Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Strength for a Healthy Mind and Body

There are many mornings when my body wakes up before my mind. Sometimes a cup of coffee or a shower will make me more alert, but physical exercise usually works best. Even though I know this, I can’t always find the strength to break a sweat.

Something else I know is the importance of making the right food choices. My favorite meal in the world is fried chicken, but after I eat it, my body feels drained and exhausted. Yet I’ll get a six-piece dinner with a biscuit and battered fries and feast on it as if competing in a Popeye’s eating contest at a parish fair.

Everyone is entitled to a little gluttony, and rest and relaxation now and then. But how do we ensure that we don’t enjoy the world’s pleasures too much? Where do we find the strength to stay on track towards a healthy mind and body?

Vermilion Parish resident, Carl Hollier is a living example of the power of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He started his business, Olympus Wellness and Fitness, with his wife Julie, back in 1981 when he was only eighteen years old.

“At that age, you have no fears,” says Hollier. “I felt invincible because I had no huge responsibilities except for the business.”

Hollier always had an interest in fitness, so when he graduated from high school, he pursued his dream. But as he built his business, he also grew in other areas. In addition to raising two children with his wife, Julie, he also received an undergraduate degree in Pre-law, and a Masters degree in exercise physiology. He currently teaches special education at Gueydan High School.

“My family is my number one priority,” says Hollier. “My responsibility to them kept me focused on staying healthy and accomplishing my career goals.”

According to Hollier, there is nothing closer to the fountain of youth than exercise. Strength training prevents bone loss and can also aid in lowering fever due to illness.

“The right exercise program can reduce injuries and keep people healthy,” says Hollier. “But nutrition is equally important.”

Hollier suggests a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, proteins and unsaturated fats. These can be found in brown rice and beans, chicken and fish, and a variety of nuts like almonds and walnuts.

“A whole grain cereal with low fat milk is a great way to start your day,” says Hollier. “The complex carbohydrates will give you the energy to get through your morning.”

Hollier says that a reputable fitness trainer will listen to the customer’s goals and chart their progress. He/she should teach how to eat healthy rather than sell, “get fit quick,” products.

“Make sure your exercise program is designed to reduce injuries,” says Hollier. “Nothing is overnight. You’re not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in thirty days.”

Hollier says the best part about working at Olympus Wellness and Fitness are the clients. His most memorable one was a man named Mr. Montgomery who exercised until the day he died.

“You’ve run a successful company for almost thirty years while raising children, getting your masters degree and teaching school,” I said to Hollier when I interviewed him. “Where did you get your strength?”

“Knowledge,” he said. “I learned as much as I could about health and fitness. This and my wonderful family gave me strength.”

I am a firm believer that physical exercise is a major component of being mentally healthy. Use your newfound knowledge and find your strength today.

For more information on the services offered by Olympus Wellness and Fitness call 337-643-6069.

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