Why you should care for your physical body
People tend to tell you to exercise and eat healthy to prevent “disease” which although true, this might not be the most motivating factor for many. When you look at health this way, you are looking at preventing a negative instead of looking at creating a positive. What if we look at this differently? There are many positive outcomes that can come from living a healthy life, but I think this one kind of sums them all up: Taking care of the physical body allows you to be in connection with your highest self and when you’re living as your highest self, you’re able to live your life fully in the way YOU want to.
The truth is, we are much more than our physical body, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of it.
When you dive deep into the practice of yoga, you learn that the physical body is not the true you. But you also learn that the physical body does allow you to interact in this world. You can look at the body as your “home”.
If you don’t care for your actual home and let it fall apart, chances are the rest of your life will start to unfold in a similar fashion; the same goes for the body. If you don’t put in the work to care for it, it’s extremely difficult for the mind and spirit to function at their optimal level. This is because the mind, body, and spirit are inherently connected. This means that each of them impact each other and that all of them need to be cared for.
And of course, like the actual home we live in, some things may “break down” that are out of our control. But when you put in the effort to care for the body, you are able to make the best out of this home that you’ve been given.
Taking care of your body doesn't have to do with physical appearance
It’s so common that we get caught up in what is deemed to look “healthy” in this modern world. But being healthy really has nothing to do with physical appearance. Being healthy can also look different for everyone.
For example, maybe one person thrives on a vegan diet but it doesn’t work for another. We are all unique beings and there’s not one formula for all in regards to health.
Also, I believe that it’s ok to want to make physical improvements to the body as I do believe it can help some people see when they’re reaching their goals, but this should never be the main focus. The main goal in regards to diet and exercise should be to feel like your healthiest and best self. When you approach health in this way, it’s much easier to make healthy choices because you’re doing it for you and your highest self.
Moving your body and exercise
Working out isn’t about getting a 6 pack, it’s about moving your joints and muscles and working your cardiovascular system. This is the point of exercise, to keep your muscles, joints, and heart healthy; physical appearance truly doesn’t matter.
When you don’t take time to move your body, things start to break down. Joints will get stiff and muscles will get tight and weak. Our bodies are designed for movement.
Like eating healthy, there’s not one set exercise plan for all. Find what works for you. What do you enjoy doing that will get you to move even on days when you don’t feel like it? What feels good for YOUR body?
Exercise is also a way to keep our energy flowing so it doesn’t get stuck and stagnant. Sitting and working at a computer all day is not what our bodies were made to do. Obviously many of us are at the computer for much of the day for work which we cannot change. That’s what makes it so important to carve out the time to move your body. If you sit at the computer all day at work and then go home to sit in front of the TV, your physical body will not be happy long term. Taking even just 30 minutes to move your body can make such a difference.
Eating healthy: food is fuel
It’s important to eat healthy for no other reason than it’s the fuel for your body.
If your car requires premium gas, should you put regular in it? It may still run but probably not as efficiently and this could damage the engine over time. Same goes for the body. While it’s not as simple as using regular vs premium gas, as we all respond to foods differently, you want to eat food that allows your body to run at it’s optimal level. Feed your body food that will keep it energized and feeling good. Provide it with the nutrients it needs and give it food that feels good on your digestive system.
Feed your body high quality, nutritious foods. Learn to read the ingredient labels and learn what ingredients to avoid. I read labels on everything which can be time consuming at first but it won’t be forever. Once you know your go to products, you’ll only have to read the labels when you want to try something new. Your body deserves the highest quality as it’s the only home you get!
Eating healthy doesn’t need to be “expensive”, but I do believe that sometimes you do get better quality when you spend a little more.
Health is an area where spending more money and being more selective is invaluable. What you put into your body can completely change your life for better or for worse, so it’s a decision to take seriously. I know that depending on your situation this may not be possible, but here is something to think about.
If you can get meat in the grocery store for $1, $5, or $10 per pound, honestly what kind of quality food do you think the $1 per pound meat is? There’s a reason that it’s the cheapest. Imagine the conditions of the animal or farm to be able to get it on your plate for $1.00 per pound. Imagine the food that they feed that animal. Is that something you really want to put into your own body? Not even getting into animal welfare, if you spend a little more, maybe the animal was grass-fed or pasture raised, all things that make it healthier for you to eat.
Again, I know financially that this may not be possible for some but just something to think about the next time you go food shopping.
Relationship to your mind and energy
Now we may not feel perfect physically everyday, but we can do our best to make healthy choices. These healthy choices for our body help us to achieve a healthy mind and helps keep our energy flowing nicely. Food is our direct source of energy. Also, certain exercises can impact how our energy flows in specific ways.
Things such as our body’s mobility and our digestion directly relate to how our energy flows. Remember, mind, body, and soul are all connected. For a general overview of how our energy relates to our physical body, read this post: What are the chakras?
Being healthy is more than just exercise and diet
Being healthy is not only about diet and exercise. While these are very important parts of living a healthy lifestyle, you can be the healthiest eater and work out consistently but if you’re living in a constant state of stress, this will not be good for your health. Stress wreaks havoc on the physical body so finding ways to manage stress is super important.
Other factors such as sleep, air quality, and proper hydration also play a role in a healthy physical body. I’m sure there are many more, this is just what is coming to mind right now.
Your body is your home
This change in outlook has been so empowering for me and I hope it is for you too. When I choose foods I think about how I am feeding my “home” and how I want it to stay healthy. It doesn’t mean I never allow myself to eat sweets etc., it just means that overall, I make the choice to feed my body food that will fuel it in a good way.
This has also changed my perspective in regards to working out. Instead of having to stick to a specific schedule, I go with how I feel each day. I do what I feel my body needs on each specific day. If it is normally a leg day but my body is feeling super tight, I’ll do yoga instead and be ok with that.
This is why tuning into your body’s needs is so important. Your body will let you know what it needs if you listen.
I hope you’re inspired to make healthier choices starting today! You and your body deserve the best.
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