~ Lindsay Lynk, BSCHons Kin, CSCS, PISE Strength and Conditioning Coach
An important thing to remember as we approach a busy September is the holistic nature of health and well-being. Your body needs exercise, rest, good nutrition and positive thinking (note the word NEEDS). Let us tie together some elements that, if adhered to, will help you sustain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.
- Seek balance. Exercise is great, most of us need to work, many have families, and everyone’s busy. The best thing you can do for your health is avoid having too much of anything. Spread out your responsibilities in a way that allows you to put good energy into them without burning yourself out.
- Reduce stress. Our bodies are not designed to process days upon days of stress. If you expose yourself to chronic stress, your body responds by releasing a hormone called cortisol which actually triggers your body to store fat. When you see fat accumulating on your body, you may be inclined to restrict your caloric intake and increase your time in the gym, which only further stresses the body and confirms that fat storage is necessary. It can turn into a vicious cycle of dieting, over exercising and increased fat storage. Again, seek balance.
- Expect setbacks. Rarely, if ever, does an individual coast through their journey towards their goal without any kind of hiccup. Expect that you may get sick, you may have family difficulties, you may overeat, or you may get injured. It happens to EVERYONE. Be ready to modify your workout regime as needed when life throws you a curve ball; get professional help if you need to. It is never easy all the time – you must always pick yourself up and steadfastly pursue your goals. This is a great opportunity to see that you are a lot tougher than you think.
- Take time for yourself. Have a bath, read a book, go for a run on your own. You need time in your day where it is all about you and you are not running around like a crazy person looking after everyone else. You also need attention from you.
- Be patient. If you have goals, you have to relax and realize that everything takes time. You absolutely need to be consistent in the pursuit of your goals, but this cannot come at the expense of your sanity. Get personal trainer to support and encourage you or workout with a friend for that extra support. Enjoy the process!
- Be nice to yourself. Become very aware of your inner monologue. Are you saying things to yourself that you would NEVER let anyone else say to you? Watch those negative thoughts and drive them out of your consciousness. Negative self-talk can really hinder your progress and prevent you from reaching your goals. Only let positive, encouraging words enter your brain.
- Breathe. Yoga is excellent, as is mediation. Napping is also a great option, even if you end up lying awake in the dark for twenty minutes (as long as you can still your mind). Give yourself time in the day to do absolutely nothing and focus on your breath. (This is something that can help a lot with Tip 2)
- Enjoy the island. We live on the most beautiful place on earth. Go to the ocean, spend time in the forest, and swim in the lakes. The natural beauty that surrounds us is a gift to be cherished and being immersed in it is great for your mental health. Enjoy it!
Best of luck in your mission to become a healthier you. You only have one body so be good to it.