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For Better Health, Try Fitness From the Inside Out (Published 2022) – The New York Times

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A career in health journalism has taught me that when it comes to living well, it’s the inner workout that counts the most.

When I first started writing about health more than 20 years ago, my columns mostly focused on the physical body: A healthy diet, exercise and screening for disease were regular topics.
But over the years, the health lessons that have stayed with me haven’t been about physical change. The biggest improvements in my own health and well-being have come from inner fitness.
Inner fitness means focusing your energy on your emotional well-being and mental health rather than berating yourself about your diet, weight or not getting enough exercise. It can include mindfulness and meditation techniques, a gratitude routine or a variety of other practices.
This inside-out approach to health ultimately can lead to changes in your physical well-being, too. Research shows, for instance, that mindfulness can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, lead to better eating habits and reduce chronic pain.
“Inner fitness means developing the mental, emotional and spiritual skills and practices that foster resilience,” said Tina Lifford, author of “The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness.” “I’d like to see the idea of inner fitness become as ubiquitous, well understood and actionable as physical fitness.”
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned about inner fitness since starting the Well section nearly 15 years ago, because I’ve decided it’s time for a change. Although my talented colleagues on the Well desk will continue to write this newsletter each week, this is the last time I will be doing so.
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