I apologize for not posting sooner, between switching to the more complicated version of WordPress and hoping to get my last post a bit more exposure, I ended up putting this off too long. Today’s post is going to (hopefully) be short and sweet. It’s also dedicated to those that want to make smaller, incremental changes versus big, and sometimes difficult changes.
I want to mention some things that should be easy to implement, and can make a big difference in your health. These suggestions are going to follow a pattern in that one is designed to help you eat better, one is designed to help you move better, and one is designed to help you think better (reduce stress).
Change can be stressful, and along with work/home/everything, stress can add up and have a profound effect on your health. We work too much (too many hours), think too much and are just generally stimulated sympathetically (the fight/flight mechanism) all day every day. Take a couple minutes, a few times a day and practice this exercise. Breathe in through your nose as deep as you possibly can, hold it for 4 or 5 seconds (you shouldn’t be overly uncomfortable) and then breathe it out slowly and as completely as possible. Repeat 3-4 times. I like to sit tall and think positively during this exercise. I tend to do it during my commute to and from work (could there be a better time for stress relief?)
The amount of air you’ll be able to breathe in and out will increase with time if you can implement this practice with some consistency. That volume of air you can breathe can be limited by systemic inflammation in your body. Systemic inflammation is generally only present during sepsis, or when you introduce something into your body that isn’t meant to be there. This “something” can be lead (from paint, or food contamination), mercury (in tooth fillings, vaccines, contaminated food) and many other heavy metals. Avoiding food contamination is like trying to avoid wind, you can stay locked indoors, but if you want to live you’ve got to get outside! A increasingly present toxin that isn’t a heavy metal, that we’re being told to ingest in outrageous quantities is gluten. Gluten causes an immune reaction in our body that causes it to attack essentially all of our tissues. This is why those who eliminate gluten from their diet often see improvements in joint pain, headaches, digestion, osteoporosis, the list goes on. A sure-fire way to reduce inflammation and increase your health, is to eliminate gluten from your diet. This can be difficult to do for many people due to habit and addiction; So how about we just change breakfast? Instead of having the typical lactose and gluten for breakfast (milk and cereal), let’s try eggs and bacon, or some cold cuts and a bowl of cut up fruit/berries. If we stay away from bread and cereals we’re good to go in just about any direction we want. Today for me was a large cup of coffee with some heavy cream, a couple swigs of orange juice, an apple and a handful of nitrate-free turkey cold cuts. It doesn’t have to be complicated just concentrate on fruit/veggies and meat.
There is a time and place for inflammation though, and it’s called exercise. The local (limited to skeletal muscle) inflammation caused by exercise is responsible for the adaptation that causes us to improve. Unfortunately exercising for the sake of exercising doesn’t often work out in the long term. To combat this problem I want you to create a goal. Pick something you can do whenever you like, wherever you like. Wanting to be better at gymnastics movements is a much better goal than wanting a six-pack, and conveniently, being better at gymnastics movements will get you closer to having a six-pack. A simple exercise you can practice is called the hollow rock. Here is a good video explaining the hollow rock:
To hold the hollow position you’re contracting your quads, everything in your core (abs, obliques, etc.), your toes are pointed and your hands are above your head. What this does is flattens your low back against the ground as opposed to it curving away from the ground. Then you’ll just rock back and forth by shifting your weight. The hollow rock won’t work if you can’t stay hollow though, so stay tight! This doesn’t appear to be difficult, but it is. Try and accumulate a few minutes each day doing this exercise. The time doesn’t have to be all in a row and there is no “set point” you need to reach (although 3 minutes straight is a really good metric). It takes a little time to get used to the position, but once you’re there, have some fun with it. You’ll continue doing it if you enjoy it.
So there we have it, spend some time doing the hollow rock before relaxing to do the breathing technique followed by a meal of meat and vegetables. Try one of the things, or all of them but do it with a positive mindset.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!