The least that we can say is that we felt your love with our last blog post about the importance of our well-being. We were delighted to have your tremendous feedback and we’re so happy that our 4 Tips to take care of yourself had such a positive impact on your overall well-being.
As we mentioned in our last blog post, we know how important our mental health and our well-being are, but we often don’t take enough action to make sure that we maximize them to the fullest. We also feel that we have the same reflexes when it comes to our physical health itself, as sedentary lifestyles are increasing in North America, especially since the COVID-19 Pandemic.
There is no need to mention that being sedentary is a big threat to our well-being and physical health. Physical inactivity is, according to the World Health Organization, a leading cause of disease and disability. More specifically, sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, as well as increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, depression, and so on (World Health Organization, 2002). The opposite of well-being, isn’t it?
As we covered a lot of the importance of mental health and well-being in our last blog post, we wanted to focus a little more on the importance of physical activity on our well-being and share some tips that we do daily to keep good physical health. Anyway, it’s no secret that physical health and mental health are both intertwined with our well-being.
Tip #1 | Focus on your breath
We mentioned in our last blog post how important mindfulness was for our mental health and general well-being. But mindfulness is also accompanied by another practice that can have a significant impact on our body itself. Indeed, breathing is considered, for a lot of communities around the globe, one of the most important physical exercises you can do to keep your body in the best shape possible. It is indeed one of the fundamentals of the yoga practice, and one of the most emphasized actions for Shaolin Monks in the training of martial arts.
But concretely, how does breathing can affect our daily life and workouts? Well, using proper breathing during your workouts is not only good for your overall performance, but it is actually vital for your health. Breathing itself ensures that the blood that circulates throughout your muscles is well oxygenated. But it also makes sure that the CO2 created by the cells of your tissues and organs is also properly expelled from your body. Focusing on your breath while working out helps you reduce the risk of injury, such as muscle strains, but also other cardiovascular-related issues.
Tip # 2 | Keep your body active
“I will strongly recommend started doing a little bit more physical exercise and be a little bit more active”. This is probably one of the most heard quotes during medical appointments). Even if this statement can be annoying to hear, it is indeed one of the most fundamental things to do when it comes to increasing our physical health and well-being. We simply can’t ignore it.
There is, indeed, a full list of benefits related to physical activity. According to the CDC, physical activity can have a tremendous impact on your brain, such as improved thinking and cognition, but also in reducing short-term feelings of anxiety, stress, and overwhelmingness (CDC, 2022). Physical activity also reduces cardiovascular disease, such as stroke, but also helps you lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
Even if these are pretty well-known benefits, physical activity also has an impact on another aspect of well-being, especially for people suffering from chronic disease. As mentioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with osteoarthritis (knee and hip) experience less pain related to the disease and see their overall health-related quality of life improve. Even more surprising, physical activity can also have a positive impact on people suffering from dementia, as it helps them improve significantly their cognition (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022).
Even if physical activity is essential in itself, it also needs to be combined with good nutrition. Indeed, these two go hand in hand, as you need the right food/nutrients to fuel your body throughout any physical activity. That being said, we need to focus on non-processed and dense food, to help us maximize the impact of physical activity on our health. This is why we don’t have any processed foods or added sugar in our 100% natural Haumana Energy Bars, which are great snacks to consume before any physical activity.
Tip #3 | Stretch Daily
Even if this tip is as important as the other two, this one tends to be put aside a little bit more. Unfortunately, stretching is not a physical activity that is emphasized a lot when compared to working out or playing sports. And that’s a huge mistake because ignoring it can usually have some serious negative effects on your body, such as chronic pain, and injuries. The Harvard Medical school shared a great example of what a lack of stretching can cause. For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh (Harvard Medical School, 2022) which can lead to nerve irritation and cause lower back pain issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching your body daily is not only a highly recommended way to improve your overall physical health but it has also a lot of concrete benefits for your body. Indeed, stretching helps you reduce the risk of injuries during your physical activities, but it also helps your joints move through their full range of motion, increase muscle blood flow and enable your muscles to work most effectively (Mayo Clinic, 2022).
These are indeed great benefits, but what should we look for in order to maximize the impact of stretching on our bodies? Well, there are also several tips to make sure that you’re stretching the best way possible. The Mayo Clinic states 3 important things to look out for when it comes to maximizing our stretching sessions. First, don’t bounce while stretching, as it can lead to severe injuries. Stretching in itself should be a smooth movement. Second, hold your stretch for 30 seconds and also focus on your breathing, as it also has a great impact on the quality of the stretch. Lastly, don’t aim for pain. We should aim to feel some tension when we stretch, but when pain occurs, it generally means that we pushed the stretch too far from what our body can take. Of course, and like everything in life, discipline and consistency are key to feeling the real benefits!
The last 2 years have shown us how important our physical health is for our well-being. With all the restrictions we faced during the pandemic, it became way more complicated to stay active and practice physical activities to ensure a healthy lifestyle. And if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we know how much this lack of physical activity had a direct impact on our body and mind. We showed with this blogpost, how important it is to stay active. Now, it is time for us to use our body for what it is made to do…Moving!