With the year drawing to a close, I would be remiss if I did not revisit where I find myself now after the past couple–and really the past few–years of illness and struggle.
One of the most important health changes I have ever experienced happened in the form of starting a mild anti-depressant at the end of September. The changed I experienced upon beginning that medication is real and enduring and has enabled nearly everything else that has happened since then.
The biggest subsequent change has been to dedicate myself to a series of dietary and exercise changes in the hope of wrestling my life back from my health. I have virtually given up process sugars, modern grains, and processed foods. I have begun an intermittent fasting regimen. I have starting moving more than I have in years.
Specifically, I am walking and using a bike trainer, and plan to start running and attending a yoga class after the first of the year. If those efforts go well, I plan to start trail hiking and purchase an e-bike for longer-distance rides sometime in the next year.
I have begun using light therapy as part of a daily program that involves waking up using light instead of sound and also using a therapy panel as part of my daily routine. The effect this has had on my mood and energy level cannot be understated.
Perhaps most importantly, I am confident that I can do the things I plan for the first time in a really long time. I am hopeful for the new year, and those are strange words coming out of my mouth.
One of the ways I am increasing my daily activity is by using a concept called natural movement exercises. You can research the internet on the topic, but basically put, the process involves repeated sets of transitional actions like getting up from laying on the floor, standing up from a chair, and the like.
You might think these would be easy exercises and wonder what the point is, but if you’re at all out of shape, you’re likely to discover they’re not easy at all and are going to be the first step toward fixing the problem.
I have started a routine wherein I do about five minutes of these exercises every hour (I use a timer on my phone to keep me honest). My goto exercises are getting up from a laying position on the floor, crouching and standing, and walking up and down my stairs. The number of repetitions I do varies depending on my stamina at the time.
I can already tell the difference in the fact I am doing them in two particular ways: first, I am more mentally alert that I would otherwise be, and second, my back does not hurt as much as it normally does.
Granted, these kinds of exercises are not a replacement for dedicated exercise like walking, but throughout the course of the day, they help teach my body to be more active and, therefore, to use energy better. In the long run, especially as I am more able to do other kinds of exercise, these activities will help promote overall health.