We live in one of the most fittest and healthiest places in Australia. We often have triathlon events, surfers at Noosa, runners on Alex hill, mountain climbers on Ngun Ngun, dog walking at Kawana and health cafes popping up everywhere. Who wants to stay inside on a sunny weekend? NO ONE!
Spring is the season of regeneration and growth and connects to the liver organ. The days become longer and we want to spend more time outside, especially living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast!
Here are some tips and strategies fitness wise and to support liver health:
From a Western medicine perspective, the liver is a very important organ that stores blood, produces bile, processes toxins and aids in our immune function.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, it also has a major influence on the smooth flow of energy (life force) to move throughout our bodies. When something blocks this energy flow such as lack of exercise, stress, pent up emotions or an unhealthy lifestyle; the liver becomes agitated/blocked/stuck, which can lead to symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, PMS, tight muscles, mood swings, digestive discomfort, pain in the body and headaches.
So what can you do to your liver energy/life force to flow smoothly in the face of every day activities?
Exercise: The best way to get your energy moving is to move! Different types of exercise suit different people. Some people do really well with vigorous exercise such as long runs or high intensity interval training (HIIT), while other people are more suited to slower, gentle forms of movement such as walking or yoga. I have personally found a mix of both types of exercise to be beneficial. If the gym is a bore, then find something you enjoy, it might even be a group fitness class where you can meet new people. This spring I’m into swimming, yoga, running and resistance exercises. Get those endorphins flowing !!!!
Diet: It is important to eat foods that will cleanse and improve overall liver function. Sour flavours belong to the liver/gallbladder function. Having a squeeze of lemon in warm water first thing in the morning invigorates the liver to get moving for the day and vinaigrette dressings can be added to salads. Leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, spinach and chard support liver detoxification pathways. Artichokes contain a flavonoid which is a strong antioxidant – meaning prevention and cleansing of free radical damage to cells. Try to reduce the amount of dairy, alcohol, greasy and deep fried foods, and excessive salt.
Manage stress – Stress plays a part in all of our lives, and a small amount is healthy, but its just how we manage it all that counts. Dealing with issues, conflict in relationships, pent up emotions, work situations etc. Seek professional support if needed but otherwise have a ‘self care’ approach to your day to day lives. Rest when you need to, have health treatments such as acupuncture or massage, exercise, take moments to be in nature and soak up some vitamin D, express how you feel, plan your day and week ahead.
It’s the little things that count. See you in the pool!
Yours in health,