Take the Steps

Diet and exercise: Is that all?

By: Mark K. Jordan

When people hear “health and wellness,” many think of diet and exercise. Some stop short and say, “I don’t have time to cut out convenient fast foods and replace them with time-requiring nutritionally rich cooked meals,” or “I don’t have time to go to a gym for a few hours per week.”

If you agree with these, consider this approach: Consider the transition towards eating more nutritious foods as compared to fast foods, and consider additional physical activity (not necessarily a gym membership) as steps toward better health and wellness. This allows you to focus on the increased variety of things you can do and consume in the areas of healthy food intake and activity, instead of only emphasizing what you should reduce or eliminate.

Yet, it doesn’t stop there. My 40-plus years of experience have shown me that the need to minimize stress while enhancing relaxation and sleep is important for improving overall health and well-being. If this isn’t managed, it can become counter-productive to the benefits of healthy nutrition and physical activity. Some experts have said that stress triggers and sleeplessness are so prevalent that we, as a society, have just gotten used to them.

The long-term manifestations tell us that our bodies don’t necessarily accept what our minds have gotten used to experiencing. We can experience compromises in our attention span, creativity and problem-solving abilities. It can also negatively impact our immune system and cardiovascular functions. All of these are definitely related to overall health and wellness and support the need to address changing high stress levels, increasing relaxation time and reducing lack of high quality sleep.

So, how do we address this in the name of health and wellness? While appearing on the Dr. Oz show, I was able to talk with a longevity expert about the benefits of having 20 minutes every day as your relaxation time. Relaxation takes on many forms, but there are a couple of consistencies:

• A lack of interruption during that time
• Relative calmness, if not quietness, during that time

Examples include meditation, prayer and leisure reading, as well as sitting and listening to calming music. People who do this actually live longer healthier lives than those who don’t. It can enhance the results from your efforts in the areas of healthy food intake and physical activity.

If people tell me that they do not have 20 minutes in their day to relax, I ask them if their days are pretty hectic. They usually say that their days are very hectic. I ask them, “If there was a way to make your day less hectic, more productive and more enjoyable, would you consider doing it?” They usually say, “Yes.” That’s when I let them know what 20 minutes in their day can provide.

Like the previous articles I’ve written, consider trying this relaxation approach for a three-week cycle, at least during the weekdays. After the first week, you’ll know how it feels and how it impacts each day. The second week is more helpful because you are familiar with the activity. The third week serves as a mini-celebration toward completing the cycle.

Approach the relaxation activities as a series of cycles or steps that provide impactful results. This keeps you from thinking of it as an endless experience of day-to-day activities that need to be done for the rest of your life, with no change in sight. Instead, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel every three weeks! Make things interesting with your 20 minutes, and enjoy the results it can provide!

Mark Jordan received a certificate for setting a Guinness World Record for most pull-ups done within 24 hours – he did 4,321 of them, at age 54! He appeared on Dr. Oz in recognition of his wellness accomplishments. For more information about wellness consultations, coaching services or speaking engagements, contact Jordan at info@markkjordan.com, or visit www.markkjordan.com.


Photos Courtesy of Mark K. Jordan

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