As the health-care debate continues on a National level, it has put the press on me to re-develop my personal health-care plan. What are my priorities and what do I tend to align with that fits my life and the messages my body sends me?

Have you ever asked that question of yourself? Our bodies are constantly talking to us in a variety of ways: sending ‘pain’ messages; ‘I need more’ messages; even ‘will you like me?’ messages. Most of us wait for the 2 x 4 approach from pain messages while ignoring the “I need” messages. For the past few months my body has been yelling about needing more movement in my life, more exercise; while I have been coming up with a zillion reasons why I can’t or won’t, mostly focused around time management and lack of energy. I recently had a ‘come to Jesus’ conversation with my Heart that basically said: “You heard yourself panting as you came up that hill. You get tired easily and you need to admit you are out of shape. You have gained a lot of weight that has taken your freedom of movement away from you and left you feeling even less energized. Your diet is excellent but the long hours in an office chair are killing me and I’m not going to stand for this much longer.”

I’ve had a lot of stress in my life in the past two years birthing a book and the enormous learning curve that goes along with that; readying a house for sale that I had lived in for 26 years; selling said house and moving into a tiny apartment; and building a new home with oh so many decisions that’s still not quite done. I moved my office too into an office building for the first time in 20 years, so I would gather to say every familiar aspect of my past life was pretty much uprooted. We each have all sorts of valid reasons why stress can get in the way of a healthy life-style, mainly because change is always in action even when we aren’t choosing it. Yet, if there is anything we’ve learned in the last few years it is that STRESS is the foundational issue behind all disease. No wonder my Heart had to pound loudly in my ears to get my attention.

There are certain markers for a balanced life-style that offer critical information about our ‘condition.’ They can be discovered by taking a short exam:

  • Am I feeling generally healthy or in pain?
  • Do I have energy to spare or am I dragging?
  • Are my bowels regular like clockwork or am I constipated, bloated, and/or gaseous?
  • Is my body getting enough fresh air and exercise?
  • Am I sleeping well?

Our answers will tell us whether we are needing to hit our re-set buttons or if we are truly on a path of well-being.

I have been aware that for the first time in my life (other than during pregnancy) I have given up my waist line. I’ve had pain in my knees ever since our move a year ago that prevents me from wanting to exercise. I have been needing more sleep and experiencing more interrupted sleep. And I’m definitely not participating in enough fresh air and exercise to feed lungs and heart what they need to be healthy but luckily the bowels work great. What would your exam response look like?

My reset button was hit on Tuesday morning after yet another wakeful night and a previous afternoon shopping trip to buy a size larger! I decided to get up at 5:am and head out for a 2-mile walk – DAILY. Not every morning will be 5:am but by 6 at least. I realized I was the only one preventing my freedom of movement and the feel-good space one receives after exercising. According to the guidance of my Heart I figured this was not the time to jump into a hard, aerobic exercise plan but to begin at the beginning with gentle walking. It also gives me the fresh air I need to feel energized during the day while improving sleep patterns at night.

Another key benefit is that exercise lowers anxiety levels which according to is now in the #1 spot in the United States for mental health challenges. I’ll let you know soon whether movement improves my sore knees or not, but I believe it will be a positive remedy as I will at last be moving the ‘stuck energy.’