My health routine combines huffing and puffing with relaxation techniques and doesn’t involve props. Some might say I lean more to the stress relief side of the equation, but I also find time to exert myself daily.
I was prompted to write about this topic when I read a column in our local paper: “Bird-watching might mean better health, less stress.” Humans are so funny. They had to conduct a study to establish this fact, while we kitties have long known about the health benefits of bird-watching.
I will grant you that my kitty friends who go outside sometimes do a bit more than watch, as in chase a bird here and there. Me? Confined to the indoors, I either watch the Outdoor Channel from the kitchen and living room windows or in warmer weather from the screened porch. It’s Dad’s responsibility to keep all bird feeders stocked so that I have entertainment in living color—bluebirds, cardinals, goldfinches, you name it.
The study conducted by the University of Exeter in Great Britain “[f]ound mental health benefits—less stress anxiety and depression—when people can see birds shrubs and trees around their homes.” Well, duh! “The researchers conclude: ‘Birds around the home, and nature, in general, show great promise in preventative health care . . .'"
I, being the intelligent kitty I am, try to begin every day watching the birds. It’s my Ohm moment, followed occasionally by a calm purring spell in Mum’s lap as she drinks coffee. At some point thereafter, I stretch and then dash upstairs to do my sprint workout. Mum and Dad wonder why I seem only to sprint upstairs, not downstairs. Isn’t it obvious? I have an uninterrupted running track from the far wall of the guest bedroom, down the hall, all the way through Dad’s office—from one end of the house to the other.
I sprint back and forth over and over, while my parents are downstairs laughing at the sound of “dunt, da-dunt, da-dunt, da-dunt.” With that routine complete, I choose between napping on Mum and Dad’s bed or getting several treats in the office—when Mum is available to place them in my cute kitty treat dish, that is.
My interval workout along with leaping atop tables, beds, and the backs of couches keeps me in super aerobic shape; and my relaxation routines like bird-watching, meditating on Mum’s yoga block, and of course, napping ensure I’m stress-free. Mum has a lovely purple yoga block I’m partial too. I fold my paws on it and close my eyes just like a yogi.
Mum practiced yoga for years but gave it up when her long-time yoga teacher quit. She said it was her only calm time of the week because she focused solely on holding her poses without interference from a gazillion thoughts. Personally, I think she could benefit from finding a new teacher. Barring that, she could assume the lotus position and join me as I meditate. Repeat after me … Ohm.
Princess Puddin’ Penn resides in Georgia with her dad, her mom Kathy Manos Penn, and her canine brother Lord Banjo. Please send comments, compliments, and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. She appears in “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” a book that can be found on Amazon.