Are you feeling fit today? Maybe you aren’t quite where you would like to be? No matter where you are in your fitness journey, today is just a quick boost for a feel-good fitness day. It can be really hard to decide what program to follow when you would like to improve your strength and stamina, can’t it? There are so many programs and guides out there! Perhaps you want muscle so you have considered P90-X. Or you might think that high intensity interval training is right at this point in your life. It could be endurance that you seek, so a 5K, 10K, or half marathon training program might catch your eye.
I’m not here to talk you into, or out of, any of these things. There are plusses and minuses to all things in life and your own fitness goals are as unique as your own beautiful eyes. What I am encouraging you to do today is 3 simple things that will just make your body feel good – and through that – your spirit will feel good. Are you ready?
1. Raise your heart rate.
We all know that cardio is important but I’m just talking about getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Why? Because it feels good! No other complicated physiologic reason. There are tons of reasearch studies I could point to but I just want to get those endorphins flowing and the warmth traveling through your body so that you feel happy and uplifted. So dance, run, jump rope, hula hoop, cycle, anything you want. It changes your mood and your perceptions and sometimes that is the best thing of the day!
2. Stretch all your limbs and especially your neck and back.
In our modern lifestyle almost none of us are as limber as we should be. We also often carry around enormous amounts of tension in our necks, shoulders, and backs. This can lead to pain, stress, and even poor digestion. No complicated yoga is needed. If you like yoga – go for it. Otherwise just bend – each direction you can! Make sure you stretch the fronts and backs of your arms and legs. Roll that head around and flex that neck back and forth. Reach for the sky and the floor, and especially reach out to the sides. Twist and lean. Don’t worry if you can’t reach far, just go until you feel it. Bonus points to any of us who do this to music!
3. Engage your muscles in some kind of lifting, pushing, or pulling.
Sometimes I don’t realize how ridiculously convenient my life is when it comes to true muscle strength. I park near the stores doors, I push my groceries in a cart, and I ferry stuff around in a car. We have to use our muscles to keep them strong and it also gives a sense of accomplishment to feel useful and capable. So today do some heavy lifting! A series of squats is great for the quads and push ups and sit ups are always good. But you can do this with other parts of your life too. How about you lie on your back and fly your baby from your chest up into the air 10 times? Or you could do lunge walks across the yard with your preschooler. Do you have any hand weights? Bicep curls or triceps extensions are great, especially if you need to spend some quality time with a teenager. Anything works but do it until your start to feel those muscles fatigue. Then you know you are actually doing some worthwhile effort.
Congratulations! You have made a healthy day!
Now all you need is a big glass of water and a mirror to look at the person you see and smile at how she is stronger now than she was yesterday. No negative thoughts here – just an acknowledgement of how great you are!
Peace and health,