Make Your Body Feel More Alive

The snow came down last night and turned this place white. My morning workout was cross-country skiing from my house into the green space behind. That was a good way to get the whole body moving.

How often do you get your body moving, do you give it a good push? The body you have is built to do many things well, do you use it, explore its possibilities?

Somewhere when I was young I decided that to have a good life I needed to take good care of my body. I work out 7 days a week building strength, increasing endurance, and improving flexibility. This seems essential to me for a healthy body and mind.

In addition to the exercise, I consider eating right as critical for fueling my body and for keeping it working well. What I eat affects my energy, my mood, and my brain function. My main focus in my eating is on lean protein, lots of greens, multi-colored vegetables, and good sources of carbohydrates. Fast foods are not part of what I eat. I love to cook and that makes eating right easier.

I bring up the body today because during the holiday many of us forget to tend to it in healthy ways. When people get busy exercise gets skipped and fast foods become a quick but poor solution to fueling up. Busy times with lots of socializing are when our body needs the most care.

Here are six practices to explore for the next few weeks as the New Year approaches. Find out which of these practices or others will be positive for your body and health and then in 2009 use the practices to enhance your body's health:
• Move energy in your body, Tai chi, chi kung/qigong or other martial arts type movement will activate the healthy flow of energy in your body. Acupuncture is also a good energy activator.
• Yoga and stretching will loosen the body up, increase movement, make it more comfortable and help it feel young again.
• Hiking especially in the hills will get the heart and lungs working and helping you feel as if you are doing something really good for you. Walking is better than driving when you can.
• Dancing is a fun way to get a workout in. Put on your headphones and start moving. Do it where you will feel free to experiment and sing along. Music and movement can make you feel alive and full of joy.
• Do hand-and-eye coordinated movements like ping pong, tennis, racket ball, squash or shoot some hoops to feel the fun of playing while you stimulate the body.
• Sure there is the gym and all those machines that make you push and pull hard and move the same way over and over again. This beats do nothing by far. Do your aerobic exercises outdoors when you can.

Be in you body and explore its expression. Loosen up, do active games, stretch out, get up and walk around, dance, express yourself as a body and let you mind to take a break from the heady world we live in. Your body still wants to play like a child so pay attention to it at least for some time every day.