How to Balance Fitness With Self-Care
When it comes to exercise, it can be tempting to burn as many calories you can until you’re exhausted. However, this won’t help you reach your fitness goals. Being mindful about your fitness regimen, on the other hand, will help you feel good about your workouts and help you achieve your goals in a healthy and sustainable way. Here are some ways that you can balance your fitness routine with self-care.
Fit workouts into your busy schedule
Is your calendar filled with work meetings and social commitments with your friends and family? It can be hard to fit in physical activity when your day is packed. However, it’s important to make exercise a top priority because, not only can it relieve stress, it can help improve your overall mood. So, how do you fit in a workout in a day that already seems overbooked? Begin with small commitments — 10 minutes/day to start, for example — then work your way up. Try hitting the gym or going to a workout class during a time that truly works for you versus what sounds good in theory. For many people, morning workouts prior to heading to work are the best option. There are rarely 6 or 7 a.m. meetings already scheduled, you start the day off feeling great, and you still have time to attend to after-work responsibilities. Once you land on the best time for you, schedule the time on your calendar as non-negotiable and stay true to your commitment.
Choose exercises you truly enjoy
If you dread going to the gym and running on a treadmill, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated. So, instead of fighting with yourself to run mindlessly on a machine, try thinking of exercises that you actually enjoy doing. Do you enjoy being part of a community and practicing mindfulness? Try yoga. Are you a fan of the outdoors? Then go for a hike. Did you grow up with a love for water? Join a gym with a pool where you can swim laps. Do you enjoy movement and music? Dance lessons may be right up your alley. It’s all about finding something that doesn’t feel like exercise so you’ll be more likely to keep up with your fitness routine.
Start a fitness journal
If you notice yourself walking into the gym, unsure of what workouts you want to complete, you may be wasting your time. To prevent this and make sure you get the most out of your fitness routine, start a fitness journal to stay organized, stay on track, and feel accomplished. Keep track of all the workouts you do and when you do them. This can help you clearly focus on your goals and plan future workouts. A journal can also help you pinpoint exercises that you don’t enjoy doing or that are too hard on you, and you can figure out other ways to exercise those muscles. Whether your goal is to lose 50 pounds or to add to muscle mass, the easiest way to get there is to write everything down so you can see it more clearly.
Learn to relax
When it comes to your overall health, your mental and emotional well-being is just as important as your physical fitness. While exercise releases endorphins and makes you happier, there are lots of other ways to manage stress. For instance, you can pick a hobby like knitting, reading or gardening. Yoga and meditation are other good ways to incorporate self-care into your fitness routine. Finding a place in your home to use as a daily meditation space can make it easier to practice consistently and see maximum results. Of course, you should also be sure to get enough rest. Even if you’re getting enough sleep, you can improve the quality of your rest with noise machines, a good pillow, and blackout shades to eliminate light.
Adopt healthy eating habits
Eating greasy and sugary foods negates all the hard work you do at the gym. If you’re trying to stick to a fitness routine, you have to balance it with a healthy diet; otherwise it will be that much harder to reach your goals. Start off by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Our rule is, the more color on the plate, the better. Cut down on sugar (like soda or baked goods) and replace with water and healthy carbohydrates (like whole-wheat toast). You’ll start to feel a lot better and gain more energy, which will help you burn more calories during your workouts.
When you’re good to yourself, you can accomplish anything. If you want to get the most out of your workouts, be mindful of how your body and mind are feeling while you’re exercising.