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Beetroot soup. Photograph: Courtesy Sam Hofman/Riverford

A healthy pace A healthy pace A healthy pace

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A Healthy Pace

This Slow Sunday is dedicated to finding comfortable ways for achieving optimal health. By addressing our own wellbeing needs in a sustainable, steady-paced way we feel more able to act in a considerate manner towards our friends, colleagues and local environment. So, instead of racing to the gym or downing a supermarket smoothie, spend time this Sunday taking a leisurely approach to your own vitality.

Take a Health Speed Test

Fit and fast doesn’t always mean healthy. This applies to individuals as well as societies. In the same way that top athletes can become susceptible to illness or injuries if they follow a poor diet or don?t take time to rest and prepare for intense activity – a society will become unhealthy if it is solely focused on the ‘fitness’ or ‘speed’ of economic growth and neglects other wellbeing indicators. Supposedly strong and fast western cultures are increasingly becoming unhealthy. There are many interconnected, but modifiable factors that contribute to health. Here are some areas where you might like to check your speed:

Movement – Find enjoyable ways to exercise your body slowly. Activities such as Tai Chi and yoga can be done at home or in a park. These take your body through a full range of motion which helps you stay supple and strong. Doing them at a slow pace reduces the level of stress hormones in your body.

Breathing – there is a close relationship between how we breathe and how we feel. Do you take short shallow breaths from the chest or inhale more slowly and deeply from the abdomen? Taking steady deep breaths can improve your health and help your body deal with illnesses. Oxygen is vital for the function of the metabolic system, blood pressure, digestion, nervous system and the entire body.

Thoughts – racing thoughts can increase the levels of stress hormones that have a negative affect on your body’s tissues. Meditation puts a stop to racing thoughts and helps you re-focus on what is really important.

Food – from land to lips the journey for our groceries can be slow or quick. Rushing at any stage can destroy the quality and health giving properties of our food.

Water – with growing concerns about the personal and environmental health impacts of tap water and bottled water you may like to explore the possibility of collecting water fresh from a local, safe source.

Sleep – without a good night?s sleep even the simplest of tasks can feel like a struggle during the day. Simply taking time to plan for an early night can avoid the need for burning the candle at both ends.

Just a few small changes can make a difference and transform a life from one of frenzied convenience to one of healthy conviviality.

An essence of healthy living

We’ve chosen a selection of articles from the Resurgence archive that capture the essence of healthy living and present a creative perspective on the culture of vitality.

Siesta by Antonio Sanz Luque

Siesta by Antonio Sanz Luque

Over time, the frenetic activity of the day takes its toll: the senses take longer than normal to register reality; certain negligence by the neurons’ synapses leads to constant failure. It's at this moment that the Spaniard takes his or her place on bed, armchair or sofa to have a siesta. Spanish yoga.

A Daoist Renaissance by Anthony Alexander

A Daoist Renaissance by Anthony Alexander

Can China’s ancient Dao philosophy help its current ecological crisis? The philosophy of Daoism offers some hope that the latest understandings of environmental science can be balanced with an ancient environmental wisdom to offer a harmonious future for the East and the West.

A Precious Freedom by Shirley du Boulay

A Precious Freedom by Shirley du Boulay

The inspiring work of the Prison Phoenix Trust – a remarkable charity that brings meditation and yoga to people in prison, claiming that the cell need not only be a place of incarceration and restriction: it can be a place where the spirit can find freedom, even joy.

The Lady Buddha by Swati Chopra

The Lady Buddha by Swati Chopra

In Buddha-dharma, there are six perfections: generosity (openness of heart), ethical conduct, patience under provocation, energy to bring your life in harmony with the spiritual path, and then meditation and wisdom that arises from it. Anything we do is dharma practice provided we bring our attention to it properly.

From Sky to Sea by Kim Wilkie

From Sky to Sea by Kim Wilkie

Bottled water costs more than petrol and yet most of us flush around 50 litres of drinking water down the loo every day. Fifty litres is a tank of petrol. The water in our lavatory cisterns is as clean as that in the heavily marketed and transported bottles that line our supermarket shelves, but we are as careless of tap water as of fresh air. How can we be so inconsistent? On one level we venerate water with Evian and sacred wells; on another we treat it as a national nuisance that falls unbidden from the sky, spoiling our shoes and holidays.

Journey into silence by Gail Simmons

Journey into silence by Gail Simmons

I began to understand why those hermits found solace here, away from the distractions of the world. Breaking the comfortable daily routine of three meals, one relies instead on internal resources. The body empties, but the spiritual vacuum is filled. Despite the occasional pangs, I did not feel hungry, and I realised that rather than fasting I was feasting, and the vast, bountiful desert was my food.

Connecting with other readers

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