Photo: Couple Running on the Beach

by Manjari Fergusson

Living a truly healthy lifestyle includes all aspects of a person’s life: what they consume, how active they are, how they manage stress, their mental and emotional health, and how they care for each other. This month’s Feature Article discusses the healthy-eating side of wellness, while our Health Tip focuses on the other aspects of a person’s health and wellbeing.

Fitness

Fitness is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Even small amounts of consistent exercise, like 30 minutes three times a week, can work wonders on a person’s health in all aspects: emotionally, physically, and mentally. Exercise helps prevent disease, fight sickness, increase longevity, and can even improve your mood and help with depression.

Sometimes it can be discouraging to exercise when you feel you’re at a low level of physical fitness, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter; just start where you are at, and slowly but surely, with consistent effort, you will see results. It’s important to not try and do things that are too advanced. For your safety and health condition, just do what you can do.

Staying active and engaging in physical activity (which is any activity you do that involves the contraction of your muscles, from walking, to housework, to climbing the stairs, etc.) are also important aspects of health, but doing actual exercise is equally essential. Exercise is a specific, purposeful activity that you engage in for the advancement of your fitness and strength. It’s good to get in the habit of setting aside time every week for exercising. A combination of cardio and resistance training is best for well-rounded benefits and for balance.

You can start out doing simple aerobic exercises like walking or running for 20 or 30 minutes, and, according to your fitness level, you can start doing exercises that target the major muscles. Don’t choose weights that are too heavy; and don’t forget to do stretches before and after!

Managing Stress

Aside from the physical, it’s also important to know how to take care of your mental and emotional health. You can reduce your stress and your response to stressors by learning to breathe properly and calm down your mind, setting time aside to rest, finding inner peace, having empathy and compassion for those around you, and spending time with loved ones.

Things like breathing techniques to help calm the mind can be very beneficial. Take deep breaths in and slowly release, and coordinate with gentle stretches and hatha yoga asanas. Wai Lana’s Rest and Relax CD and yoga DVDs can be found at Down to Earth and are great starting points to incorporating relaxation and yoga stretches into your life.

Love and Gratitude

Kindness helps enrich a person’s wellbeing. Practice empathy and compassion on a daily basis. Begin to listen openly to others and be tolerant of those who may be fighting their own battles. It’s also a good time to practice “count your blessings” and be thankful for everything you have and grateful for your circumstances.

Just keeping a few of these tips in mind can greatly aid you in maintaining a happy and healthy life!