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5 Eastern Wellness Tips for a Healthy Father's Day

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What will you do to show Dad some love this Father's Day? Instead of giving him another polo shirt, watch, gadget or liquor, think about giving him the gift of good health. Most dads are not exactly known for spending a lot of time worrying about their own health, and juggling the responsibilities of career and family can take a toll on anyone. Father's Day is the occasion to show your appreciation. It's also an opportunity to help your father get some balance and feel better. Here are five ways to give him the day he deserves and kick start some habits that will keep on giving!

1. Give Eastern Exercise a Spin. Sure, it's his day, and if Dad wants to kick back and watch the game, that's fine. But downtime should always be balanced with a minimum of 30 minutes a day of exercise. Walking or biking are good forms of aerobic exercise. To get Dad doing something new, look to the East. You could buy him some classes, and better yet, join him.

Eastern workouts generally take a holistic approach that connects the body and mind. The ancient martial art of Tai Chi combines soft, flowing movements to get the heart pumping while increasing strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Speaking of flexibility, yoga has been shown to provide many health benefits -- strengthening immunity, easing migraines, and even boosting sexual performance. For another twist, ease him into Qigong, a form of physical and mental training that combines breathing exercises with gentle movement. It's been practiced for thousands of years in Asia, and is known to improve balance and coordination as well as relieve fatigue, stress and depression.

2. Lay His Stress to Rest. Fathers often carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Too much stress can lead to health problems like heart disease, headaches, asthma, obesity, diabetes, and even accelerated aging. Show you care by being aware of Dad's stress levels and throwing him a lifeline.

Arrange a soothing acupuncture session for him. The ancient practice of acupuncture is not just for pain relief. It's also an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. In fact, some large companies offer their employees acupuncture and massage as preventive care in their on-site clinics. If needles are not Dad's thing, Asian massage and bodywork offer great alternatives. Using acupuncture points, Chinese Tui Na, Thai massage and Japanese Shiatsu are three forms of Eastern bodywork that combine compression and stretches to improve flexibility, relax muscles, improve blood flow and relieve pain and stress.

3. Serve Him a Rainbow. Encourage Dad to ditch the "beige" foods, such as potatoes and bread, and switch to what I call the "Yin-Yang" or balance diet, with 5-10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables of all colors. This will ensure that he gets all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (disease-fighting nutrients that give fruits and vegetables their color) he needs. Eating the rainbow can strengthen the immune system, lower the risk of cancer and diabetes, reduce blood pressure and maintain heart health, improve memory, and keep bones and teeth strong. You can get Dad started on the right track by making him a delicious, healthy dinner based on the traditional Asian diet, which focuses on vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains. This very healthy way of eating can help Dad maintain a healthy weight. It also meets the accepted standards for a heart-healthy diet that helps prevent hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.

4. Let Dad Get Some Shuteye. After his workout, de-stressing session and a hearty Asian meal, Dad should get some much-deserved sleep. The benefits of sleeping well include reduced risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes, as well as stronger immunity, better memory, and a better sex life. If he's managing his stress, getting exercise and eating healthy on a regular basis, Dad should have no trouble getting a good night's sleep every night.

5. Finally, Give the Man a Hug! Okay, this one is not strictly Asian. It's universal! Studies have shown that hugs can help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, fight infections and lift depression. So, go ahead and give dad one of those great big bear hugs. It benefits you both.

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