There are many approaches to examining your physical health. I have found that there are five major components that you need to be aware of when you do. They are your breath and breathing, your water intake, your quality sleep, your nutrition and supplements, and your actual body. That means through stretching and exercising, you need to address your strength, your mobility or flexibility, your balance, and your stamina or endurance. I am going to study each element for you. It means that you move! Take them all together, and you have your nirvana!

When you imagine that you were stranded someplace with limited resources, what is the first thing that you would notice? Would you observe that you didn’t have any food to eat, any water to drink, couldn’t sleep, or get enough air to breathe? What about moving your body? Do you want to stretch and exercise?

You can make it for at least one month without food. Without any help, you would be fighting hard to stay awake after 36 hours. The record for being awake is over 11 days. In about a day or two without water, you would be very thirsty because your body is screaming for H2O. But you would detect really fast if you could not get any air to breathe. After about 2 to 3 minutes, you are in trouble.

Your Breath

Have you been aware of your breathing since you had a stroke? Do you ever pay attention to your breath? I wasn’t concerned about my breathing. I knew I was breathing because I was alive! I still believe that the statement is true. I have realized that when I am conscious of the quality of my breaths and I do one of the breathing exercises, my day goes better!

Your Water Intake

For the first few years after the strokes, I didn’t even think about my water intake. I assumed that my thirst mechanism was working because I was adequately hydrated. I had enough to drink! Are you drinking enough fluids every day?

Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. In addition, to your “water out,” you need water for keeping your temperature normal and for lubricating and cushion your joints. Water intake can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate, which leads to weight control. What do you mean? Take a big gulp of water when you are hungry. When you are adequately hydrated, you will find that you want to eat less than you think or feel!

Your Sleep

It is essential to have a quality and adequate sleep period almost every 24 hours. Maybe you can sleep soundly for 8 hours. Or you can practice micro-napping or hypnagogic napping, which meant that a person never allowed oneself to drift into a deep sleep. Or you use polyphasic sleep, which is like the animals’ sleep. They nap 10-15 minutes often throughout the day. In other words, you nap regularly.

To get quality sleep, you need to focus on the light, sounds and noise, and your temperature. Remember, regardless, you need to be physically active every day. Go for a walk, garden, or do some exercise. Then you are tired when it is time to go to bed.

Quality sleep is vital to help your brain and body heal and function normally. If you have inadequate or poor-quality sleep can slow recovery, hamper cognitive function, worsen memory problems, and lead to depression. For stroke patients, who may be laboring to relearn basic skills, like eating, walking, or dressing, getting adequate rest is even more imperative because it’s a key part of the recovery process.

Your Nutrition

There are a gazillion diets or a way of eating or not eating (fasting). What matters is that you are moving toward health and away from feeling bad or ill. Make it a goal to eat or drink one item less that is unhealthy and eat or drink one more thing that is healthy.

It’s not my place to tell you which food and drink you consume. I can also advise you to periodically go beyond what you fast when you sleep for a long period. The literature abounds with recommendations to have a longer period of fasting regularly. I have my bias, but what is right for you, isn’t right for another person.

I bet if you “listen” to your inner voice, you will select what is spot-on for you. If you want to consult a nutrition “expert,” then you can turn to a member of a reputable certifying organization in your country. Beware that an “expert” can lead you astray. Trust your judgment!

Stretch & Exercise Your Body

Everybody benefits from doing regular stretches and exercises. Many do not, and they are feeling the response of not doing a regular workout as time goes on. I have been doing certain stretches and exercises since early on after the strokes happened.

I spent at least a half-hour more a day during the first couple of years after the strokes doing the movements, attempting to get my affected side awakened. Some of these movements I find that they are helpful. I still do them. Others I found that they didn’t seem to help me and I have stopped doing them. I can always do more, but I know that it is important to stretch and exercise my affected AND my non-affected side.

You will find that if you pay attention to the reaction you get to the stretch or exercise, you will decide if you are going to stay with it in your repertoire or stop doing the movement. The importance is to still do something and notice the result.

Now you know about the five chief factors that make up your physical body. When you have your breath, your water intake, your sleep, your nutrition, and your movement is all comfortable, you will rejuvenate every day. I can imagine if you have your day all sew up, eventually your life will be good!

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