In regards to your health, practicing mindfulness has all kinds of benefits. Meditation can improve cardiovascular health, reduce insomnia and blood pressure, and help quell some of the effects of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, which can hinder our ability to regularly exercise. This can be done whenever you have a spare moment, or any time you feel like you need to ground yourself.
Do a little every day
The idea of ‘quality over quantity’ is often talked about, but for many of us it can be difficult to feel like we’re ever doing enough. Making a plan for your workouts and tailoring them to your own needs and goals, as well as making small choices every day to improve your life, will help you build long-term habits that you can stick to.
Rest and recovery isn’t a weakness
While intense training is certainly beneficial and can be energizing in the moment, understanding your limits and giving your body the time to recuperate can help avoid common workout injuries such as muscle pull and strain or pain and fatigue. This will allow you to give it your all for every workout!
Having something to work towards can help to improve motivation and feel a sense of achievement, and these goals are completely personalized to you and what you want for yourself. Whether you’re new to working out and you want to build up your stamina, or you’re a seasoned marathon runner trying to beat your record, setting a target for yourself can be a great way of giving yourself something to work towards that feels challenging yet attainable.
Listen to your body
You and your body are unique. What works for you won’t necessarily work for The Rock, and vice versa. Don’t be ashamed of going at your own pace. There’s a difference between challenging yourself and pushing your body beyond its limits. Remember to stretch, warm up and cool down before and after a workout, and give yourself permission to take adequate rest days.
Love what you do
Exercise is something we all need, and it shouldn’t be a chore. Finding something you’re passionate about, whether that be dance, yoga, weight-lifting, walking or circuits, will help keep the pre-workout dread at bay. Don’t be afraid to mix up your routine, ask friends for tips and tricks, or attend a new exercise class!
Form new habits, but don’t completely abandon old ones right away
We’ve all done it: decided that next Monday is going to be the day we finally turn our lives around, that we’re going to stick to a strict exercise routine, cut out the midnight snacking, and become the best version of ourselves. These bursts of motivation, unfortunately, can often be short-lived, and old habits die hard. Understanding that even a little bit of progress is progress is vital for keeping up with new lifestyle changes.
Give it time
Diet culture and exercise fads that promise to give you the ‘ideal beach body’ within a mere 30 days have arguably warped society’s perception of what fitness is. These trends are very often completely unsustainable for the average person and can leave us worse off than we were before. Developing your own healthy relationship with food and exercise can be a slow process, and you don’t have to adhere to any specific timeline.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like we have enough hours in the day. Many of us work long hours and just want to rest when we get home, and it can complicate things if the people we live with keep different schedules. Meal planning, such as making a meal schedule or batch cooking food in advance and freezing it for convenience, can be a good way of making sure you always have a nutritious meal on hand for those days where spending hours over the stove just isn’t feasible.
Manage your time
No matter what we’d like to believe, not everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Whatever you do to keep fit, it needs to revolve around what is accessible to you. Small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you’re able, or walking to the store instead of driving can add up and are all a step towards being more active.