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How Holistic Health Starts with Exercise

Point To Ponder: What types of things prevent you from regularly exercising?

As we begin week 2 of our Very Merry Health and FITmas Challenge (focusing on regular exercise, routine self-care and disciplining our thoughts and words so they are constructive and non-critical), I want to emphasize how holistic health always start with exercise. First however, in the book a Complaint-Free Word, by Will Bowen, Will states that doctors estimate a staggering 2/3 of illnesses originate in the mind and that 67% of illnesses is a result of our thinking. In other words, when we complain about out body, focus on feeling bad, and think and verbalize negative statements about our body, the body listens and follows orders. There’s no doubt that: we are what we think and say we are. Furthermore, when we have destructive thoughts and verbalize them, we're either attracting light into our body, mind and spirit, or not.  

Now, think about the days you aren’t in the good mood, don’t feel like exercising and aren't feeling your best, yet you choose to exercise anyway and as a result of exercising, you always feel better!  In my 20 years of working in the health and fitness industry I have never heard anyone complain of feeling worse after exercise. In fact, how common is it to say or hear, “I am so glad I did that (meaning exercised). I feel so much better!”.  A healthy, happy and optimistic mindset starts with exercise and there is mountains or research and science to support this. 

Next, when routinely exercising, we sleep better. According to, people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day IF they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity. In addition, according to a great article in SHAPE magazine, a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine shows that getting seven to nine hours of sleep nightly goes beyond feeling restored. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, cytokine (immunity boosters) production is disrupted, increasing whole-body inflammation, which makes you more susceptible to chronic diseases. Inflammation is a root cause of autoimmune diseases, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes, and\ sleep is also super beneficial for muscle growth.

Finally, when we are sleep deprived our body naturally craves carbohydrates (sugar) which suppresses our immune system, negatively affects our energy and negatively impacts our ability to think and function optimally.  According to Psychology Today, research has tied heavy sugar consumption to an increased risk of depression. Sugar is also at the root of chronic inflammation, which impacts the immune system, the brain, and other systems in the body; inflammation has also been implicated in depression. Interestingly, countries with high sugar intake also have a high rate of depression. In fact, research has established a correlation between sugar intake and anxiety.

All in all, to accomplish holistic health, it starts with exercise:

When we exercise, we have a healthy, happy and optimistic mindset. Our thoughts and words are constructive and productive.  We feel our best! 

When we exercise, we sleep better and when we sleep better, we have more patience, joy, and muscles.  We are energetic, productive, sharp thinkers and have a strong immune system. We feel our best!

When we exercise we choose a healthy diet. When we choose a heathy diet we have great energy, high self-esteem, think clearly, are positive, healthy and strong. We feel our best!

Love, Neissa

Action Item:

Schedule and participate in 150 minutes of exercise (3-4 classes) this week. Make a note of your energy, sleep quality, food choices, mindset and attitude. We predict you'll feel your best!


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