Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Self Care Primer – Physical Self Care

“Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

Physical self care is all about taking care of your body.

Some basic needs of physical self care are regular movement, good nutrition, fresh air, refreshing sleep and intimate touch.

Regular movement: Exercise impacts your health in so many ways. Did you know that your lymph system does not have a pump on it? Your lymph system is crucial for good immunity and it relies upon your physical movements to operate effectively. Also when you exercise, your body releases endorphins which give you a happier, more positive, outlook. It is recommended that you engage in a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day. Find activities that you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine.

Good nutrition: The first rule of thumb here is simply to EAT! Do not skip meals. Food is your body’s fuel source- you NEED calories to function. To maintain a good metabolic rate, research shows you should eat every 3-4 hours. The second food rule is to eat a wide variety of quality food. Did you know that many of the ingredients in our processed food supply are foreign to our body? While your digestive system recognizes proteins and carbohydrates and fats, it gets a bit confused when we ask it to process ammonium acetate and Yellow #5. It is recommended that you eat food which is as unprocessed as possible. You should eat mostly complex carbohydrates and about a third of your diet should be lean protein.

Fresh Air: Rain or shine, it is important to spend a little time outside inhaling! Nothing smells better than fresh clean air after a rainstorm and the Vitamin D you get from the sun is the kind your body likes best.

Refreshing Sleep: I read recently that your body goes through 7 different stages of sleep, and that it needs a full cycle of each of these stages to recharge completely. One great bit of advice I got recently was to set the alarm for bedtime. Give yourself 8 hours, although most of us do well on about 7.5 hours.

Intimate Touch: Humans are social creatures; physical contact is a basic need. A recent study showed that women can lower their blood pressure by having their partner massage their neck for just 15 minutes (without sexual intent-which will most likely have the opposite effect.) Hugs are good for you too!

Self Care Exercise:  Take some time to consider ways that you might incorporate physical self care practices into your life each day. Small changes can have significant impacts when applied regularly.

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