You possess an amazing power. And you may not even know it. All women possess this power, although many aren’t aware of it.
Don’t worry – it’s not a weird “magic” sort of power. It’s simply this – the power to improve your health, and at the same time to strengthen your marriage. Many of the health problems we experience are tied to our habits – the choices we make in our lives, day in and day out. Fatigue, irritability, and low energy, as well as serious condition like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, are closely linked to those daily habits and choices.
Our “power,” though, is that we can improve things like our energy and vitality and reduce our risk of getting sick, simply by making different choices and establishing new ways of doing things. Here are 4 habits that can unleash your power to improve your health, while creating additional benefits for your marriage.
• Move your body every day. My #1 health tip for women is to get up and move your body every day. Some of that movement (4 or 5 times a week) should be exercise – 30 minutes or so of planned activity that raises your heart rate and breaks a bit of a sweat. And some of it should simply be moving your body throughout the day – getting up from your desk, off the couch and out of the car and just moving. That combination – planned exercise plus regular movement – provides tremendous benefits, including increased energy, reduced stress, better sleep, and decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You don’t have to go to a gym – instead, find ways to incorporate exercise and movement into your day. Walk at lunch, walk while the kids practice soccer, dance with your husband, exercise with a DVD, or ride bikes as a family – anything that gets you up and moving.
Marriage Benefit – Regular exercise helps you look and feel better. It helps you take charge of your body, rather than feeling like pregnancy, breastfeeding, childrearing and aging have taken charge and are ruining it! All of these things build confidence, which can benefit all areas of your marriage, especially sex and intimacy. Plus, exercising with your husband creates a bond and a shared interest. My husband and I have walked and talked while our boys rode bikes, while they played at the playground, and before, during and after their soccer games. (Now if I could just get him to try dancing!)
• Feed your body well. Our bodies operate best when we feed them real, whole foods. They need fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and protein (dairy, fish, meat, or eggs). They don’t need much added sugar or added chemicals, or any artificial fats. Processed foods, which contain many of those ingredients, contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and they don’t provide the kind of energy most women need to get through their busy days. In fact, they can make you feel “weighed down,” rather than energized and ready to go. So begin adding more real foods to your family’s diet, and gradually begin cutting down on processed foods. Serve fruits as snacks, add an additional vegetable to each meal, make some of your own sweets and treats, add fruits and vegetables to smoothies, and use your Crockpot to make “fast food.”
Marriage Benefit – Eating well helps you and your husband look and feel your best. It can help both of you lose weight. Perhaps most important, a healthful diet plays a key role in preventing “lifestyle diseases,” like diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which create worry and stress and can impair sexual performance. You want to grow old together, and the best way to enjoy your life now and in your later years is to do everything you can to stay healthy.
• Control your family’s schedule. “Wait a minute,” you may be thinking, “that’s not a health habit.” Maybe not directly, but your family’s schedule plays a major role in your health, peace of mind and marriage. Many families are on the go all day, every day. They’re running from one activity to another – only to collapse into bed at the end of the day and do it all over the next day. When that happens, there’s little or no time for relaxing, exercising, cooking real food, enjoying family meals, managing stress or simply enjoying life. Controlling your family’s schedule can help you change that. The basic idea is simple in concept but difficult in practice – you and your husband control your family’s activities, rather than letting them control you. Doing so may mean making some tough decisions. One of the toughest may be that you decide to cut, cancel or streamline some of your children’s activities. Or maybe you have difficulty saying “no,” and need to unload some of your own commitments. Either way, bringing your schedule under control will free up time for taking care of your health and mental health and simply enjoying your life as a family.
Marriage Benefit – Controlling your family’s schedule can free up time for you and your husband to focus on each other and your marriage, which is good. It also allows you to establish your marriage (not your children’s activities) as the focal point of your family, which is great for the two of you and for your children.
• Make love frequently. Want to feel less stressed and sleep more soundly? How about reduce pain and boost your immune system? If so, add more lovemaking to your life. Regular sex does all of those things and more. It can also promote bladder control (by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles), increase libido, and reduce high blood pressure. For husbands, regular sex can improve prostate health and may reduce heart attack risk. It’s like taking a powerful medication, but cheaper and a lot more fun!
Marriage Benefit – We often think of sex as something that just benefits our husbands, but that isn’t true! Making love regularly is great for wives, great for husbands and great for the two of you as a couple. Regular sex brings you closer together. It “smooths out” some of the rough spots in your marriage, and helps you focus on the things that matter and let go of the things that don’t. It’s (probably) the primary way your husband builds an emotional connection with you. And it’s fun – when the daily grind feels a bit too tedious or stressful, sex adds some fun and relaxation to your life.
What are your best tips for boosting your health and strengthening your marriage? Please share them in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.
(This article first appeared as a guest post on To Love, Honor and Vacuum.)