Love Thyself; Making Time for Health and Wellness



Even in the best of times, it’s often difficult for people to carve out personal time in order to focus on individual needs, goals, and self-care. “Me time,” however, has become almost impossible to obtain during the unusual circumstances of the past year and our challenging “new normal.” Work-from-home has blurred the lines between personal and business hours, irregular school schedules due to distance learning and pandemic safety measures have put an even greater burden on parents, and many people have found themselves scrambling to make ends meet by working a variety of temporary jobs while furloughed from their usual employment. In addition, rising levels of depression and anxiety have made it increasingly difficult to establish a self-care routine in spite of the fact that prioritizing one’s physical and mental health is even more crucial during periods of heightened stress. So, given all of these challenges, how does a person possibly commit to any form of self-care during these times, particularly a brand-new fitness routine? To answer this, let’s take a look at all of the ways your body will love you back if you give it the love it needs by taking the time to get active.


Well, if we’re talking about love, let’s take a look at the heart first. Regular daily exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular health in a variety of ways. In the same way that the other muscles of the body adapt to exercise by becoming stronger, exercise actually strengthens the heart muscle and allows it to become more efficient at delivering oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. It also works to calm the sympathetic nervous system which controls your heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a reduced risk of hypertension and stroke. Moreover, thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking or a slow jog in which you are breathing heavily but can still talk in complete sentences) has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease like artherosclerosis by lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels.


Of course, the heart isn’t the only part of the body to reap the benefits of a daily dose of moderate exercise. Those same thirty minutes of moderate intensity activity a day can also decrease insulin resistance, resulting in a reduction of blood sugar levels and a decreased risk of diabetes. And since excess body fat around the midline of the body has been shown to increase the chances of insulin resistance, the fat loss that occurs from regular exercise also helps to lower blood sugar levels. By improving insulin sensitivity, the body becomes better able to utilize that sugar for energy, which has a beneficial impact on the body’s endocrine system, and thus results in improved metabolism, sleep, and immunity with a reduction of inflammation, and stress. Just imagine it: increased energy, better and more restorative sleep, increased resistance to infections, less pain and swelling, and you’ll feel happier and less anxious. And that’s in addition to all of the cardiovascular benefits mentioned before.


All of these can occur with just thirty minutes a day of exercise. Thirty minutes! That’s the length of a sitcom, a clothes dryer cycle, or the baking time for a casserole. When you think about all of the ways those thirty minutes can help you live a longer, healthier life, not just for yourself but for your family and loved ones, then the question of how to squeeze in that “me time” really just becomes a matter of prioritizing your health by getting a little bit creative. Watch that sitcom on the treadmill, stream a workout video while that load of laundry is drying or while dinner is in the oven, or maybe just set your morning alarm a mere thirty minutes earlier than what you’re used to so you can get that walk in. Find out what works for you, and make it a habit. Your body will love you for it, and you will love it right back. And that kind of self-love is priceless and will keep you Always in Motion.

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