Lightsha Zen welcomes guest author, Sheila Olsen of Fit Sheila
Exercise is one of the most powerful forms of self-care available to us, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Many of us work out simply because we know its the right thing to do, without truly enjoying it or appreciating how it helps our mind and body. But if you take the time to shift your perspective on fitness, you will find that you can take so much more from your workouts.
Choose Something You Love
This is the most important piece of exercise advice you can implement. Fitness is never going to feel enjoyable, fun, or therapeutic if you dislike the exercise itself. You should enjoy your workouts for their own sake, not for the effect you think they will have on your health. If you’ve never found an exercise you enjoyed, try one of these workouts for people who hate exercise.
Even if you do enjoy your exercise routine, it can be easy to try to speed through it to get to the next part of your day. Try to truly enjoy and appreciate the time you are spending working out by incorporating mindfulness into your routine. This article by Mindful shows you how to do it. A regular yoga practice can also help reinforce that mind-body connection, which can then, in turn, help you be mindful during other exercises.
Complement Fitness with a Healthy Diet
Exercise is a big part of being healthy, but food is just as important. A fitness routine without a balanced, nutritious diet to support it cannot give you the full benefits you desire. The impact of diet on fitness can be direct, as in the case of fitness-boosting foods, or it can be a more general and long-term effect. If you struggle to eat well, consider enrolling in a fresh food delivery service, which can send you either pre-cooked meals or just portioned ingredients based on a variety of recipes. These can help you with portion control and will encourage you to incorporate new and exciting foods and meals into your diet.
Have a Post-Workout Ritual
The self-care aspect of your fitness routine can extend to your post-workout habits. Giving yourself some form of reward after working out is a great motivator, and it can make the whole experience feel special. It’s okay for this reward to be some food (as long as you keep things reasonable), but there are also plenty of other ways you can treat yourself.
Don’t Overdo It
You may have heard of overexercising and how dangerous it can be, but that’s not exactly what we mean by overdoing it. According to Experience Life, it’s pretty hard for a normal person to overexercise. Instead, what you need to watch out for is under-recovery, as well as your other lifestyle choices such as sleep and diet. If your workouts are leaving you feeling exhausted or sore, check that you are supporting yourself with adequate rest, water, and nutrients.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your fitness progress is not only a great way to continuously improve, but it is also a great source of motivation. Seeing how your efforts are paying off makes you want to keep trying, and it can also give you a huge confidence boost. This doesn’t have to be weight-loss related — your tracking can take many forms. You can track your time on runs, the weights you are lifting, or just take pictures of your body as it changes.
If you are not enjoying your exercise routine, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Exercise should feel great for the body, both during and after, and should never feel like a punishment or obligation. Applying these tips to your fitness routine will help you find the pleasure and satisfaction that make exercise feel like self-care — even when it is difficult or challenging.