exercise

The Importance of a Daily Wellness Routine

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 by: Stephanie Brail
Tags: wellness, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) We live in a quick-fix culture where we are constantly told by advertisements that a pill or miracle cure is going to fix all our woes. Whether it is stress, anxiety, or poor health, our current culture focuses far too much on the elusive after-the-fact miracle "cure" instead of prevention.

Yet, if we simply focused on improving our daily habits, our health and well-being would improve dramatically. This is where a daily wellness routine is essential.

There are four main components to a successful wellness routine. They are:

1.Exercise
2.Nutrition
3.Spiritual Practice
4.Rest and Relaxation

1. Exercise

With obesity rates soaring, it is clear that exercise is a devalued commodity in our society. Yet, exercise is proven to improve health, alleviate depression and anxiety, and reduce stress. Various experts will suggest varying exercise guidelines to meet every week, such as 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week minimum. Whatever weekly exercise goals you set, they should be in addition to, not a replacement for, your daily exercise.

Your daily exercise should be doable and not require you to take a fitness class to accomplish. This type of exercise is more about moving your body than giving yourself the most challenging workout of your life. Examples of a daily exercise routine include:

1. Taking a walk around the neighborhood in the morning or after work.
2. Performing a simple yoga or qi-gong exercise in the morning or evening.
3. Riding your bike to the park.
4. Dancing to your favorite music in the comfort of your living room.

The important thing to remember is that you need to move your body each and every day to stay healthy and happy. Don't make exercise in to a huge obstacle to overcome. Find a way to fit more movement into your daily life and your body will thank you for it.

2. Nutrition

Diet and nutrition can be an overwhelming subject. Unless you are one of those people who enjoys counting calories and spending hours in food preparation, adjusting your diet may seem impossible. Try coming up with a moderate diet that provides leeway and space for those moments when you have a chocolate craving. Rather than rigidly trying to subtract specific foods from your diet, add nutritious, healthy options to your existing plate.

For example, if you have a hard time giving up pasta, then add more vegetables to your pasta dishes. Don't try to go cold turkey on the pasta.

The most important thing to remember with food is moderation. Even if you ate processed foods constantly, you would not become obese unless you overate and neglected to exercise. This is not to suggest that you go on an all-processed foods diet, but to postulate that the simplest way to lose weight is to simply eat less of whatever it is your are consuming. From there, slowly work in healthier options as you shift your diet into one that is more nutritious and life giving.

3. Spiritual Practice

Daily spiritual practice is the positive habit of connecting with a higher power or ideal, whether that is God, nature, or the mystery of the universe. You do not have to be a spiritual person to have a spiritual practice. Atheists, for example, might engage in a spiritual practice that consists of mindful journal writing each morning.

The purpose of daily spiritual practice is to disengage from the petty irritations and distractions of life and open the mind and spirit to see the bigger picture. A daily spiritual practice should nurture, uplift, and inspire.

Examples of daily spiritual practice include:

1. Prayer
2. Journaling
3. Creativity (art, music, writing)
4. Meditation

The benefits of a daily spiritual practice are cumulative and over time will lead to more peace of mind and a greater ability to handle life's challenges.

4. Rest and Relaxation

In our harried world, the benefits of rest cannot be overstated. Too often we are running on fumes too little sleep and too much activity. Sleep deprivation has been associated with all sorts of problems, from anxiety and depression to unsafe driving. Some scientists are studying a possible link between sleep deprivation and obesity (the theory is that sleep deprivation disrupts the production of important hormones).

Make sure you allow for adequate sleep time in your schedule. If your work environment allows it, take a cat nap in the afternoon to refresh.

Relaxation is also important. Your mind needs rest and play. If all you did was work from the beginning to the end of the day, you would become less effective overall due to the stress. Spend time relaxing every day, even if it's just a half an hour to read a favorite book or partake in a hobby.

Putting It All Together

The key to creating a daily wellness routine is to make it simple and not a rigid, inflexible structure that is difficult to maintain. A fluid set of guidelines is often much easier to implement than a hard-set schedule.

Consider making a set of daily guidelines rather than rigid rules to follow. For example:

Each day, I will walk for 20 minutes, eat a little healthier, sleep a little more, and do something nurturing for myself by relaxing and writing in my journal.

Be flexible. There will be days when things are hectic or family and work obligations come up that make it difficult to do everything in your routine. Don't beat yourself up for not following through all the time. When you expect perfection, you are more likely to skip the routine altogether and keep putting it off for that mythological day in the future when things "clear up."

Things will never "clear up." Your life will always be hectic and have its shares of ups and downs and surprises (both good and bad). The time to start your daily wellness routine is today, not tomorrow. By taking baby steps, you are creating a future of better health and well-being for yourself.

About the author

Stephanie Brail is a wellness coach, healer and hypnotherapist. She provides information and perspectives on alternative health, well-being, spirituality, and more at www.feelgoodgirl.com.

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