3 Ways to Make Exercise Fun

Standard

Everyone has heard that exercise is good for you.  The web is filled with articles about the many health benefits of exercise, and new research finds that light exercise is even better than treatment with prescription drugs at preventing 3 of the top 4 causes of death in the US.  So why don’t more people exercise regularly?  I think that for most people exercise is seen as a chore, something they do not like to do.  The idea that exercise is no fun is exactly what needs to change!

Before we look at ways to make Exercise more fun let’s look at why exercise has all of these heath benefits.  Everybody knows that our bodies are made up of cells and these are organized into functional units, or tissues such as muscles, tendons, and organs.  Each one of these cells and tissues gets its nutrition from blood.  So in very simple terms better blood flow equals better health.  And guess what exercise does?  It activates our built in pump (the Heart) to increase blood flow.

Three keys to make exercise more fun:

1) Relax

The benefits from exercise come from increased blood flow.  Guess what happens when we are stressed?  We tighten up our muscles, decreasing blood flow, and limiting our physical and mental performance.  Can exercise be relaxing?  Of course!   Even in the most intense and difficult athletic endeavors such as professional sports and the Olympics you hear the best athletes say that they are at their best when they can “relax” and get into their groove.  So have a relaxed attitude when you exercise to get the most out of it.

2) Pick your favorite activity and make it exercise.

So many things can be exercise.  Simple things such as walking the dog, biking, doing yard-work, etc.  My favorite exercise is Chinese Qi Gong, or energy exercises that are the basis for what most people know as Tai- Chi. (For more info on this topic see flowing zen.com)  I like this type of exercise because it strengthens the entire body and makes you feel refreshed and energized afterwards, not tired or worn out, and it can be done indoors or outside without any equipment.

Other great ideas for exercise include going outside and playing with your children.  Simple activities such as shooting a basketball, throwing a Frisbee, etc. are great exercise. By the way, the exercise is good for you and your kids.  Here in Florida swimming is an exercise that I recommend to lots of patients because is it very low impact and can be done without aggravating joint injuries.

If you like a structured, group activity there are lots of classes at local gyms, but my favorite is to look for a local meetup group that does a sport that you enjoy, such as volleyball, racquetball, or tennis.  Activities such as Yoga can also be done in a group or individual setting.

3) Enjoy!

Once you have selected your favorite exercise or two be sure to enjoy it!  If you enjoy the activity you are much more likely to keep doing it, and guess what makes all exercise better for you?  When you actually do it! So smile when you exercise and truly enjoy it.  And if that changes, pick up something else.  Just keep going so that your exercise becomes a regular part of your daily life.  This way it will become a good, lasting habit.

So yes, I know that many of us are stuck indoors with the bitter cold of Winter right now, but Spring is just around the corner and many fun, indoor activities are excellent exercise too.  So chose your favorite physical activity, do it regularly, and enjoy!

Want to learn more about Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Health, or Natural Pain Relief in Orlando?  Check out our website: OrlandoAcupuncture.com

Advertisements

Tips to stay Warm this Winter

Standard

It seems strange to write a blog about how to stay warm when living in Florida, but the truth is that we are just not used to cold weather and it can be harder to adapt to something like cold when you are not used to it.  Luckily, much of China had cold weather so there are lots of natural, traditional methods to keep warm and healthy during the Winter.  These tips are also good all year long for people who work in buildings with AC set to be very cold.

1. Use warming herbs daily – some of the best Chinese warming herbs are are easy to find in most grocery stores.  These include Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cloves.  Here are a few suggestions for their use:

Warming Tea.  My favorite blend uses cinnamon, ginger and cardamom pods.  This combination has been used for centuries in India and China for general health.  Simmer these herbs with water on the stove for 5-10 min.  If you like it sweet add some honey.  You can keep this on low heat for several hours and drink throughout the day to keep warm.

  • 2-4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 slices of ginger (each slice about the size of a quarter)
  • 3-6 cardamom pods
  • 3-6 cloves

Fresh Soup.  I often like to make a fresh soup broth from any meat bones that we may have from the week (often organic chicken from Costco).  Be sure to add plenty of these warming herbs to the soup before serving.  My favorites here are the garlic and ginger.  Add them early in the cooking for a mellow flavor, or just before serving for a stronger taste.  I recommend to grate the ginger, and smash and chop the garlic to get the most benefit from them.

Add to Steamed or Stir-Fried dishes.  Whether you are cooking veggies or meats, fresh aromatic herbs like garlic and ginger are a great addition in the winter.  I like to add them like recommended above for soups.  Another option is to use Chinese 5 spice powder; it has cloves and cinnamon already in it and is easy to use.

2. Keep Active!  Regular exercise promotes blood circulation and is the body’s best defense against cold weather.  The Chinese consider cold to be one of the 6 pathogenic factors that can enter the body and cause illness.  Exercise promotes the circulation of the warm protective energy of the body, the immune system or “Wei Qi”.  That is why it is great for preventing cold from injuring the body.  However, it is important to remember not to overdo it.  If you exercise to the point of exhaustion it will temporarily weaken or diminish your immune system and then you will be more vulnerable to cold.

3. Keep a lid on it.  One of the most obvious, but sometimes overlooked ways to protect ourselves from the cold is to cover our head and necks.  The head and neck are the most vulnerable parts of the body  to heat loss.  This is because the brain is too important to allow the vasoconstriction that occurs in the arms and legs to conserve heat.  It is important to thermally insulate (cover) all of the body to keep warm, but  don’t forget to cover your neck and head with hats, hoodies, scarves, turtlenecks, etc.

Want to learn more about Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Health, or Natural Pain Relief in Orlando?  Check out our website: http://www.OrlandoAcupuncture.com