The concept of “living your best life” has captured our attention. It conjures up ideals of living the fulfilling and satisfying life for which we all dream.
However, the pandemic has shattered many of those dreams and the recent report on stress in America tells us war, inflation, and money issues are increasing stress levels and contributing to an alarming increase in inactivity, unhealthy eating, and poor sleep. Consequently, physical, mental, and emotional health problems are on the rise as the body has become Ground Zero for the stress of our time.
Caring for the life within our body is thus an essential first step to living life at its best. And exercise, consuming healthy food, and taking the boon of sleep are essential to assuring your body is living its best life so you can live your best life.
The Best of Life Within You
Perhaps like most people, your greatest fear is not death but rather the dreaded specter of age-related declines in physical health; the onset of chronic illnesses and pains; the inability to get around; developing dementia, and becoming completely dependent upon others.
These age-related declines naturally result from a gradual depletion of the power reserve of our vital organs (eg, kidneys, liver, heart, brain). Although every organ builds up a power reserve exceeding what it needs to function under normal conditions, exposure to prolonged stress accelerates the rate of depletion and puts our organs at risk of being severely damaged.
Certainly, over the past year, the power reserve of our organs is likely to be rapidly depleted by the heightened levels of chronic stress, increasing inactivity, consumption of unhealthy foods, and poor sleep. Severe cases of Covid-19 have also taken a toll, causing damage to multiple organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Making matters worse, the rapid decline of our organs’ reserve renders us increasingly powerless to participate in satisfying and fulfilling ways of living life.
Unlock your super power
Each and every one of us is a superpower; the center at which our organs’ reserve of power combines and is utilized to initiate ways of living. Accordingly, our ability to live life, at its best or otherwise, cannot be separated from the power reserve of our vital organs. It would behoove us to figure out how to replenish the reserve by making sure our organs have the nourishment and rest they need to live their best life. Thus, every evening, after a hard day of work and play, we need to take the boon of sleep and let our organs revitalize themselves as they feast on the nourishing foods we consumed during the day.
There is something mystical about exercise. When you exercise your body is vitalized. Energy surges through your being as you become a force of greater magnitude among nature’s forces and a center of power commanding every cell in your body to work together and become something more than just “a body at rest.”
You and your body like that feeling of being vitalized.
Is it any wonder people always report feeling really good after exercise? Is not that feeling of being alive, what living your best life is all about?
Energy, forces, power, and work are more than Newton’s phenomena of motion; they are the phenomena of life. Throughout the cosmos it is the same phenomena of motion; the same flow of energy; the exertion of forces and power, and work that cause the planets to spin and orbit around our sun; the rivers to run to the sea, the wind to blow through the trees, and the blood to flow through our veins. It is each center of power; galactic black holes, our sun, the violets of May, and you and your body that is unique in the way each transforms the chaotic barrage of incoming energy, forces, and power into the phenomena of life.
What is truly mystical about exercise is how it transforms energy, force, power, and work into the phenomenon of living life at its best.
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The enabling force
Exercise is an enabling force that enhances our physical and cognitive abilities, adds years to our social and emotional well-being, potentiates and expands our possibilities for living life at its best. Exercise increases the whole of the energy, forces, and power that hold our physical and social lives together.
Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, the life-enhancing benefits of exercise do not discriminate.
The phenomena of exercise are necessary during these stressful times.
When exercise, your body becomes more cohesive and resilient, and you become a greater force of wholeness among nature’s forces. Even during this pandemic, infected individuals who regularly exercised had a significantly lower risk of experiencing severe illness, hospitalization, and death compared to inactive individuals.
In these stressful times, exercise promotes greater physical and emotional well-being, and preserves higher levels of cognitive functioning. Moreover, exercise maximizes the benefits of good nutrition and sound sleep creating a synergy of efficiency that enhances the restoration of your vital organs’ power reserve; increases storage of energy, density of bone mass, and greater force producing capability.
The upshot of these exercise benefits is not just a higher level of resiliency to all kinds of stress, but possessing the energy, strength, and ability to live independently and enjoy getting out, socializing, and doing things with friends and family.
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Remember this: ‘We are’
Perhaps a wiser and more mystical concept of life and its phenomena of “we are” is needed during this time of escalating levels of stress. You and your body, your family, friends, community; you and this planet we share with other living systems, are the unified embodiment of the inseparable phenomena of life’s “we are.”
Ironically, the old “I think, therefore ‘I am’” philosophy separates us from our body and teaches us to scorn our body and other living systems. And therein we greatly err. Throughout life, every “I am” is the wholeness product of a “we are.” Our notion of “living my best life” must encompass the “we are” of every cell, organ, and organ system working, striving, and thriving together to live their best life and become something more; the whole that you proudly assert when you say “I am.”
Throughout the ages, learning to live life at its best begins with a philosophy of wholeness that guides thinking and turns it into striving and working together to become the best life has to offer. Exercise, good nourishment, and sound sleep are the pillars of this wholeness philosophy, providing vital support while building a core of resiliency against the stress of our times.
They make you a pillar of strength, a center of power, a force of life ready, willing, and able to venture out and participate in social and ecological adventures of life; ready to contribute to the mystical wholeness that has made us the best life has to offer and compels us to live life at its best.
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Stephen J. Almada, Ed.D. is a Health Psychologist and Author of Exercise, Life, & Love: The Making of a Sedentary Society.