By Amy K. Andrews
After injuring my back, I have happily traversed the road to recovery much like a baby learning to take a first step. It feels good to exercise again, and I smile widely, almost wanting to clap at my own accomplishment each time I have the chance to move my body. Likewise, sleeping soundly, without pain, allows me to catapult out of bed in the morning with a newfound zest.
What I have come to know, innately, is that our health is a gift. After my last post, one of PS’s committed readers reminded me of this fact. We must care for ourselves much like we do anything else that we prize in our life. We tend to our relationships, and to our gardens. We polish our cars, and spend time spring-cleaning out our closets. Let us do the same, now, for our bodies that hold us upright for all of our lives. As I begin anew, with a functional back, I feel the need to impart a bit of my simplistic, nutritionist, Pilates teacher wisdom to Positively Smitten readers. Together, let’s go back to the basics. Let’s keep it simple.
1. Eat Well
There is no doubt that each and every one of us is inundated with messages about our health on a daily basis. But just for a moment, let’s distill the health jargon down to its most basic form. Eat Food. Mostly Vegetables. Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. And avoid food that comes in a box. For me, I constantly refer to Michael Pollan on this front. His expert opinion is ‘don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.’ This just about sums it up.
2. Move Your Body
There is one differentiator between those who age well and those who do not, and that is the ability to keep moving. When we stop using our bodies, they go into a stagnant and stale state. Atrophy allows disease to creep in and breakdown to occur. As I tell my Pilates clients on a daily basis, there is not one form of exercise that is better than any other; in fact, I only advocate that people do exercise as opposed to not. It does not matter your size or your age, but it does matter that you move. Again, it is that simple. Just keep moving. Especially after you eat well.
3. Drink and Sleep
I am surprised by how challenging it can be to both drink plenty of water, and to get a good night’s sleep. For some reason, above anything else, it seems that these two tasks present the greatest challenge. But they are also vital to our cells maintaining elasticity and suppleness. My prescription: consume a cup of water during transitions and shift into slumber by easing away from technology and into self-soothing relaxation.
Anytime I leave the house, arrive at work, and depart from one place or reach another, I drink a cup of water. Simple. And when the day comes to an end, and I am moving toward slumber, I make a list of things I need to remember to do, and then I turn off my phone and my computer. This act signals to my body, and mind, that it is time for the stillness necessary to induce sleep. Indeed, like the others, it is an uncomplicated formula that provides a surefire and simple road to success.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.