I'm all about happy bodies. It's my underlying passion, creates the purpose for my work, is one of my hashtags on my social media posts, and is also my Instagram handle. It's why I do what I do.
In a day and age where there are so many people struggling with bodies that aren't happy, and where happy bodies seem to now be the exception in a world of pain and disease, I feel it's my calling to bring back the "happy".
I have a deep and profound desire to investigate the intricacies of people's unique bodies, and search for the very ingredients and elements that'll help those bodies to thrive. As the saying goes, "our body is our temple" – it's our one place to reside in for life. So it may as well be a happy one, right?
It's so far taken me about 15 years to really get a grasp on what encapsulates a happy body. What is it that creates a happy body? What does a happy body look or feel like? And why is a happy body such an important goal to strive for?
To me a happy body is one that can fulfil daily tasks without assistance or breaking down, is free of symptoms that alter how we live or move, has full function, moves freely, is robust, strong and mobile, exhibits consistently great energy, keeps us away from regular medical treatment, and that essentially serves us in the four realms – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A happy body is found inside a happy and resilient human.
So, I thought I'd throw down my top nine tips to creating a happy body that my 15 years of experience in health and fitness has taught me, and that I now regularly and consistently preach to my clients:
Our feet are the things that connect us to our world. They feed our body information about our environment and dictate how our body must respond to that environment.
If our feet aren't alive, don't' work well, are misshapen, struggle with balance, or are hidden in shoes more often than not, it's likely to affect other parts of our body further up the chain.
Happy bodies begin at the grassroots level – literally. Let's take care of ourselves from the ground up.
It sounds preposterous I know. But hanging is a lost art. Hanging builds strength in our hands, arms, shoulders and trunks.
Body runs a marathon on the inside when you're ill
Hold your right shoulder with your left hand for a moment, and now squeeze your right fist as tight as you can. Can you feel the activation in the right shoulder?
When we don't hang or have the need to solidly grip anything on a regular basis we automatically lose much of the strength that keeps joints and sections of our upper body happy.
Noticed how many people have shoulder issues these days? One clue… it's not from overuse of a gross motor skill...
This refers to our ability to move our bodies in the greatest range of motion possible. Do you feel stiff, tight, tense anywhere? If you do it's possible the myofascial networks in your body are holding you together more tightly than is actually healthy.
When adequate range of motion is matched with good strength, our bodies feel secure and happy.
For every degree of lessened range of motion we have, we have correspondingly reduced action in our organs and other bodily systems. Our external range of motion dictates the quality of our internal processes.
• Corinne Austin is a health coach and movement motivator (firstname.lastname@example.org)