Prioritizing Self-Care is the Key to an Overall Healthy Lifestyle
The physical and mental benefits of exercise make it one of the best things you can do to reduce stress and improve your overall life. However, overdoing it can cause even more stress on our bodies and minds than we had before establishing our fitness routine. Stress can be detrimental to our health, and making time to minimize it is essential for a balanced life. Alongside exercise and nutrition, self-care must be prioritized to achieve an overall healthy lifestyle.
Most people know the benefits of a steady fitness routine: weight management, more energy during the day, better sleep at night, boosts in mood and self-confidence, and so on. But it’s easy to overwork in the gym or on the track, and exercise can actually become an addiction that eventually leads to health problems. For instance, exercising too much or too hard can lead to catabolism, tearing of muscle fibers, weakened immune system, and insomnia. It can also cause serious heart problems and even sudden cardiac death. It’s important to learn how to challenge yourself without harming yourself.
It’s also essential that you do what you can to prevent injury. No one plans for an injury, and they happen to the best of athletes. But you can make injury less likely by not overworking your muscles and bones, bookending your workouts with warm ups and cool downs, drinking plenty of water, and resting as needed.
Create a relaxation regimen
Another way to balance your fitness routine and self-care is to create a relaxation regimen. It may sound a bit paradoxical, but you have to be intentional about relaxing or it won’t happen. Hobbies are a great way to start. Knitting, gardening, journaling, and adult coloring books are all hobbies that promote relaxation and reduce stress. Also, don’t neglect yourself of quality sleep. Lack of sleep will hinder everything else you do in regards to fitness and self-care. Try different pillows and noise machines, make your room darker, see a sleep expert; do whatever it takes to get your Z’s in.
Meditation is another great way to minimize stress and refresh your mind. With the right use of color schemes, throw blankets, and enhancement tools, almost any area of your home can function as a meditation space.
Try HIIT workouts
Endurance exercise is known to put excessive strain on your heart. This includes running, swimming, cycling, or any activity that increases your heart rate for extended periods of time. The right amount of endurance exercise is beneficial when done safely, but it’s not a healthy fitness routine to practice by itself. An alternative method that offers a better all-around workout is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT has been rapidly growing in popularity over the last decade, largely because it allows for more of a workout in less time than other methods. But another advantage is that the HIIT’s intervals of intense activity and rest also strengthen your heart without putting it through excessive strain.
Take extended breaks
Along with not overworking and trying HIIT workouts, it’s important to avoid burnout. If you start to feel exhausted on a daily basis even though you’re consistently working out, you might be experiencing burnout. A good fitness routine is supposed to boost your overall energy, not drain it. You’ll probably experience burnout more than once if you keep a fitness routine, but you can usually fix it pretty easily.
The best way to fix it is to take a break—a real break. Don’t go to the gym or even put on your running shoes for a few days. Sometimes, even a week of inactivity can revitalize your body and mind. As long as you don’t take too much time off—say, two weeks—you probably won’t notice any negative changes to your body or aerobic conditioning. Taking breaks is essential for your physical and mental health, and you’ll come back feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to conquer another set of fitness goals.
While exercising is one of the most important parts of a healthy routine, overdoing it will only lead to more health problems. In order to live an overall healthy lifestyle, it’s imperative to avoid overworking and to take legitimate breaks. Trying out HIIT and relaxation regimens are other ways that help many people keep a balance between their fitness and self-care habits. Whatever method and approach you take, just be conscious of practicing it with care.
Photo Credit: Unsplash