5 great gifts for your body

Here are five gifts you’ll love to give to yourself!

Great skincare

Love the skin you’re in is a great mantra for aging. Taking care of your skin will give your complexion a boost as well as your spirits. For best results consider a skin care routine that includes:

– Sunscreen: both in summer and winter, the sun’s rays can be damaging to your skin. Consider a moisturizer that includes a sunscreen (has an SPF rating).

– Moisturize as well – a light moisturizer during the day and a heavier one at night can help protect and rehabilitate the skin.

– Gentle cleansing with a product designed specifically for the face.

– Drink lots of water to keep skin hydrated and elastic.

And habits to avoid? Smoking, lack of sleep, and stress all take their toll on the skin as well as other organs of the body.

For more information about skin care visit www.skincareguide.ca for an impressive amount of information — although do note that this site is a sponsored commercial site.

Give a stretch

Keeping your body flexible can contribute greatly to well being and quality of life. It also can help to mitigate or prevent aches and pains that accompany aging. Yet many of us spend too long sitting at desk chairs or in front of the television and too little time getting up and stretching. Put this important area of exercise back into your life:

– Build a stretching routine into your day, perhaps while watching a TV show or listening to the news.

– Try a yoga or Pilates class at your local gym or community centre.

– Set a watch or computer alarm to beep every hour when working at a desk or table and get up and stretch for 3 or 4 minutes at that time, breathing deeply.

Check out the Mayo Clinic’s guide to stretching here: www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretching. (Note the link at bottom of page that leads to a slide show for how to stretch major muscle groups.)

Indulge in a massage

Massage is the kneading and stroking of the body’s soft tissues — the skin and muscles — with varying degrees of pressure. Studies have shown that it is beneficial in treating lower back pain, arthritis, diabetes and may even have a therapeutic effect on Alzheimer’s patients. Try one of these:

– Swedish massage is the most common technique in North America and involves long strokes, kneading, and tapping techniques to improve blood flow and promote relaxation.

– Shiatsu or its more generic term, acupressure, applies pressure to specific points with the thumb, finger, and palm to release muscle tension and increase circulation.

Check out Massage.ca/ for information for consumers and massage therapists in Canada.


Exercise restraint

Overindulging in food, drink, and shopping can lead to indigestion, dehydration, and debt — not to mention possibly contributing to depression and lethargy. Your body will thank you if you make careful choices rather than going overboard.


Laughter truly is the best medicine — even for heart patients as a 2005 University of Maryland study has shown. Laughing produces hormones that reduce stress levels and relax blood vessels. So go ahead and rent your favourite comedy or relax with a comic novel. (For more ideas, see Bring more laughter into your life.)