Congratulations to my friend and family member Michele Howe on the publication of her newest book Burdens Do a Body Good: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul). As I said in my endorsement of this great book, "In Burdens Do a Body Good, talented author Michele Howe and noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch team up to give women a resource for those moments when life seems to be spinning out of control. Advice on dealing with a wide range of physical and emotional challenges is delivered in manner that is always accessible, practical, and inspirational. Give this book to a friend who is going through a difficult time in her life, or give yourself the uplifting gift of Michele and Dr. Foetisch’s companionship and encouragement along each day’s winding path. Their words will help you transcend some of life’s greatest challenges with positivity and good health."

Michele has graciously offered to share a few excerpts from Burdens Do a Body Good here on the website over the next few months.  I hope you’ll enjoy them at purchase a copy of Burdens Do a Body Good for yourself or a friend – you will love it!

The Taskmaster of Time: No Time Like the Present to Change

"I have little hope for a future brought about only or primarily by human endeavors and initiatives. I have great hope for a future brought about by a God who pulls us forward by surprises and spurts, ambushing us with so-beautifuls and blessing the best out of our worst."  Leonard Sweet in So Beautiful

Time is such a nebulous factor, one that both commands us and paradoxically submits to our whims in equal measure. We either have too much of when we're left waiting for some important (to us) event to transpire. Or, we have far too little of it as we rush headlong through each task only to get through the next one and then the next. Time, either way you look at it, is laborious. It wears us out, frays our tempers, and tempts us to take matters into our own hands. Time (at its taskmaster best) can literally bring out the worst in us. Time is not easily mastered.

Time - though each of us is given the exact same amount of it, some of us are better managers than others. Why is it that a few individuals seem to breeze through their hours and days accomplishing only a fraction of what they might have planned (if they planned at all)...and it doesn't bother them one iota? While others, those more conscientious types, take every single item on their to-list and do not, cannot, will not, rest until every single entry is completed?  (Done with a vengeance, mind you.) Could it be even the super responsible among us inwardly know there's something more important that just getting stuff done and we're angry about it, because we know it's true and still aren't willing to give the thought of changing (ourselves, that is) the time of day? Some-times knowledge without the courage to head in a different direction is a like incessant ticking of the nearest timepiece.

Better late than never, sometimes it is best to call a timeout. Give it a rest. Stop and sit down. Close your eyes. Be silent. Be still. Then, take note. Begin to notice. Everything. Movements and moments and steps and gestures. Missing nothing. Paying attention to everything.

When we're unable to stop long enough for even this simple exercise, it should leave us wondering what's really at stake here? Certainly, there's more going on than running headlong through the day only to "get things done." When we're consumed by merely producing, we're missing so much more and this much more is where real life is going on. Our excuse is always the same, there will be time enough for that later on...when the work slows down, when the kids are older, when my parents don't need my help, when my health gets better. When the worst is over. And, just when exactly, will that be?
In case we didn't notice, there's a never-ending list of "when's" waiting one after the other that keep moving up on our endless to-do list of excuses. But if we're honest, and this is the best news ever...there's no time like the present. This precise moment is all we have, there's no getting it back once we've spent it. Or squandered it more likely by being busy, busy, busy people making our grand plans, believing we're doing everything we can to achieve our best, when in fact, all this activity just might be the worst choice we make. Eventually, every one of us needs to take to task our assumptions about life and time and how we spend them both. There's no telling what tomorrow may bring.

Takeaway Action Thought: There's no time to lose, literally, so do an about face turn and stop, refuse to move forward again without a focused point of action plan.

Weight Bearing Exercises for Body and Soul Health

As the pace of our lives gets increasingly faster, one season meshes right into the next, one year to another and before we realize it, decades have passed. It's especially true of women who pass key milestones in life but they're so pre-occupied by busyness, they forget the importance of self-care. So the question becomes, is it ever too late to begin taking better care of yourself? Are there ways every woman can make up for lost time? If so, what are they and how can women quickly implement such practices to give the most benefit in the shortest amount of time? What can women do to reverse the aging process? There are several lifestyle changes that can result in improved health and positively affect the aging process. Simple as 1, 2, 3...

  • ONE: Weight loss is one of the most significant ways to peel off the years, not only will you obtain the cosmetic benefits of weight loss, but you will also receive many physical benefits. These include less stress on your joints and back, reduced risk of diabetes, improvement in blood pressure, increased mobility, and better sleep. FOCUS POINT FOR CHANGE: Concentrate on lowering fat and sugar intake for fastest results.
  • TWO: Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Caution: too much sleep can have an adverse effect on overall health. FOCUS POINT FOR CHANGE: clock in your nighttime sleep hours, but do not nap excessively during the day. Researchers from the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute found that elderly white women who took a daily siesta were 44% more likely to die from any cause, 58% more prone to dying from heart problems, and nearly 60% more likely to die from non-cardiovascular or non-cancer causes. Those who napped less than three hours a week showed no increased chance of death.
  • THREE: Address your stress, as it is one of the biggest factors in premature aging. Stress causes the brain to produce chemicals that directly affect health negatively. FOCUS POINT FOR CHANGE: Exercise several times a week to add muscle mass and strength and also gain improved cardiovascular health. A study of 9,611 adults in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that those who were regularly active in their 50s and early 60s were about 35 percent less likely to die in the next eight years than those who were sedentary.

Excerpted from Burdens Do a Body Good: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul) Hendrickson Publishers, 2010

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