By Michael George Hofrath MA. Ph.D. Candidate, 2016
A busy lifestyle is the norm for most of us. Our lives are filled with endless responsibilities such as parenting, career obligations, social functions and personal interests. Playing all these adult roles makes it difficult, if not seemingly impossible, to find the time to exercise. It can feel like we are constantly in a perpetual race against time. So when it comes to our "Top Five" priority list, consistent exercise and healthy nutrition practices tend to get bumped when push comes to shove.
We often shortchange our health by skipping, or shortening our workout sessions, and grabbing food on the run out of convenience rather than the inherent nutritional value. We sacrifice the healthier choice despite our knowing how good we feel after a good workout and when we eat healthy meals. In doing so we reduce our productivity, mental clarity and increase our stress levels. From purely a medical perspective we know that stress and lifestyle behaviors are the primary reason for 80% to 90% of doctor visits, while also play a significant role in almost the same percentages of chronic disease related deaths. When it comes to taking care of our fitness condition, and our capacity to look and feel fit, time is a primary concern. So what is the answer?
There are several solutions to our perpetual, and seemingly endless battle with time. They involve a shift in perspective, greater understanding of the science-based facts and a new product called the SomaSole. The SomaSole offers a total-body workout that straps onto the soles of your shoes and gives you a total body workout anywhere, anytime and in minutes, versus hours! But more about this amazing product later; first we need to shift our perspective.
Shift in Perspective
To understand the concept of a change in perspective wemust first understand that body and mind are intimately intertwined. The body, mind, soul connection is very real. Every physiological concern has a psychological consequence, and every psychological concern has a physiological consequence. Transformation in one area necessitates simultaneous development in all three areas for sustainable and long-term body transformation results.
Body-image is our western culture's mantra. More often than not the desire to lose weight is the primary catalyst that motivates us to clean up our diet and exercise more consistently. However, peer pressure, the onslaught of commercial media advertising, and our society's cultural standards regarding what an acceptable body should look like from a visual perspective, all play critical roles in our culture's obsession to look good.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with wanting to look our best, in my experience, how we feel in the body we wear everyday is more important. Why? Because, like it or not, we take our body with us everywhere we go. The body, mind and soul are not separate entities. In fact they are the sum of a completely balanced system. When the body, mind and soul system is out of alignment we are out of balance, and when we are out of balance, we are in dis-ease. We feel uncomfortable, scattered, discontent, frustrated, often even angry, or just plain lost. Additionally, this is when the insecure need to control our external environment begins to rear its ugly head, which in turn affects our behavior towards others, thus exasperating our dis-ease.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying body image is not an important consideration; on the contrary, how we look and feel about our body are both extremely important to a healthy ego and psyche. Often our self-esteem, self-identity, and in many cases even our vocation are each affected by how our body looks. This is true for psychologically healthy reasons such as self-respect, concern over quality and longevity of life. Conversely, too much focus on body image can also be unhealthy. Often this obsession with how our body looks can instigate potentially unhealthy psychological neuroses such as the constant need for approval or attention by others, self-obsession, narcissism, vanity and superficiality. Our body, mind and soul are in alignment when there is a balance between focus on how we look and how we feel.
Our psychological history is alive and present in everything we do and in the way we do it. This history is visible in the way we use our body, in the way we move, where we hold our tension, how we breathe, in our posture and in our physical structure. Our body provides all the psychological information we need through our bodies "subtle body" cues that help us better understand the motivations behind our own behavior. This is why body-awareness, actually addressing the body's needs, is so important.
How our body feels is a much more accurate barometer of wholeness and health than what the scale says. This body-awareness I am referring to has to do with being more mindful. Mindfulness allows us to be more present in our daily life. The more present we are in our life, the more apt we are to be aware of anxiety or dis-ease in the body, which in turn allows us to make healthier choices regarding daily exercise and eating healthier.
As an athlete and fitness professional I have spent much of my life training for various sports, several martial art disciplines, and training for general fitness. Make no mistake about it; I am proud of the way I developed my own body, my training expertise, and my track record of success in training my clients. However, several years ago there was a huge shift in my own mentality. I shifted my focus from more of a body image perspective to more about how I felt in my body. I also began coaching my clients on how to develop a deeper, more conscious relationship to their own bodies.
Something very strange happened within this process. I found this shift in perspective accelerated the speed by which I, and my clients, attained all of our body-image goals, not just a little, but by a lot! When we focus on how we feel in our body, when we work with the body, the entire system becomes more aligned to support all our heath and fitness goals. The bi-product is that our body transforms holistically and naturally. We do not need to obsess, battle, or force our body to change. When all systems are aligned and in balance everything becomes much easier. In my experience development of conscious body-awareness “how one feels in the body they wear everyday" is the most efficacious path for expedient body transformation.
Regarding science-based facts, and from a neurobiological perspective, research shows definitively that exercise releases all the chemicals that make us feel good. Endorphins reduce the pain associated with exercise and allow us to exercise longer and at higher intensities. Endorphins decrease stress and produce that euphoric feeling we refer to as the post-exercise high, while decreasing appetite and improving our immune response. Serotonin, another neurochemical released during exercise, is a natural mood enhancer. When levels of serotonin are increased, symptoms of depression are often decreased, which can reduce the propensity for heart disease.
BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is another neurotransmitter released in the brain in response to exercise. This chemical has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression and can enhance brain health and memory. BDNF can improve self-esteem, enhance our mood, increase memory capacity and mental functioning, while decreasing stress.
Our endocrine, or hormonal, system affects every aspect of how our body functions and feels. As such, how we eat and what we eat, affect our behavior, mood, libido, mental clarity, decision making ability, and our immune response in both a positive and adverse way. The healthier we eat, the higher the quality of nutrients we put in our body, the more optimally our entire body system functions. When the body's endocrine system is in alignment and our body is in balance we have a plethora of energy, sleep well at night and experience much less daily stress. We can count on our body to function consistently and we feel good inside the body we wear everyday. Eating a healthy diet is tantamount to looking good, feeling good, and living a healthy, dis-ease free life.
Now for the ultimate solution, the SomaSole! You can use the Soma Sole in your home, outdoors in a park, or when traveling. You can take the SomaSole to work for a quick lunchtime workout. The SomaSole offers the perfect low-cost, high-quality workout that anyone, at any fitness level, can use for a great total body workout. Just throw the SomaSole in a backpack, or small gym bag, strap it on and start exercising. Yes, it is literally that easy to get started with an amazing total body workout! The SomaSole is an exercise product that everyone should have.
The process of learning how to become more mindful and body aware is simple, but as any good health habit requires, it does take a little effort and daily practice. You can start being more mindful by slowing down in your daily life. Stop, pa-use and ask your body how it feels everyday instead of taking your body for granted. Schedule 10 to 15 minutes per day for yourself where you will just "be" and not "do" anything. Allow yourself this reflection time daily so your body, mind and soul system can sync-up and download what unconsciously needs to be processed. Include your body in your daily internal conversations. If you listen consciously, and with intent, you may be pleasantly surprised how your body, which by the way is your intuition, responds to your inquiries!
Michael George Hofrath MA. Ph.D. (Candidate) offers Whole Body Soul Health. He is a Somatic Depth Psychologist MA, Functional Performance Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Lifestyle & Wellness Consultant and Body Mind Healer. MGE Inc. is located in Los Angeles CA. Michael can be contacted for training, coaching, speaking, or for events, at 310-575-3500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.