Pillar 1 for Optimum Health: Physical Activity (from The Guidebook to Optimum Health)

activityNo surprises

The first Pillar (or key) to Optimum Health is – no surprises – physical activity. I can just imagine you reading this thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t know. Did you know that physical activity actually helps with your memory, your cognitive functioning and neurogenesis (development of new neurons)? Physical activity is just as important for the brain as it for the body and internal systems. Sometimes we forget that. You are also likely to score better on tests or be more creative after you exercise. Now have I got your attention? 😉   Tal Ben-Sharar, a leader in the positive psychology field, said ‘Not exercising is like taking a depressant’. Oops. It turns out that exercise is one of the best stress management and stress resilience strategies we have. In many research situations exercise performs just as well as anti-depressants (without the side-effects).      Our modern lifestyles The problem is our lifestyles are getting more and more sedentary. The amount of movement our body gets is sod all. Even the once touted F.I.T.T. exercise principle of moving the body 3-4 times a week might not cut the grade if you are sitting all day, driving back and to from work, and then lounging when you get home. I currently teach for optimum health and vitality, it is important to do physical activity 6 times a week. They definitely don’t all need to be blood, sweat and tears, but we do need to be doing something physical. And as I already said; with the amount of stress and overwhelm most of us experience daily, physical activity is one of the best tools we have for the defence of our sanity. Crazy is at the other end of the spectrum to optimum health by the way.     

Weight management

I think most of us realise the crucial part that food plays in our weight management or are starting to realise it more (please please reduce the refined carbohydrates and sugar!). But I think if physical movement of the body (which we are designed for) does not accompany good nutrition, we miss out on a lot of the benefit and results. Magic happens when you shake the booty (and not just with weight loss ;-)).

Mix it up

I am a big fan of mixing up the activities you do. This is what I recommend: a mix of aerobic activities (running, walking, swimming, dancing naked around the house, sport), plus some resistance work (lifting weights like at the local gym where I will be heading shortly) and then some flexibility / mind-body work with some yoga or Tai Chi or Qigong.The mix might be 3 aerobic, 1 resistance training and 2 flexibility/mind-body. By the way, this recommendation is for ‘Optimum Health’ as opposed to beefing up to (possibly mistakenly) impress the ladies. 😉     The final word Regular physical activity is essential to counter our overly sedentary lifestyles – especially when we pass the magic age of 30 (long gone for me)! It is one of the best stress management tools we have. And it not only aids optimum health, but adds vitality and radiance to our lives. So move that body and reap the rewards. “Let’s get physical. Physical. I wanna get physical. Let’s get into physical. Let me hear your body talk.” Showing my age now…Make sense? Got any other points to add? Want to know exactly what my weekly physical activity routine is? Feel free to share by hitting the Reply button or getting over to my Facebook page

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