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Spring into action: Combat the effects of inactivity on mind, body, and spirit

Spring, even if in name only for many areas of the United States, is right around the corner. Here, in Columbus, Georgia, temperatures are rising while many residents attempt to emerge from a cocoon of lethargy that promoted survival of the record cold fronts that marched across the area almost on a weekly basis.

Ongoing inactivity is dangerous to body, mind, and spirit.

Ongoing inactivity is dangerous, according to Kristian Berg. Berg identifies five primary physical effects of inactivity in his book, “Prescriptive Stretching.” They are: (1) a heart that will do as little work as possible when it is not challenged which will prevent it from going the extra distance when it is necessary; (2) muscles that lose their elasticity, become stiff, and waste away with disuse; (3) joints with thin cartilage which also elevates the risk of arthritis; (4) bones that will become brittle and eventually lead to osteoporosis; and (5) withdrawal of capillaries which prevents necessary distribution of oxygen to muscles and other tissues.

The mind can also be negatively affected by inactivity. According to Gretchen Reynolds in the January 22, 2014, issue of the “New York Times”, inactivity can actually remodel the structure and functioning of the brain. Christopher Bergland, in the December 2012 issue of “Psychology Today”, highlights several of those consequences. Learning and memory functions are impaired, while depression and anxiety increase due to the reduction in release of chemicals in the brain which improves mood and decreases stress.

Finally, when the body (as the conceptualization of the temple) is not cared for properly and imbalance is present, spirituality is negatively affected. It becomes more difficult to maintain a positive outlook and to respond to others life’s challenges with clarity and wisdom.

There are activities that incorporate mind, body, and spirit directly during practice of their exercise and movement elements. One well-known and easily accessible approach is yoga. Residents of Columbus, Georgia, have the opportunity to participate in this meaningful and life-changing practice at two Unity churches within driving distance.

Atlanta Unity Church offers Hatha Yoga classes every Monday from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in Room 107 with Carol Romero, certified yoga instructor. These classes include relaxation, gradual stretching, correct breathing, visualization, and silence. Wear comfortable or exercise clothing and bring a yoga mat. A 6-week session costs $60 in advance and may be arranged by calling Romero at (770) 652-7427. Sessions are $12 each for walk-ins. Atlanta Unity is located at 3597 Parkway Lane in Norcross, Georgia 30092 (phone at 770-441-0585). The church campus is located outside I-185 (the Perimeter Highway) off Peachtree Ind. Blvd. Directions from Columbus, Georgia: From I-285 go North on Peachtree Ind. Blvd. (Exit 318/GA 141). Bear left on GA 141/Peachtree Parkway at the split. At the third light, go left on Jay Bird Alley (see Walgreen’s at that light on the left). Turn at the second right onto Parkway Lane at the Royal Peachtree Corners sign.

Unity North Atlanta Church offers several yoga opportunities. Carolyn Purvis facilitates both gentle/chair yoga at 5:00 pm and yoga for all levels at 6:15 pm on Mondays in the Peace Chapel. Please call Purvis at (404) 312-2042 for pricing of classes and to reserve a spot. Nina Vance facilitates a Hatha Yoga class at 10:20 am on Tuesdays in Kidz Room 1. Vance’s classes include warm-ups, slow stretches, guided relaxation, purposeful breathing, and meditation. Dress comfortable and bring a blanket and/or yoga mat. Each session is $10. Unity North Atlanta Church is located at 4255 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta, Georgia 30066. The church campus is located in the Atlanta suburb of East Cobb. Directions from Columbus, Georgia: Take I-75 North from Atlanta to Exit 276A – Canton Road (5 Spur) going north. At the first light, turn right onto Sandy Plains Road. Follow Sandy Plains for approximately 6.7 miles. The church is located on the left side of the road. Make a U-turn at the next intersection.

Resources for Home Study for Residents of Columbus, Georgia

The following text is available on Amazon: “Prescriptive Stretching” by Kristian Berg ($14.68 in paperback).

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