3 More Health-Improving Tips
1. Today’s first tip is you should breathe. Well, that sounds pretty obvious, but there’s breathing and then there’s breathing.
Most people, especially those in less than tip-top health, take shallow breaths. And that’s part of why they’re dragging their patooty day after day.
With every breath, their bodies ask, “Is that it? That’s all you’ve got?” They don’t hear their body’s weak plea for help, of course, because shouting takes energy, so it’s more like easy-to-miss quiet pleading.
The body needs oxygen to flourish, and shallow breathing leaves oxygen in short supply. No flourishing for you!
That’s why checking oxygen levels is part of every trip to see a doctor. It involves slipping a plastic-looking “cap” on your fingertip and reading the instant results. Takes a few seconds, and you don’t feel a thing.
Since oxygen’s important, then, how can you get more? Breathe better.
How to breathe
You can get whole books on how to breathe, but here’s a simple suggestion:
• Sit or stand up straight
• Place one hand on your chest, the other on your stomach.
• Take a breath. If either hand moves, you’re breathing wrong.
So try this. Correct breathing is about the diaphragm, otherwise known as your rib cage. Take a deep breath, allowing your diaphragm to widen to hold all that air. Try it a few times, then place your hands on chest and stomach (as above) and breathe again. Neither hand should move.
As you get busy, though, you’ll probably revert back to shallow breathing. At least at first. So make a practice of doing your deep breathing exercise while you wait at a red light, during commercials, whenever dead time allows you to focus on your breathing. (After you get the idea, you won’t need to use your hands.)
Getting enough oxygen can make muscle pain disappear in pretty short order, too.
Finally, always breathe through your nose so the body’s filtering system can do its thing.
Sweating for health
2. Sweating’s good, too. Gets the toxins out, don’t you know. Sweating gives the old heave-ho to heavy metals and all sorts of bad stuff.
The obvious way to get a sweat going is hard, physical work or strenuous physical exercise, but you have choices.
Electric saunas really put the rout to toxins, too. Steam saunas are good, but they don’t do the deep cleaning quite as well. One problem here is saunas are big and pretty ugly. Makers focus on playing your I-tunes and sociability as you sweat, not on the fact their saunas are space hogs that ugly up the decor. But as the benefits of saunas become more known and popular, that should improve. If you have space where looks don’t matter, even Costco carries a selection of saunas.
Beyond exercise, work and saunas, one time-saving way to sweat is to dress for bed warmly, then spend the night under a pile of blankets and quilts, and slowly cook away. Keep the bedroom temperature under 73 degrees, though. Good sleep requires a cool head; keep the sweating to the body.
The tricky part is getting to sleep before your body notices the heat and interrupts your plans for a deep, healing sleep. Once you get to sleep, your body will love the whole idea, though. For one thing, it relaxes your muscles.
If the heat you generate wakes you up, try one less blanket the next time. Or perhaps not wear your overcoat to bed.
Stretch for health
3. Stretch, especially if you sit a lot. Sitting tightens your hamstrings (the muscles in the back of the thighs), which pulls on your pelvis and causes back pain.
One simple way to stretch your hamstrings is to lie down on your back, lift bent legs up, put your arms around your thighs, fairly snugly, just below the knee and gently pull your knees to your chest. You’ll feel the pull on your hamstrings and lower back muscles. Increase the number of repetitions every couple of days. An easy way to start and end the day.
Of course, stretching can do a whole lot more. As people realize just how much stretching benefits health, a bonanza o’ books about stretching are coming to a bookshelf near you.
Stretching turns out to be as important as exercise, and even more so when flexibility’s your goal.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.