As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, New Years resolutions and goals also tend to have gone by the way side.
Hopefully not, but usually the case. Today’s post is geared towards exercise and my intention is to get you excited and motivated to get back on the movement train, workin’ that groove thang.
Here are some basic ideas for implementing exercise into your routine.
- Yoga and Pilates classes
- Weight/Strength and Resistance training are encouraged.
Do these a minimum of 3 x’s a week, 4-5 x’s is recommended. If you are just starting an exercise routine, make your goals reasonable- 1-2 times a week is fine!
From dancing to Drum Circles and everything in between…as long as you are moving your body and feeling groovy then keep on doing it!
Boost your immune system with Exercise
Obviously, as a Pilates and Group Fitness Instructor, i am passionate about Exercise. As soon as I could walk my parents put me in dance classes, figure skating lessons, swimming, on skis, and in soccer. And, Although, soccer wasnt my strong suit, at a very young age, exercise was apart of my life. It was never a chore or an obligation, it was just part of my normal routine, like brushing my teeth and going to school. And, as I grew up I became more interested in the dance side of exercise and less on the team sport side.
My parents encouraged me to follow my passion and to dance my way through High School, College and beyond. And, for me, it made my career choice quite easy. I need and want exercise in my life because it makes me feel good. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Not everyone has that passion for movement, but no one can deny how much better they feel after a good sweat. Exercise and Stress Relief go hand in hand.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Im sure you’ve heard of a runner’s high, but any form of exercise can contribute to this same feeling.
It’s meditation in motion. After a challenging Group Fitness class or an intense Pilates session, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and instead are able to concentrate only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
And, as a result, exercising will naturally improve your mood. How often do you walk into the gym or Pilates/Yoga studio in a foul mood or stressed out about your kids, your family, your job? But, when you leave you have this sense of calm and new perspective? Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
Consistency is of absolute importance when you are exercising. Your body and muscles begin to atrophy in as little as 24-48 hours. So, if you aren’t consistent with your exercise routine, it’s almost like you are having to retrain your body and your muscles. Fortunately, if you need to take time off from your workout routine for sickness or for a vacation, etc, all is not lost or forgotten. Your muscles will remember. You just have to be diligent about reminding them.
When choosing an exercise program, it’s most important to find something you actually enjoy doing. If you hate running, but think that running is the only way to do cardio, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not only will you despise running every time you go out for a jog, but you will come up with every excuse in the book to avoid running today. And, then today turns into tomorrow and the next day and so on. But, if you LOVE to move and dance and feel like a ballerina, then perhaps a ballet barre class would be ideal for you because you will enjoy yourself while you are doing it. If you love to stretch and meditate then a yoga or stretch and meditation class is an appropriate choice for you. Or if you love the soreness in your abdominals after a good ab workout, then try Pilates. The point is you want to set yourself up for success and choosing the right exercise regime will put you in the right direction.
Just like with diet and lifestyle, you must find PEACE with your exercise routine. It’s important to implement cardio, weight and strength training, and stretch. You shouldn’t solely focus on one vs the other. Cardio doesn’t have to be running or spinning, it can be anything that gets your heart rate up- a Zumba class or an exciting Xtend class can do that for you. And, strength training doesn’t have to be in the gym with 25lb dumbbell’s. You can easily get your strength training in with a Pilates apparatus class bc of the spring resistance it offers. Plus, it is low impact and gentle on your joints, unlike heavy weights where you can easily injure yourself. The resistance training also elongates your muscles, as opposed to heavy weights that give your muscles more of a bulky appearance. And, stretching doesn’t have to be a yoga class, although it is an excellent way to increase your flexibility, you can stretch in a mat class or during your cardio class. The idea is, you want to find balance and peace in your exercise regime, as well. 2-3 days of cardio and 2-3 days of strength training is ideal.
As with everything, there is a fine line between exercising and over exercising. Your body and muscles require opportunities to build and repair themselves. Listen to your body and remember, it is much safer to listen to your body when it is whispering, then when it is screaming at you. The whispers are a gentle sign, the screams are usually bc injuries have already occurred.
We don’t always lose weight on intense exercise routines or strict cleanses because of our stress hormone called cortisol. Restricting calories is stressful to the body, and it reacts by releasing cortisol. Cortisol is performance-enhancing in the short term, but if you somehow keep your body stressed for long periods, it creates havoc in your system and can cause you to hang onto weight in a type of survival mode.
Release yourself from someone else’s standards. Embrace your uniqueness and unapologetically claim your power. Do you, and do it authentically and healthfully. I am here to support you.
Peace, Love and all that Jazz!
To your HeWeLoHa,
NATALIE, The Modern Hippie Mama