Exercise is one of the healthiest habits a person can implement in their life.
It comes with many physical health benefits, such as stronger muscles and bones, better cardiovascular health, and higher energy levels, to name a few.
Regular physical activity can also play a role in improving mood, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and promoting better sleep.
In order to get the most out of exercise, however, it’s essential to practice self-care.
If you’re mindful with your fitness routine, your mind and body will feel better, you’ll reap the most benefits, and you’ll be more likely to stick with your routine for the long haul.
So, here are six tips for combining your fitness routine with self-care.
Get Your Nutrition
As important as regular exercise is for people of all ages, it does little good unless it is partnered with a balanced diet.
Most commercial food today is loaded with saturated fats, refined sugars, and sodium, which can lead to a slew of health problems (e.g., heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, etc.).
Eating clean — which basically means eating meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other foods in their natural state — can significantly improve your health and overall well-being, as well as bolster your exercise routine.
Many people find it difficult to eat nutritiously because they think it takes too much time out of the day to prepare healthy food.
However, there are countless fast and healthy meals you can make by using kitchen tools such as electric pressure cookers (which can be purchased for under $60 on Amazon), which come in a variety of models.
Here are a few dishes that can be made in a pressure cooker:
- Fluffy quinoa
- Hard-boiled eggs
- White bean soup
- Paleo orange chicken
- Vegetarian frittata
- Sriracha chicken tacos
Keep Your Gut in Mind
Self-care is also beneficial for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Many people don’t realize the correlation between a healthy gut and mood.
More research points to the connection between the gut microbiome and our mental well-being, so it only makes sense to strengthen the gut for physical and mental wellness.
You can do this in several ways: limit antibiotic usage, incorporate foods with live cultures (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut) and consider taking a daily prebiotic and/or probiotic — or eating foods with probiotic and prebiotic properties.
Get Your Sleep
Sleep is essential!
Like with dieting, it affects the quality of your exercise routine.
When you are well-rested, you have more energy for your workouts and are also able to perform everyday tasks more efficiently because your mind is sharper.
Don’t let your sleep habits fall by the wayside; change your routine and aim to get around seven to nine hours a night.
Don’t Overdo It
Though challenging yourself can be beneficial, you want to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Combining self-care and fitness means that you get as many benefits out of your routine as you can without making yourself susceptible to injuries or health problems.
Make sure you tune into your body and listen when it tells you to slow down.
Also, don’t hesitate to make modifications here and there to accommodate any physical limitations you may have.
Mediation is another method of practicing self-care, as it helps you to focus your thoughts and remain present at the moment.
Many people find it beneficial to meditate for 10 or 15 minutes before their workout as a means to prepare for the physical and mental challenge that follows.
One way to prepare your mind and body simultaneously is to stretch as you meditate (stretching is also a great way to relieve stress).
Practicing yoga is another great way to integrate meditation into your fitness routine since meditation is typically an essential aspect of yoga.
Self-care is critical to maintaining a quality fitness routine.
Remember to form good eating habits so that your body gets the nutrition it needs, maintain gut health for mood and overall wellness and aim to get adequate sleep.
Finally, consider coupling your physical activity with meditation.
If you take care of yourself while you pursue your fitness goals, you’ll get the best results you could hope for.