How to Balance Your Fitness Routine With Self-Care

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Exercise is not just good for the body, but it is also great for a healthy and well-balanced mind. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the benefits of exercise include improved mood, reduced stress, better self-esteem and lower rates of anxiety. However, it can be difficult to balance a disciplined fitness routine and self-care.

 

Here are a few ways you can make sure you are balancing your fitness routine and your self-care.

 

Find an exercise you love

 

If you choose exercises you don’t enjoy, you will not do them. Even worse, they will make you miserable and negatively impact your mental well-being. Finding a form of exercise you genuinely love is the best way to bring fitness and self-care together.

 

Start by thinking back on different forms of exercise you have done throughout your life: Did you used to participate in a dance class? Did you play football? Did you love cycling or swimming? If you can think of a form of exercise you used to love but stopped doing for some reason, it is a great idea to revisit it as an adult. You may not be as good as you remember, but if you loved it in the past, chances are that you’ll quickly ease back into it.

 

Do Yoga

 

Due to its focus on breathing and slow, deliberate movement, yoga combines both exercise and meditation. According to Harvard Health, it can help with anxiety, depression and stress while encouraging a healthy balance of mental and physical wellness.

 

If you have never tried it before, make sure you sign up for a beginner’s class, as advanced forms can be strenuous and dangerous. If you are intimidated by the cost or by the atmosphere of a yoga class, there are hundreds of free classes and routines on the internet that you can explore to get you started at home. You can create a calm and peaceful space in your home for practicing yoga or even just for meditation.

 

Set Realistic Goals

 

It is important to set realistic goals for your fitness routine. If you haven’t exercised in years, you will not be running a 5K every day or lifting heavy weights. Set goals that you know you can achieve, such as walking 30 minutes a day or attending a cardio class you like every week.

 

When you do achieve these goals, you will feel so much better about yourself and your fitness, and you will feel motivated to continue. As you go on, add to your routine in small, achievable increments.

 

Don’t Overdo It

 

If your body is telling you to stop, stop. If you feel light-headed, weak or in pain during or after exercise, you should rest or consult a doctor. Learn to listen to your body, and trust yourself to know when you can push through and when you can’t.

 

This also goes for your mental health, particularly if you have obsessive tendencies. Exercise addiction is a real thing, and it can have devastating consequences like any other addiction. Your physical fitness should be an important element of your life, but not the most important element.

 

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

 

Maintaining a fitness routine is hard. Sometimes, you will oversleep through your alarm, or you will simply not feel up to it. It can be difficult to know where self-care ends and self-indulgence begins, but you should trust yourself to know your own body and mind. If you stumble one day, promise to do better next time.

 

On the other hand, try to compromise with yourself. If you feel that you can’t put on your workout clothes and hit the gym, can you get out of bed and go for a walk? Focus on the positive feeling of health and gratification you will get if you push yourself.

 

The relationship between fitness and mental health is a complicated one. On one hand, exercise can help you lead a happier life, yet on the other, a bad mental health day can make it feel impossible to exercise. However, by crafting a fitness routine that makes you genuinely happy and by listening to your body and mind, exercise itself can become a self-care habit.

 

 

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