Guest Author: Sheila Olson of fitshiela.com
The demands of work, family, fitness, and life make it a real challenge to successfully care for your mental and physical health. Since experts agree that fitness plays an integral part in overall well-being, here are suggestions to help you find ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Tips and tricks for balancing fitness with self-care
Schedule workouts, bedtime, family outings, relaxation activities, when you’re making dinner, date nights — everything. Sound a little OCD? Perhaps, but plans increase productivity and provide great satisfaction when you cross things off your list!
Do fitness activities you love.
Why stick with something that’s lost its luster? If the gym starts to pale, take a new class. Or suspend your membership for a month and do something different.
Take the bike out for a spin, join a recreational softball team, or gather a group of friends to train together for a 5K. Challenge your partner to regular tennis matches. If you have the space to spare, you can also set up a small home gym with the help of a local handyman, who can help install exercise-safe floors and make modifications to get your room ready for fitness. And since handymen in Wesley Chapel, Florida, cost between $141 and $639
on average, you’ll ultimately save money by canceling your gym membership and setting up shop at home.
Increase your fitness impact.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
(ADAA) says even a 10-minute workout is as effective as a 45-minute sweat session because “a brisk walk or other simple activity delivers several hours of relief, similar to taking aspirin for a headache.” Don’t have 30 minutes together? Schedule three 10-minute or two 15-minute sessions instead. Sign up for a class, since fitness classes last a set amount of time, and instructors know exactly how to make the most of each minute.
Boost workout efficiency.
Another way to maximize workout time is to use compound exercises. Create your own high-intensity interval training
(HIIT) workouts that target multiple muscle groups while burning lots of fat and calories. Research shows you’ll gain a lot in 15 minutes of interval training three times a week.
Don’t go it alone.
Join a gym that offers free or inexpensive child care (the average cost of a gym membership is $58
). Tag-team with your partner to watch the kids while each of you squeezes in a workout. Find a group of like-minded parents, head to the park or the track, and take turns watching the kids play while the other parents cycle in and out of their workouts. Get the kids involved
—they can bike while you run, or you can all bike or hike together. Run or jog at your kid’s practice or during your lunch hour.
Take time for yourself.
Need a little “me” time?
Toss the schedule out the window and curl up with that novel. Book a massage. Meet a friend for lunch. Take the kids to the movie. “Me” time is just as important for feeling good about yourself!
Incorporate relaxation into your day
Not a morning person?
Starting the day feeling frenzied isn’t a great way to manage stress and anxiety. You could take time the night before to plan the next day so you know what to expect when the alarm goes off. Start the day with some stretches and maybe a little yoga or meditation. Drink a cup of tea and listen to a relaxing, uplifting playlist of your favorite tunes.
Cultivate a hobby—one you’ve enjoyed before but haven’t pursued lately—or try something new. Knitting, coloring, collecting, and reading all work well. And here are 24 more ideas.
Don’t discount the healing power of sleep. Invest in a good pillow, mattress, and sheets. Get a noise machine to block out distractions. Hang room-darkening curtains. Cultivate an evening routine to help your body relax into restful sleep.
Developing fitness and wellness routines that decrease stress, encourage relaxation, and promote mental and physical health benefits everyone. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of exercise and self-care. The key to achieving balance is finding a guilt-free plan that supports your lifestyle.