Keep moving and take it easy: Try it, you'll like it!

Balancing yourself, spirit, mind and body will help you stay healthy, counselor-trainer says.

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Balance and alignment, with body-mind-spirit all in harmony, is part of the plan for health, according to Chris Zagelow, a somatic experiencing counselor and personal trainer.

"It's not just wanting to be skinny, it's not just fitness. I call it "lifeness," she said. "It's about body-mind and spirit. It takes inner depth to get it accomplished." She often works with seniors, veterans and other special populations.

Zagelow combines relaxation with exercise, often using meditation music during the exercise session.

Zagelow has been involved in this pursuit for a long time, she said. Her interest and experience in the health/fitness industry goes back to about 1978. Her background has always included activity, as just a natural part of living. She grew up in an active family where time wasn't spent lounging around.

"I'm glad I grew up in a time where we only had one car and we had to chop wood and hang clothes out to dry," Zagelow said. "I never sat still as a child."

"Kids today sit in front of the computer," and face all the stress of highly competitive and overscheduled lifestyle, she added.

Activity was always part of her chosen path. "I was a PE major," she said. However, even in school she had a different approach. It wasn't about winning a game or what she perceived as outdated techniques. It was about what went on inside the individual.

A big part of Zagelow's emphasis is on education and on changing one's perceptions of oneself. She finds that you get better results if you focus on positive things rather than working out for hours while you focus on all the stress and frustration you feel.

"The No. 1 cause of bad health in our country is anger and high belly fat," she said. This combines with the frustration from living at a fast pace, with constant stress and physical inactivity. Zagelow said humans still have all their natural instincts and abilities, such as fight or flight for survival, if there's imminent danger. But if you're sitting at your desk in a panic, heart racing and adrenaline rushing with no physical activity to accompany it, you get all of the ill effects of the stress with no natural resolution to it. According to Zagelow the six leading causes of death are stress-related.

So she developed what she calls a "peaceful approach to fitness," to counteract the anger and panic in a typical stressful lifestyle. With parents rushing around in the morning, the first thing many children ex perience each day is being upset. And the stress continues all day.

Most of Americans are stressed to the point of illness, Zagelow said. The important thing is to differentiate whether the heart rate is high because of sugar and adrenaline or because the muscles are working.

"We take better care of our cars than we do of ourselves," Zagelow said, adding that people weren't designed to be on high alert all the time, on the fight or flight treadmill all the time. Another thing she suggests is the healing power of laughter, and slowing one's pace of life. "People are always in such a hurry," she said. "Start out slowly."

And be sure to focus on what you've actually accomplished, Zagelow said.

"Eat. Move. Breathe. And enjoy life more."

Karlene Ponti can be reached by calling 509-526-8324 or by e-mail at karleneponti@wwub.com.

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