Weddings are strenuous affairs, and you want to be in as good of shape as possible because weddings are emotionally and physically draining. So, at least three months in advance of the big day, consider starting these healthy habits as long as a doctor would agree they would be safe for you so you can enjoy and remember your day as the great event in your life it should be.
1. Low Impact Aerobics
It only takes twenty minutes a day of skipping and squatting and twisting to get your heart rate-up to an acceptable level. Just doing 20 minutes of low impact aerobics makes a world of differences in how you feel. The key words for me are “low impact” and “twenty minutes” because I myself have some injuries I have to always keep in mind and my joints are things I want to keep as healthy as possible. Swimming and biking are also recommended activities for people who want an aerobic workout, but who need to be mindful of joints and injuries.
*TIP: While working out, you should be able to carry on a conversation without having to work hard to catch your breath; always return to a steady march to catch your breath; always keep water and a towel near by.
2. Deep, Slow Stretches
Another twenty minute daily activity that you can do anywhere after a little warming up are deep, slow stretches. Find a routine that suits you and your body, but make sure you are stretching out your entire body. I’ve misjudged my routine and missed out on stretching out key areas such as my neck and shoulders, which are places stress likes to roust. Move slowly and thoughtfully and really enjoy the stretches. Slow stretching eliminates many day-to-day aches and pains and prevents accidental injury. The older you get, the more important stretching becomes. Who wants to sneeze and throw out their back? Or slip on the steps and feel it for weeks?
*TIP: Stretching should be uncomfortable, but it should not hurt; also, flexibility takes time so don’t judge yourself by someone else’s ability to bend.
3. Strength Training
You don’t need abs of steel or to be ripped, but you do need good posture and enough tone in your muscles, especially your middle or core, to do all you need to do in your daily life. It makes all the light lifting in your life actually light. I recommend this because when your day comes, you want to keep a spring in your step and not just want to collapse onto the springs and coils of the nearest couch or mattress.
*TIP: Rotate muscle groups from upper body one day to lower body another day, but stick to your abs every day; also, you can’t bulk-up unless you are overloading and keeping to a special diet, so don’t worry about turning into the Hulk; do have a rest day every two to three days; aerobics is an everyday activity; strength-training needs rest periods.
4. Drink Tasty Water
In the morning drink a big glass of water, easiest done during a workout. This will help flush toxins out of your body. We are at risk for light dehydration because most of the things we enjoy drinking are things that take nutrients and leave toxins and don’t hydrate us. Just think of yourself as a bunch of pipes that need to be flushed daily and kept clean. There are many brands of flavor and vitamin drops you can add to your water which come in flavors like orange/vanilla and cranberry/strawberry.
*TIP: Fatigue is a sign of dehydration so if you are struggling, you may have deprived yourself of water, and your body is fighting you; keep water bottles ready to go in your fridge every day so you never have to search for them.
5. Eat for Nutrition
My nutrition motto, especially during the summer and early fall is “crowd out the bad.” I eat lots of colorful veggies and this helps fill me up so I’m not reaching so eagerly for empty calories. I don’t have to think so hard about nutrition labels or what else I’m eating wrong, and it gives me more willpower throughout my days, especially the late afternoons. Stress drives us to crunchy and to overload on carbs. I opt to overload on greens, yellows, oranges, blues, and reds. Then afterwards, I enjoy some crunchy carbs when needed. It’s up to you to determine what is a healthy caloric intake for your daily activities.
*TIP: Avoid dipping veggies, drowning them in sauce, and overcooking them; large salads with vinegar based dressings are friends; salads with creamy dressings are foes; measure your dressing or dip your bites into a side of dressing to lessen calories.
6. Become Mindful
Like with eating for nutrition more than for stress relief or pleasure, be mindful of how many steps you take in a day, how much sitting and slouching you do, and how many shallow breaths you take. Then become mindful of the deep breaths, deep stretches, and healthy habits you are adding to your long life.
I think the greatest relationship advice I’d ever been given is “If you love someone, you will take care of your health.”
It wasn’t about looking good or feeling fit for a marathon, it was about health and how you are marrying someone who is by and large vowing to take care of you “in sickness and in health.”
It is a vow we know. It is a vow we remember.
And having seen weathered couples, I will say taking it seriously is a great step to a happy, long marriage.
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