188. Secrets of Health
Living in an active adult community, I realize that a key component of remaining active and vital is to not stop being active and vital. This is a major part of maintaining health. It is fortunate that Georgetown and Sun City Texas both offer many opportunities to find something that you find fun, engaging, and invigorating.
I think that finding that something is probably the hardest part of fitness and maintaining health. We all know we should m-o-v-e more but because of time and money constraints, we have all tried a program and dropped it because we really didn't like the activity. It just gets discouraging and expensive to always be trying something and then dropping out after a short length of time.
I am an early riser and I prefer a more contemplative form of movement rather than the energetic dance-based exercise classes. The misconception is that if you are not vigorously jumping around and sweating like a race horse, you aren't really doing anything beneficial to health. It has been scientifically shown that the slow and disciplined forms of exercise can lend more benefit to a person than just physical fitness. Gentle exercise, such as yoga, qigong, tai chi, and Pilates, benefit the body and the nervous system by alleviating stress, improving blood flow, lessening inflammation and strengthening the immune response, improving cognitive function and all this with a much reduced risk of injury.
As the majority of the population matures, we are all seeking ways of improving the quality of life. I have found qigong to be something that I enjoy doing and provides huge benefits without any pain. I recently filmed my qigong class because I wanted to share this ancient Chinese philosophy and practice of aligning breath, physical activity and awareness. You can view my video here and see what our hour-long class that meets three times a week is like. Qigong is part of the Alternative Health & Wellness Club at Sun City Texas.
Georgetown and Sun City Texas also have yoga, Pilates, tai chi, hatha yoga, and Nia classes that are offered at the Fitness Centers. There are also individual businesses around town that offer various forms of yoga classes. These all involve a more whole body-mind-spirit approach to physical conditioning, self-discovery and personal transformation. For those on a limited budget, you can always buy or rent an instructional DVD. There's even free classes online; just Google "free yoga online" or "free qigong" and there are online videos that provide instruction.
It is hard to embrace these gentler forms of fitness as beneficial when we grew up in the age of hard-core and high powered aerobics classes touted as the keys to the perfect body. But as we all age and are confronted with knees and hips that remind us of the abuse that has been endured, it is time to consider that the secrets of health are not so elusive. The secret is to move with care and respect for the only body you have, release the tension and stress, and have fun. The options are out there; find the one that feeds your soul.
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