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How To Improve Your Health... Without Exercise!

Feb 13, 2008
Take a look at the calendar. Has a new year rolled around? Is it approaching your birthday? Either of these two events may inspire you to self-assess and decide you need to do something to improve your health. Well, I have two words for you: Go Outside!

Get Out of the House!

Yes, that's right; you can improve your health simply by stepping outdoors. Close your eyes and visualize with me, if you will (ok, close one eye; use the other one to read along!). Step out your back door and look around. What do you see? The pecan trees blowing gently in the wind, a squirrel or two running up and down the trunk. Cardinals and blue jays are flitting about, calling to each other. The recycling bin needs to go down by the street...wait a minute! Don't look at that. We're focusing on nature, here. OK, back to it. The sky is blue, with a few puffy clouds floating by. Take a deep breath. And another. Walk out into the yard and simply look around at all nature has to offer. Continue breathing deeply and see if you can spot something small yet wondrous you may have not noticed before - baby lizards scampering in the grass or some new flower buds ready to burst open.

Once you've fully explored your backyard, take a seat and continue to relax. You may want to get a glass of lemonade (or cocoa, depending on the weather) to sip while you relax, clearing your mind of everything but you and your place in the world. Remember, this is a time to let the stress of the day go - not to rehash your anxieties. Think about the various muscles in your body, tensing them and then letting them relax as fully as possible. Is it warm outside? Use a fan or misting hose to keep you cool as you relax into the arms of the air and nature around you. Is it chilly out? Dress more warmly and light up your chiminea or outdoor fireplace. Pondering the flickering flames is a great way to unwind.

For many of us, getting all sweaty with exercise does not sound at all appealing as a way to unwind and de-stress at the end of a busy workday or week. Doing something, however, is necessary. You may not have to jog 5 miles to get in the right mindset to let your hair down - simply getting outside and enjoying what's around you can do the trick.

If you have the time and the desire and want to do more than enjoy your own backyard, check out the natural resources your community has to offer. Even the most congested of urban cities has some "green space" for residents to enjoy. A walk through your local park or finding a cozy spot at a nearby state or national forest to relax is sure to help you achieve the peace of mind you are looking for.
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