By Sheila Olson
For busy people trying to stay in shape, finding a great workout routine is their ideal, the solution to concerns over weight, health and fatigue. Finding a way to stay physically active is important, but it’s not the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You also need to couple an exercise regimen with self-care to achieve personal well-being and an optimistic attitude.
In other words, exercise alone isn’t enough. It’s just as important to feed your soul and find time for activities you truly enjoy, whether that means doing yoga, hiking, swimming or dancing. Indulging yourself with activities that benefit your physical and mental health by incorporating them into your busy schedule really is an ideal situation.
A good combination
If you’re looking to couple physical fitness and self-care, yoga is a great way to combine the two. It’s a meditative form of physical exercise that increases muscle and joint flexibility and helps you achieve a heightened sense of self-awareness. Many people stay faithful to an exercise routine every day yet still feel unfulfilled - yoga is a merging of physical and mental discipline that helps make the important mind-body connection. If anxiety and stress are problems for you, yoga’s a great way to practice self-care. Consider setting up a space in your home where you can practice yoga free from distractions. If you’re looking for more intense workouts, you could even turn this space into a home gym.
Get a hobby
Hobbies are another great way to relieve stress. They channel your energies into the pursuit of a personal interest, something you’ve always been interested in but never got around to trying. Try learning French, trace your genealogy or take dance lessons, anything that engages your mind and body completely and provides separation between you and the stresses of everyday living.
Research has shown that pet ownership can improve mental health, even among people with serious psychological issues. It’s also a great way to counteract loneliness and feelings of social alienation. In fact, owning a pet often encourages people to become more socially active. It doesn’t just have to be a dog or cat: Many people derive health benefits from caring for a rabbit, guinea pig, fish or horse. You may be surprised how quickly a hobby becomes a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship.
If pet ownership isn’t possible or practical, spend time volunteering at an animal shelter, or consider offering a dog-walking service that combines a love of animals with a means of generating extra income.
If you find walking in the woods to be relaxing, consider taking up hiking as a self-care activity. People who hike on a regular basis experience reduced levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, reduced body fat, better control over your weight, and less risk of heart disease. Invest in some backpacks, hiking shoes, and water bottles and you’ve got a perfect family activity.
Swimming is another feel-good activity with multiple health benefits. It burns about the same amount of calories as a good, long walk. It’s also helpful if you have joint pain, want to lose weight, or need a way to bolster your cardiovascular health. Exercising in the water feels good, whereas going for a brisk walk on a hard surface can be a jarring experience and may aggravate sore knees or foot problems. Swimming is a great way to avoid all that while getting the exercise you need.
Don’t minimize your need for mental relief and the achievement of an optimistic outlook. Remember, physical exercise is just one part of your overall health quotient. How you feel emotionally and mentally are just as meaningful, so make time for those things you love to do, either by yourself or with loved ones.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.