Elevate Your Fitness Routine with Self-Care and Compassion

Regular fitness is amazing for your mental and physical health. But did you know that you can boost these benefits by introducing some aspects of self-care to your routine? During workouts, try to slow down and listen to your body so you can rest when you need it. Then, treat your body with this same care when you're not working out.

Recognize When You’re Pushing Yourself Too Hard

Care for your body by easing up on your workout if you experience pain. Normal physical responses to exercise include increased heartbeat, heavy breathing, and burning muscles. However, if you start feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or joint pain, it's time to take a rest. Don't push through exercise if you're experiencing abnormal pain. Self.com explains that feeling soreness as soon as you start a workout means you’re going too hard. You should still be able to talk during your exercise without needing to catch your breath. If you notice your body is struggling through your workouts, you may want to switch up your routine with gentler exercises such as yoga or swimming.

Understand the Importance of Diet

You’ve heard it again and again. Diet is key in fitness. However, most fitness junkies default to fad diets and complex calorie-counting. Instead, focus on replacing processed foods with natural whole foods and timing your meals around your workouts. According to The Telegraph, cutting carbs may not be the healthiest thing to do if you're working out. Instead, reach for whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Don't be scared of fats either! Fish, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts provide essentials fats that our brains need to function optimally. Finally, allow yourself the occasional cheat meal so you don't feel too restricted.

Drink More Water

Did you know that 75 percent of Americans may be suffering from chronic dehydration? If you’re consuming less water than the recommended daily minimum, your body may not be able to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. Water plays an essential role in helping our bodies eliminate waste and detoxify our organs. If you're regularly active, it's even more important to drink enough water to avoid joint pain, headaches, and fatigue. Try to avoid diuretic beverages like coffee, and sip some fresh water before your workouts instead.

Be Nice to Yourself

Make time in your fitness schedule to sit still for a little bit each day. This will give your body an opportunity to get some rest and give your mind a break from stress. During this time, stay away from your phone and sit with your eyes closed. Focus solely on taking deep, invigorating breaths of air. If sipping tea while listening to soothing music is more your thing, consider pampering yourself with an at-home spa day. And if you really want to up the ante, you can give yourself a massage with hot rocks -- just do whatever makes you feel at ease.

You can even practice mindfulness to increase your positive emotions and learn how to cope with negative feelings. This will help you power through exhausting workouts and avoid self-criticism during your fitness journey. Instead of feeling bad about yourself if you don't meet a fitness goal, try to engage in self-compassion on a regular basis.

Eat Healthy and Exercise to Speed Addiction Recovery

Recovering addicts face a long journey of battling cravings and adjusting to a substance-free lifestyle. One of the best ways to soften the transition to sobriety is through exercise and healthy eating. In fact, just educating people in substance abuse programs is enough to improve treatment outcomes. A proper diet provides recovering addicts with the vital nutrients to repair damaged organ tissue and boost their immune systems. Likewise, physical activity is a highly recommended supplement to addiction treatment because it provides a distraction from cravings and causes the release of feel-good hormones in the body.

Finding the perfect balance between fitness and self-care is a fine line between pushing yourself too hard and making excuses to rest more often than you need. Once you find a healthy daily routine that's focused on self-care, you'll notice improvements to your mental health, including reduced stress and anxiety. You may even notice faster results from your fitness routine as you provide your body with everything it needs to get in shape.

Sheila Olson, guest author


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