R & R and stress-control, the final keys

Last month, we talked about the four keys to wellness, including the first two, diet and exercise. Here are the other keys that can help you achieve both a healthy body and mind.

You remember how your heart dropped to your trousers when you discovered that you lost a key? But how about that euphoric relief that quickly followed when you remembered you have a spare key underneath that welcome mat that you should’ve replaced during the disco era? Hey, you may even do a little dance while grasping that spare.

The spare key of wellness: Rest and recuperation

“R&R,” like diet and exercise, is important for our body and mind to function properly. To reap the full benefits of rest, one should sleep at least six hours per day. I often meet people who exercise more than five days a week who are bewildered as to why they aren’t seeing any major changes in their physique. In many of these cases, something as simple as taking an extra day off from the gym will do the trick. Like how a caterpillar goes into a cocoon to become a butterfly, a trained body will grow and flourish during its moments of rest.

I don’t know many people who enjoy doing anything when they are tired. So think ahead. Make sure you get your zzz’s. Take a nap, if possible, so you can have the energy to get to the gym and complete your workout later.

The skeleton key: Stress-control

Now, I don’t expect many of you in this current generation of “Beliebers” and “Facebookers” to actually own a skeleton key, but bear with me here: If you did own one, it’d be the key to opening something special and personal to you. Those who have the skeleton key of wellness are not only the people who recognize those things that stress them, but who also know what to do to lessen that stress.

When I discuss the four keys of wellness with my clients, I often note that this one in particular is the most pivotal of them all. Stress is the one thing that can cause a person to overeat, not want to go to the gym and interfere with one’s sleeping habits. In a sense, it’s like when you grab one key and, in doing so, you drop all of the rest of them. It is very important that a person knows that stress is the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illness and disease.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to relieve stress. See, there is still a use for your skeleton key, after all! Popular methods of stress-relief are social interaction, owning a pet, massages or, my favorite, going on a weeklong vacation. It’s like the old saying goes, “Pressure bursts pipes.” While it is important that we give our all to our families, occupations, education, etc., it is also imperative that we plan a time to take a break from it all. Don’t be that person who hasn’t had a vacation since spring break of your senior year. Learn to treat yourself, not defeat yourself.

Well, there they are: the four keys to wellness. Which do you already have? Which ones are you missing? Thank goodness that we all are the locksmiths of our own lives. So why not begin to forge your keys today?

Rome Tatum is one of the more-than 30 registered personal trainers at 12th Street Gym. To learn about Tatum, visit www.12streetgym.com or Tatum United Fitness on Facebook.