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It's not just about Healthy Living, but LIVING Health

Take a moment. Think about your day up to this point, or, think about yesterday. Can you remember every movement you’ve made? We all have a normal daily morning routine. Just pick that routine and imagine each muscle that you move to do those things.

What if I asked you to remember every person you crossed paths with, would you be able to remember something about them? What were they wearing, the color of their hair, or the shape of their nose or body?

Now think about every bite of food. You may remember what you ate, but do you remember every bite? Just try to remember every bite of your favorite food you’ve had most recently.

What if I asked you to remember every breath? Did you sigh or blow out in frustration? Did you constrict your breath or growl because of stress or anger? To live healthily, you need to challenge yourself, physically, socially emotionally, AND spiritually every day. I mean… when was the last time you got out of your box, altered your norm, or even drove home a different way?

Many fitness crazes and the many-a-day fixes, diets, DVDs, YouTube videos, and blogs will tell you that their formula for health is the BEST! I am here to tell you that they are! They are the best way for their creators to sell their wares. I am not here to sell you a program, nor am I here to tell you the best program. I am here to help you embrace health as a daily experience.

To LIVE HEALTH is to be conscious of it at all times and in all ways. Every movement is an exercise. Every gathering is social. Every bite is nutrition. Every breath is meditative. Every day we can challenge ourselves in all ways.

Here are some facts:

The American College of Sports Medicine says…

“Engaging in regular exercise and reducing sedentary behavior is vital for the health of adults.” Exercise is defined as doing physical activity, “beyond activities of daily living,” (Garber, et. al. 2011). In other words, to reap the benefits of increased health and decreased disease, the individual must do things other than what they do all day.

FACTS WE KNOW:

You need -

Cardiovascular training: 20-30 minutes, 5 or more days a week, intensity according to health.

Flexibility training: 90 or more sec (2 30-45 sec) stretch on all major warmed muscle groups, 2-3 or more days per week, intensity to feeling “tightness or slight discomfort.”

Neuromuscular training: 20-30 minutes, 2-3 or more days per week, activities that challenge balance, agility, coordination, and gait.

Buddhism touches on the reality of our social life with this lovely fact…

FACTS WE KNOW:

“There is happiness in life, happiness in friendship, happiness of a family, happiness in a healthy body and mind, ...but when one loses them, there is suffering." Dhammapada, (San Francisco State University, n.d.).

Proper nutrition is offered by many, many, maaannny diet programs. According to the USDA guidelines, caloric needs change with age and activity level, but, a specific number of calories are needed for the human body to function optimally, (nih.gov, 2013). Too little is not enough. Too much is more than enough. We all know too much cake is too much cake, but a little is ok..

FACTS WE KNOW:

The normal range for adult females is 1600 to 2400 calories daily.

The normal range for adult males is 2000 to 3000 calories daily.

Meditation may seem a foreign word to some, but meditative practice is a place, time, or thing that makes you feel calm, peaceful, and restored. The Harvard Business Review magazine had an article in 2015 titled, How Meditation Benefits CEOs, (Seppala, 2015). It lists these benefits of meditation.

FACTS WE KNOW:

  • Meditation builds resilience – “a sense of control over” and “filled…with…calm”

  • Meditation boosts emotional intelligence – “maintain my peace of mind” and “not responding in an emotional manner”

  • Meditation enhances creativity – “Relaxed state of mind opens for AHA! moments”

  • Meditation improves relationships – “Boosts your mood” and “increases connection” and makes you a “more compassionate person”

  • Meditation helps you focus – “curb our tendency for distraction” and “strengthens focus” and “boosting memory”

Now we all know the definition of the “right” amount of exercise and belong to a “right” social group, (like a local church or social establishment, or both...or one is both!) We now know the “right” amount of food. We may even have a “right” meditation practice, (like prayer, a mantra, or a walk in the woods). But remember, ANY amount of change in movement “beyond activities of daily living” is exercise. To maintain health we need to exercise. So here’s the idea…….. consciously think about every movement, every interaction every bite, every breath to challenge ourselves LIVE HEALTH all day, every day!!

I may not have the same everyday life that you do, but I am going to share everyday things that will support this idea.

Situations that challenge us outside of ourselves almost always involve someone else…the guy who cut you off, the waitress who has an attitude, or your boss/employee who is acting out of the ordinary. Are you the type to REACT to this person through verbal engagement, or worse? How we respond to these stimuli matters. The Buddha said “suck it up buttercup” when he said, “There is happiness in life, happiness in friendship, happiness of a family, happiness in a healthy body and mind, ...but when one loses them, there is suffering” How do you respond to suffering?

Imagine that you had total control over your response. Can you ALWAYS act exactly the way you want? A functional MRI, (which sees the brain as it is thinking), was taken of Buddhist Monks. After some silence, while he meditated, the sound of a loud bomb was set off in the room. The Monks showed no reaction. Even on the MRI, the brain activity showed a calm, restful state. This is an example of “mindfulness.” Being mindful of others challenges us to live every interaction without regret, guilt, or reaction when the bombs of life go off. This is VERY beneficial to your health. What would it take for you to LIVE HEALTH in every social interaction all day every day?

Food is nutrition/nutrition is energy, we need food for physical sustenance, but when was the last time you tasted every bite? Even if you are not hungry, when you focus on your favorite food, something wonderful happens. Your mouth waters, your digestive juices start, and your glandular system engages to retrieve and process the energy you are taking in. Okay, so maybe the physical doesn’t sound too appetizing, but there is also a spiritual and social component to eating that feeds your soul. So it's okay to have that dessert!

When eating a special meal, I cut each item in half - from soup to nuts. When the meal is over, if I decide that I am still hungry, I can always have another bite. I offer my taste buds a physical, emotional, spiritual, and social experience. Some foods are a physical, emotional, or spiritual experience. Wellbeing revolves around food as deeply as culture revolves around food. Some food is soooooo good, that you forget to breathe while you are eating. How would you LIVE HEALTH in every bite as nutrition all day every day?

When was the last time you breathed? You probably just took a deep breath. Breath is important, we all know that. It is one thing that we do all day every day, and yes every night. When was the last time you noticed your breath? In Tai Chi philosophy, breath is considered a part of the intake of energy to the life force or the Chi. The Chi exists in the triangle between the base of the sternum and the tops of each hip bone and breath is pulled into that area. Physically, this increases oxygen and lowers stress levels by decreasing blood pressure and heart rate. Breath control also controls the freeze, flight, or fight response that we experience in everyday stressors.

A simple meditation is to focus on your breath for a while, increasing the time over days and weeks. Once established as a practice, it is available to you at all times in all situations. Could you LIVE HEALTH in every breath all day every day?

The idea of LIVING HEALTH goes far beyond healthy living as noted in the facts above. This is a form of working in constant connection with your body, your mind, your spirit, and your social wellbeing. To LIVE HEALTH is to make it part of every, single, thing you do, say, and feel. According to the World Health Organization, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." So, how are you going to LIVE HEALTH tomorrow?

References:

Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I.-M., …Swain, D. P. (2011). Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(7), 1334-1359. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.asp

Nih.gov, (2013). Balance Food and Activity. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/healthy-weight-basics/balance.htm

Seppala, E, (2015). How Meditation Benefits CEOs. The Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2015/12/how-meditation-benefits-ceos

San Francisco State University, (n.d.). Following the Buddha's Footstep. Retrieved from: http://online.sfsu.edu/rone/Buddhism/footsteps.htm

Pictures:

Barnett, Tom, (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://fitfolk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/average-calories-burned-per-day.png

Google Images, (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=654&q=live+health&oq=live+health&gs_l=img.3..0l10.11955.13338.0.13458.13.9.0.0.0.0.281.1057.0j3j2.5.0....0...1.1.64.img..8.5.1050.I1e_Gp28l2k#tbm=isch&q=cultural+food&imgrc=_&spf=1496695476708


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