Today's post is another guest post! It was submitted by Sheila Olson and it covers a topic that I don't have much expertise in, so enjoy it.
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It can be hard to stay mindful when you start working out. You can be so focused on losing those 10 extra pounds that you don’t enjoy the moment, or you push yourself too hard. When coming up with your fitness routine, it’s important to practice self-care. Not only will this help you get the most out of your workouts, but it will help your body and mind feel better afterward, particularly if you’re in recovery and searching for self-healing. Here are four simple ways you can improve your fitness routine and your overall well-being.
Don't over-do it
This is the number one thing to keep in mind when you step foot into the gym or hop on your bicycle for a trail ride. While it’s healthy to push your fitness boundaries to take your workouts to the next level, there’s a difference between strengthening your muscles and pushing them too far to the point it’s debilitating. If you start to notice shortness of breath, chest discomfort, nausea, fever, joint pain that lasts for days, depression and anxiety, or overall decrease in performance while you’re working out, you’re most likely overdoing it. When you overdo your workouts, it can have serious health consequences. Be mindful of the signs your body is showing you while you exercise, and know that it’s healthy to rest and take days off.
Eat a healthy diet
Behind every great fitness routine is a healthy diet. They go together like two peas in a pod. It’s nearly impossible to find the energy and motivation to work out when you’re putting foods and drinks loaded with sugar and fat into your body. Swapping out burgers, pizza and soda with salads, lean proteins and water will help you not only look better, but feel better too.
In addition to providing you fuel to workout, a healthy diet comes with other benefits as well, including protection against some cancers, reduced risk of heart attack, improved mood, clearer skin and improved sex drive. Go ahead, add some more fruits and vegetables to your diet and watch those calories melt away.
Try out yoga or meditation
While cardio and weight lifting are essential parts of a healthy fitness routine, it’s also crucial to make sure you work out your mind as well. This can be accomplished through yoga and meditation. Typically, yoga and meditation are used together, but you can absolutely practice either one without the other. Both of these practices help you to stay mindful and focus on the present moment, instead of worrying about everyday stressors. Yoga involves certain poses that help you build core strength and stretch certain muscles while meditation focuses on control of your breath to help your mind from straying from the moment.
Put down your phone
Ah, the smartphone. It allows us to capture moments instantaneously or reach out to loved ones wherever we are, but it can also be our downfall. Because we live in a culture of people addicted to their phones, it can bring added stress to your day. While you may need your phone during the day to work, try putting your phone away when you exercise. See how this makes you feel. Putting your phone away for an hour while you hit the gym or attend a workout class will help you stay present in the moment and help you focus on the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Your smartphone can be distracting, and taking time away from it will help you improve your self-care.
Try to keep in mind these four self-care practices the next time you start to exercise. It will not only improve your workout, but your overall well-being.
SHEILA OLSON 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.
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