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Friday, 10 August 2018

Finding the balance between Fitness and Self Care

Fitness is one of the many self-care rituals that people take part in, but some mistake fitness as the be-all and end-all of self-care. While exercise certainly benefits your mind, body and spirit, it isn’t and shouldn’t be the only form of self-care you incorporate into your daily life. If you aren’t sure how to find the proper balance, these tips should help:

Fitness is Fundamental
So we already discussed that exercise shouldn’t be your only form of self-care, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop doing it. Exercise is a treatment plan you can use no matter what life circumstances you are facing. Those in addiction recovery often find that regular exercise occupies the mind, blocking negative thoughts and promoting positive thinking. 

The effects of exercise are so powerful that it can stimulate nerve connections that have been damaged as a result of substance abuse. Regardless of whether you are in recovery, having mental health issues, or simply aren’t happy with where you are in your health goals, regular exercise keeps you moving forward by offering stress relief and improved heart, lung and immune system health.

Adjust Your Exercise Routine
When it comes to exercise, it is a myth to think that lifting weights or running miles on the treadmill are your only options. There are several low-intensity options that allow your brain and mind a chance to rest and recover such as barre or yoga. Many gyms are now offering and promoting restorative care pre- and post-workout through services such as spa treatments, saunas, massage chairs, yoga, and meditation.

fitness and self care
Photo Credit: Pixabay 

You don’t have to depend on the gym to get your daily dose of self-care. Choose a quiet spot in your home to set up a meditation room or corner where you can not only meditate, but also do yoga, read, journal, or simply enjoy a few minutes of quiet. Do some light stretching before and after your workout, or end a particularly difficult workout with a slow, paced walk. Exercise is meant to get your heart rate up, but you also need to bring it back down with a cool-down.

Refuel Properly
All that logged time exercising is great, but just like your body needs rest, it also needs the proper fuel to keep you going at 100 percent. Think of your body like a car engine. If you fill it with sugary snacks and fatty foods, all that sludge makes you tired and unable to perform at peak performance. You need carbs, but of the healthy variety such as whole grains, fruits and veggies. To really jumpstart your day and be able to power through your workout (and day in general), make sure you are getting enough protein. Rather than a bowl of sugary cereal, opt for protein-rich eggs, almonds, or yogurt. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you are fueling your body with the right nutrition. Plus, when you aren’t tired and sluggish, you’ll feel less inclined to supplement with caffeine, which can leave you feeling anxious and jittery.

Check-In Weekly
When was the last time you checked in with yourself to see how you are doing? Personal trainer Alicia Agostinelli suggests that at the beginning of each week you ask yourself one important question: “What am I doing to take care of my mind and body this week?” Perhaps there is something you can add to your routine to refresh yourself. There could even be something that isn’t working for you anymore and needs to be removed. When someone asks how you’re doing, the knee-jerk response is to say that you’re doing fine, but maybe you aren’t, and that’s OK. By checking in with yourself weekly or even daily, you can address any issues that may crop up before they start wreaking havoc.

Fitness is just one of the many pieces of your self-care routine. In addition to exercise, be sure you are participating in restorative activities such as yoga or meditation, and refueling your body with the right nutrition. Check in with yourself each week and adjust your self-care routine as needed to be the best you that you can be!

Guest Blog Post by:
Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.

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