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The holidays have finally come to a close, work and school are back in full swing, and routine is beginning to set in place again. February is a month when life begins to resume normalcy, resolutions for the new year are set in motion, and also happens to be National Self-Check Month. The celebration of self-checks began as a way to encourage everyone to stay on top of their health and catch preventable health conditions or early signs of disease. This period is a reminder to check in with your body and take charge of your own health in several ways.
Self-check month is not only about making doctor’s appointments, but it highlights the acts of self-care that can be done on a daily basis. Drinking plenty of water, making better food choices and getting enough sleep are all forms of self-care. A major component of self-care that’s especially prevalent at the start of the year is exercise. Being active not only boosts your mood and alleviates stress and anxiety, but it gives you the chance to check in with your body. Exercising regularly leads to having a better understanding of how your body should be functioning and feeling on a daily basis and can help you to notice any early signs of feeling “off.”
There are countless ways to work out and constant new exercise trends on the rise, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to find what activity is best for you and your body. Activities like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are wonderful ways to move and strengthen your body, but also allow you to move at your own pace, focus on your breath and look inward to reflect on how your body is feeling. More energetic activities like hot yoga, Zumba and other aerobic workouts are great for increasing your heart rate and getting your blood and oxygen pumping throughout your body. Similar to the benefits of exercise, another way to show your body love is water circuit therapy. Combining the effects of hot tubs, saunas and cold baths, circuit bathing has proven beneficial to relieve soreness, improve range of motion and reduce overall fatigue.
Whether you struggle with a chronic illness or are in peak shape, National Self-Check Month returns every February to remind us to pay attention to the signs our bodies try to show us. It’s easy to take running on auto-pilot for granted and ignore small signs here and there. As author Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “If your body is a temple, you can pile up too much deferred maintenance.” Self-Check Month enforces tuning in and taking action to preserve the one body you have.