Self-care is extra important during change of seasons. Please enjoy this article by our guest blogger Sheila Olson.
Sheila has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.
Self-care isn’t some new-age construct involving incense, candles, and chanting. It’s actually a critical component to living a healthier lifestyle that includes a balanced blend of fitness and relaxation. Many gyms have even incorporated self-care classes in their efforts to offer a well-rounded fitness experience for their clients. That just goes to show you how important self-care is to your overall health and wellness.
Self-Care for Your Fitness Routine
The key to a successful fitness routine is scheduling it into your day along with meetings and your kiddo’s dance lessons. Whether it’s a bi-weekly zumba or yoga class, a nightly jog around the neighborhood, or weightlifting and cardio, create a dedicated spot in your schedule to accommodate those activities.
When you’re working out, don’t overtrain. Rest days are critical for allowing muscles to recover. Most experts recommend allowing your body one day of rest after every two consecutive workout days. When you find that your body recovers more slowly, take a longer break — about eight to 10 days should do the trick.
You should also incorporate variety into your workouts. Mixing up routines also reduces the possibility of overtraining. Have sore legs from lots of running? Try laps in the pool instead. Spend an hour lifting weights five or six days a week? Consider opting for HIIT training or cardio-kickboxing a day or two instead.
Top trainers also recommend incorporating breathing exercises during workout sessions. Trainers also emphasize the necessity of warming up and cooling down muscles and hydrating regularly. Keep your mind 100 percent focused on your workout; unplug from social media, work emails, texts, or television shows. Create a playlist of inspirational songs and zone to the beat. Listen to your body’s signals, and treat yourself to a massage or long soak after a sweat session.
Find Your Relaxation Zen
Everyone benefits from relaxing, and you can do it in any way that feels good to you. For many people, self-care takes on the stereotypical look of a spa day. You can venture out to a nearby hotel or resort, or you can do it yourself at home as Angie’s List recommends. Put on some mood music, brew a cup of tea, and whip up a facial to restore your mind, body, and spirit.
Other people love a good hobby like knitting, coloring books, reading, or gardening to destress and relax. And everyone should prioritize sleep, which facilitates healing, reduces anxiety and stress, and improves memory. Treat yourself to luxurious sheets and soft, plump pillows. Add a noise machine and dark curtains. Unplug from electronics an hour before bedtime. Develop your own calming routine to help your body relax into sleep.
If you like sweets, have a bite of chocolate. Studies show that the magnesium present in chocolates helps relaxation. The popular treat also contains phenylethylamine — an endorphin-raising neurotransmitter — and anandamide, which fosters feelings of peace. You may also want to indulge in tryptophan-rich foods, like nuts, cheese, poultry, and soybeans. This nutrient raises serotonin levels that elevate moods and melatonin, which facilitates easier sleep.
Finally, try spending some time with your loved ones. Hugs and cuddles do wonders to reduce stress by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol.Furthermore, physical contact — with humans and pets — raises the love hormone, oxytocin. The old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” holds true here, too. Laughter lifts our spirits and also reduces stress levels.
Ultimately, incorporating self-care into your fitness routine is about finding balance. Schedule your workouts, but leave room for chilling out. Push yourself, but rest and relax in between. Commit to moving every single day, but choose activities you enjoy. Above all, remember that overall wellness includes a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
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