Paths to good health and fitness can take many forms, but for some Benicia practitioners, they optimally lead to a place where people feel a sense of inner satisfaction. Beauty almost always follows, as looking good goes hand in hand with great health—a harmony of body, mind, spiritual and emotional well being.

Benicia Fitness owner Joy Rund says that good health is more than just working out a few times a week, but involves what you eat, the way you treat your body, and finding ways to empower yourself. True beauty is beauty that comes from within. “I strongly believe you don’t have to weigh a certain number to feel good about yourself. It’s finding that place where you feel happy, finding that place that’s important to you,” Rund said.

In a new year, resolutions to pursue good health are common, and Benicia has a wealth of resources for helping people to feel better, look good and make lasting lifestyle changes. Benicia skin care therapist Barbara Patrick remembers it was once tough to find a spa, or a place to get a facial, but that’s changed dramatically. After 25 years running a spa and offering skin care, she’s encouraged by the many choices. Good health often starts with the desire to look your best. In her skin care practice, Patrick’s work focuses on skin health rather than appearance. Facials are combined with massage to reduce stress and add a sense of well being.

Benicia is rich with fitness options, including CrossFit and many other types of fitness centers, yoga, kayaking, canoeing, Pilates and biking. In the personal appearance arena, locals and visitors alike can seek out hair stylists, nail salons and even tattoo parlors to boost their reflections of inner and outer beauty. Spas and practitioners offering ways to relax and gain health are abundant.    

Encompassing many is a holistic approach to addressing health, fitness and beauty. Not the least of these is good nutrition, particularly after the holidays’ sugary and fatty smorgasbord of unhealthy food. For Benicia chiropractor DeAnne Miller, holistic health is a broad and deep awareness of a person on many levels. “It’s really looking at an individual not only as a physical person, but also how we think and interact with others emotionally and spiritually. Thoughts make a big impact on our body. We live in a society where we are in this chronic ‘always going’ mindset. We push ourselves. We are always on the go,” Miller said.

Thoughts stored in the body can lead to tension, headaches and insomnia while painful emotions are often components of physical diseases plus “dis-ease,” or imbalance in the whole being, she adds. Mindfulness, meditation and techniques to diffuse blocked emotions help lead to optimal health.

CrossFit707 owner Kara Purves also takes a holistic approach. “Fitness is so much more than a 90-day challenge or trying to lose weight to look good on vacation.  It’s the whole package—getting enough exercise, eating well, drinking enough water and getting a good night’s sleep,” she said. “Mental health is also vital. Meditation, paying attention to thoughts, attitudes and taking time out, even a few minutes, from phones, computers and running around reduce stress and lead to calm and equilibrium.” It can make a big difference in busy lives. “Once you take care of yourself you can take care of the people you love and everything else in your life. That’s what so empowering—it all starts with you,” she says.

Regardless of what path is taken, a key piece of advice is to recognize it takes time to change. Purves said there are no magic pills, fast lanes or easy answers. It takes a desire to change and a commitment to follow through.

Miller advised patience and compassion. “It’s really about being gentle with ourselves. When we fall off the wagon we want to respect ourselves enough to get back up and continue. The main thing is to drop that ‘all or nothing’ way of thinking, and to look at ourselves as a whole.”