Here come the holidays with focus on the traditions and festivities, including family and friends, gifts to buy, and meals to plan. Often, the last thing on our minds is our own physical and emotional health. What we spend most of our physical and mental resources on is an indicator of what we value, and that should include our own well-being. Let’s turn the focus to the gift of health this holiday season.
What is health? Health results from a sufficient supply of vital lifeforce creating a state of harmony: mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It’s not merely the absence of disease. It’s the ability to function synergistically in one’s environment while expressing one’s unique energies.
We’ve defined health, so what’s next? Failing to plan=planning to fail, so make a plan! A good tool for any wellness plan is to set a specific goal or habit to bring into your life one by one, each month of the year. Achieve your planned goals by making them SMART:
My training philosophy is based on the Native American Medicine Wheel. At the heart of this belief system is balance. The Winter quarter of the wheel focuses on the mind. This is the time to hibernate or turn inwards. Solstice is a good time to develop a vision for your wellbeing. I write out a plan for my year with loads of details, so I can clearly visualize my success.
Physically, this colder season is the perfect time to begin an indoor core stabilization routine. These basic exercises are the foundation needed to build on for an integrated and functional fitness habit. To build a habit one must repeat the behavior for 21 sequential days. This routine can be done daily and will take only 5 minutes!
The Drawing in Maneuver - Lie on your back with your head, shoulders, and hips aligned in a neutral position. Knees are bent, feet hip-distance apart. Take a deep breath and exhale completely drawing navel to spine creating a hollow lower abdominal region maintaining alignment. Hold the muscles in the front/back of the lower abdomen co-contracted for 5 counts. Repeat 8x.
Knee Marches - continue the Drawing in Maneuver, lifting one knee up at a time to hip height, slowly lowering. Alternate 8x.
Heel Slides- continue the Drawing in Maneuver while sliding heel out to straighten leg, and slowly back. Alternate 8x.
Floor Bridge- continue the Drawing in Maneuver while pressing hips up towards ceiling and slowly lowering to floor. Repeat 8x.
Floor Cobra - Lie face down legs straight, hip-distance apart. Arms are at sides bent in a W shape palms down. Start Drawing in Maneuver and slowly lift your head, chest, and arms up and hold. Lower slowly. Repeat 8x.
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied.” -Ancient Greek Physician Herophilus.
Make your health a priority to enjoy the celebrations of the season for years to come.