As we move through spring, it’s essential to get your body going in ways that will bring you joy, benefit your health, and improve your well-being. This means it’s time to start exercising and getting out into the sunshine.
In winter we tend to get cooped up inside. Even if you’re the outdoorsy type, the winter solstice prevents you from getting the light we all need to stay healthy and happy. That’s why, as spring progresses and there is more sunshine available, it’s important to get outside and soak in that natural vitamin D.
Additionally, winter tends to be a time of Qi stagnation. We are bundled up, and our bodies are hanging on to all of the energy possible to stay warm throughout the icy and snowy months. Now that the weather is warming, you need to get your blood and Qi moving again.
How does one get his or her Qi in motion? One of the simplest ways is exercise! Spring is a beautiful time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, feel the vibrancy and beauty of nature, and start to move and stretch. Here are a few types of exercise we recommend you try this spring.
Exercise that focuses on stretching and contemplation
Yoga, tai chi, and qigong are all wonderful forms of exercise that encourage both movement and meditation. Not only does this make them the perfect activities for anyone who is feeling stressed, but they also help to release stagnation in your liver Qi, which one of the organs we focus on during spring.
While exercise techniques that specifically focus on the mind/body connection are your best bet for effective relaxation, you can include a few techniques inspired by yoga, qigong, and tai chi in your everyday exercise routines. These include:
1. Deep breathing. Consider your breath as you run, lift weights, or cycle and use deep breathing to ease into and out of the intensity of your workout.
2. Take some time before or after your exercise to slow down your mind and meditate. This can help you refocus for the rest of your day.
3. Focus on balance. It’s easy to forget that we are balancing all of the time - even if you are on two feet. As you work out, make precise steps or plant your feet firmly to help maintain that core connection.
If you have not practiced tai chi, qigong or yoga, it’s a good idea to try them so you can fully understand how to incorporate the above important aspects into your everyday workout.
The weather is getting warmer, and it’s more comfortable to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty by which we are surrounded. Take a walk outside, go on a nature hike, take your child to the park, or begin your yearly garden. Getting outdoors can help to improve your mood and get you an extra dose of naturally-occurring vitamin D.
Additionally, walking or hiking outside is a great way to make your workout more effective. The terrain is uneven, providing natural challenges to your core. Finally, enjoying nature and breathing in fresh air can benefit both your physical and mental health.
Adding mindfulness to your exercise routine, getting out and enjoying nature, and generally starting a workout plan are all excellent ways to benefit your holistic health. If you aren’t certain whether your body can handle regular exercise, I hope you’ll come in and tell me what is happening. We can work together to find the right Traditional Chinese Medicine solution for your difficulty - and get you moving mindfully.