangoo Jumps)
I can definitely see myself doing this. Put on the musics, gather up my friends and bounce around with those Kangoo Jumps rebound shoes. Can you imagine how much calories you can burn with just 30 minutes of doing it? Plus, the FUN factor!!
As it turns out, you can use the rebound shoes while jogging, running and other fitness/ athletic training. By using the rebound shoes, you reduce the impact of your athletic activities on your joints by 80%. I can also see how they can promote faster weight loss and give you motivation to exercise. It looks so much fun.
Well, I am putting it on my wish list. Maybe Santa will come bearing gifts if I am being nice for the rest of the year…
EAT + DRINK HEALTHY
10. Stop eating CRAP
CRAP stands for Carbonated drinks, Refined sugars, Artificial foods, and Processed foods.
All these are the culprits to our health crisis. We need to return to a more wholesome diet. Nature blesses us with bounties full of the nutrients that we need.
We need to return to eating real food and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
11. Learn to use herbs and essential oils in your cooking
They are natural flavor enhancers, and they have lots of health benefits. Skip the MSG and granulated, store-bought seasoning powders or broth cubes. Learn to make your own broth from bones and vegetables. They are so much more nourishing.
Check out this resource curated by the team at Ultimate Bundle to help you learn how to use herbs and essential oils in your cooking. Plus, you get other eBooks and eCourses to help you utilize natural remedies for everyday stuffs (DIY skincare and beauty), illness/injury (cancer, flu and allergies), family’s health and wellness. All of these at a price that is hard to beat.
It’s called the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle 2017. Click to learn more.
Note: This is an affiliate link
12. Drink green juices
Smoothies and juices made from fruits and vegetables are good replacements for carbonated drinks and store-bought energy/sport drinks. Add some super food ingredients (like matcha, nuts, goji berries, etc.) to your smoothies to supercharge it. You can grab the smoothie on your way out the door and have a wholesome drink while driving to work.
13. Drink herbal teas
You’ve heard that drinking green tea every day is beneficial to our health because it’s full of anti-oxidants. Other type of herbal teas will do wonders too.
The normal way to prepare tea is with the boiling water. Go a step further and try cold infusion. Instead of using boiling hot water, use cold water and let the tea steep in the refrigerator. By doing cold infusion, you capture the subtle characters of the tea without over infusing and extracting too much tannin (compounds that cause bitter taste).
You can also harness the power of the sun to make your tea. It is similar idea to cold infusion, but instead of putting it in the refrigerator, you let the tea brews gently under the sun for about 2 hours. You get the additional benefits of the power of the sun transferred to your tea.
I learned this from an article by Carolyn on her blog The Organic Gypsy. She also has some simple recipes to get your started. Check it out here.
I tried my first sun tea the other day, and I love how smooth it was. I’m going to experiment with some fruit infusion next.
REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO TOXINS
14. Don’t smoke and don’t do drugs
They are bad for you and they don’t make you “cool.” They only bring you to the grave faster.
If you have started smoking, try quitting. Then, try some natural remedies to undo the damage that has been done to your lungs. If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones. They deserve to have you around for as long as possible.
15. Drink alcohol in moderation
I love a good chocolate martini, but I reserve it for special celebrations. If you do drink daily, try to limit it to one glass a day.
16. Create a green home
Replace store-bought cleaning products with natural products to reduce your family exposure to the chemicals. You can also try to replace the store-bought cosmetics and other skin care products with natural-based products or DIY alternatives.
Once you are more aware of it, you’ll notice how much chemicals you are exposed to, even at your own home.
ALTERNATIVE HEALTH PRACTICES
17. Try natural remedies
While Western medicine practices focus more on treatments of diseases with drugs and antibiotics, the Eastern medicine practices focus more on prevention and natural remedies by using herbs and essential oils.
What health challenges are you facing? Research it online and give the natural remedies a try. I believe sometimes Mother Nature just knows best.
Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the body. It’s a common practice among the Chinese. They say it can help reduce migraine, treat seasonal allergy, relieve back pain, reduce hot flashes due to menopause, decrease stress, etc. Would you dare to try it?
Reflexology is traditional Chinese healing method to help ease pain. It can also restore peace of mind. It involves manual manipulation of your body’s pressure points, which are connected to specific parts of the body. You can do it on your palm or on your feet.
Similarly, the Japanese Shiatsu massage is something that you can do on your own. You can learn more about both methods here.
Well, this is my EPIC guide to take care of the body from the basics (getting enough sleep and sunshine daily), physical exercise, healthy eating and drinking, reducing your exposure to toxins, trying natural remedies and alternative health practices.
If we incorporate each of these aspects in our daily life, I am sure we give our body its best chance to thrive. With a healthy body, we can tackle our next task to thrive in life. (Stay tuned for the next post!
Now, it’s your turn. What challenges do you face in living a healthy life? What are some tips I mention above that you’d like to try and implement in your own life? Is there any tip to take care of the body that you’d like me add to the list?
Cheers to your journey to healthy living!
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