Health and Wellness, Nutritionally Speaking

Nutritionally Speaking: Resolve to rest and exercise

Now that we are into the start of the new year 2020, and our next decade, I’m going to guess that many of you are not acting on any New Year’s resolutions. I know you tried last year; maybe set your sights too high, and crashed and burned in defeat.
When I make recommendations here or in a coaching session, I often need to hear the recommendations myself as well. Last year I committed to joining a gym and exercising regularly, and I did not reach this goal. This year, I will set my goals to a more realistic and achievable option. I am planning on taking advantage of the (periodically) dry weather and getting outside to walk, either in my neighborhood or at the school track.
In the last year we adopted our rescue pup Emma, which gives us extra incentive to walk, as she is always ready to go! Our other favorite (and dog-friendly) exercise venues are Garden Lake Park in Creswell and the paths at Dorris Ranch in Springfield. Research has shown that being around a dog can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and dampen other physiological stress responses. When you combine these two things in dog-walking, you’ve got a double-strength stress remedy.
Most of you have heard the phrase, ”No pain, no gain.” This common phrase may be what is keeping you from exercising. You might think, ”I can’t do strenuous exercise, so why bother?” But there is plenty of research indicating that a brisk, purposeful, pain-free, 20-minute walk at least three times a week can greatly improve your health, wellbeing and stamina.
Studies have found that the benefits include:
Increased blood oxygen levels, which will improve your energy level and cognitive functions such as concentration and memory.
More efficient detoxification down to the cellular level. As you walk, your lungs and sweat glands assist in toxin removal. As you walk or run your lymph system is stimulated to remove harmful toxins and strengthen your immune system. You can carry hand weights and swing your arms as you walk, increasing these benefits.
Moderate exercise supports weight loss and muscle toning.
If you walk regularly, the benefits from your chiropractic adjustments or massages will last longer. Try parking a few blocks away from your chiropractor’s office; walking after your adjustment will give you more for your money – a great way to stretch your healthcare dollars.
Walk in your neighborhood. You may see some neighbors and friends, smell the flora growing around you, look around and notice what you are passing, and you will feel more relaxed and energized. During the holiday season we got to enjoy our neighbors’ colorful lights as a bonus!
One of my other challenges is to always resolve to get enough rest. I have so many things that I enjoy doing each day, working part-time and playing, that I often make rest a lesser priority. Sound familiar?
Before we had electricity, we had only candles and oil lamps to illuminate our homes at night. We went to sleep shortly after dark and got up when the sun came up. We got more rest, were less stressed, our digestion worked better and we were generally healthier.
The importance of resting is demonstrated by the way our hearts function. After each contraction, the heart rests as it refills with blood. Our whole bodies need rest and recharge time just as our hearts do. Without adequate rest, we cannot do our best.
If we are constantly on the go (remember ”fight or flight”), our digestive processes basically turn off. In such cases, the only ones that benefit are the drug companies that sell medications for the resulting reflux and other digestion-related symptoms we experience.
It is best to avoid eating on the run, while driving or doing other activities. Stop, sit, take in the smells and tastes of what you are eating, and chew your food thoroughly. You will be able to digest your food and feel energized and relaxed to boot.
I recently had a morning off and since it was raining, I enjoyed sitting on the couch, drinking tea and reading with one of my cats on my lap, and Emma snuggled up next to us – a definite head start on my New Year’s resolution to get good rest!
For additional information about sustainable exercise and dietary plans, contact Yaakov Levine at [email protected] Salud!