Without a doubt, Christy Turlington is a busy woman. She is a model, mother, and the CEO and founder of a maternal health organization. The 48-year-old is also a six-time marathon runner, who — in a recent interview published by The Cut — stresses the importance of wellness.
According to Turlington, wellness is “beauty, health, holistic health, being rested, feeling enough energy, and feeling naturally stimulated and open-minded.” She stresses that eating well and getting exercise are an important component for wellness.
What kind of exercise?
Turlington took up yoga several years ago as a model. She began endurance running five years ago. She said those two forms of exercise are her favorites and the ones she craves the most even now.
Does yoga really increase wellness?
As it turns out: Yes. According to a 2012 Australian survey, people commonly start practicing yoga for the health and fitness benefits of it, but continue practicing it for the stress management benefits that it provides. Yoga increases flexibility and strength, decreasing chronic pain in the lower back and joints, and often results in a decreased usage of pain medication, as well. Other benefits include mental and spiritual growth, and alleviation of anxiety disorders. It also positively impacts the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The yogi lifestyle encourages vegetarianism, cessation of smoking, reduced alchohol consumption, and increased exercise.
Beyond that, Turlington stated, yoga is something that you’re never to young or too old to start. Children are naturals when it comes to yoga, as they are flexible. However, her mother didn’t start until she was fifty. Flexibility is a mental issue, she added. You achieve flexibility in your body because you’re flexible in your mind.
How does endurance running increase wellness?
As with yoga, Turlington’s marathon training also is providing her body and her mind with important benefits. An article from Active states that running increases the level of good cholesterol as well as lung function and use. It also boosts the immune system and lowers the risk of blood clots. For women, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced through running. Additionally, running decreases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Running also provides benefits for mental wellness, including a boost to one’s confidence, the exertion of excess energy, improved sleep quality and a reduction in stress. Running is a tool to weight loss and even a few minutes of running can cause your body to secrete mood-improving hormones.
Turlington stated that, just before she runs each marathon, she always has a feeling of disbelief that she is actually going to do this again. However, that feeling turns to a sense of euphoria when the race is completed. She says she has never finished a race and not felt good for having done it.
What else does she recommend?
In the interview, Turlington shared that she used to be a cigarette smoker. Her father was a smoker also, and died of lung cancer when she was in her twenties. She stated that she knew smoking was unhealthy for her even before her father became sick, but when he passed away, she knew she would never smoke again.
Her first foray into public health advocacy was in smoking cessation. She became interested particularly in smoking as it pertains to women’s health because, she stated, smoking is more dangerous for women.
Is it really?
Yes. Cigarette smoking has been shown to cause irregular or painful menstrual periods, and women who smoke tend to go through menopause earlier than those who don’t. Post-menopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than non-smokers, meaning they’re more susceptible to broken bones. Women who smoke may have a harder time getting pregnant and there is an increased incidence of SIDS (crib death) in children whose mothers are smokers. Women are also more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression, and there is a link between smoking and depression.
According to figures from the Department of Health, a 2014-15 survey revealed that 12.1 percent of the women in Australia smoke daily, compared 16.9 percent of the males. Smoking has a higher prevalence in places of disadvantage and in remote areas. Cigarette smoking kills 15,000 Australians a year and results in $31.5 billion in economic and social costs.
The final word
Turlington stresses that the path to wellness is one made of baby steps. Open your mind to what is possible, and strive toward healthy activities and behaviors that you can keep your whole life long.