When you think of a fit person, who comes to mind? Do you envision them pressing up into a flawless handstand? Or strutting their defined six-pack on Instagram? That person may know how to train for a fit body, but are they truly healthy?
Living a holistic lifestyle is about finding interconnection within yourself as a whole: your body, mind and spirit. This method extends beyond the abs to guide someone to true happiness, balance, peace and harmony. This may sound complicated or “woo-woo,” but learning to get in touch with training your body, mind and spirit can develop into a simple habit that is guaranteed to transform your life for the better.
Here are some simple ways to incorporate a holistic wellness approach into to your daily routine.
Sweat it Out, Mix It Up
The importance of sweating daily goes without saying. Yet, too many people still live sedentary to moderately-active lifestyles without a weekly exercise routine. This leads their bodies to develop poor posture, chronic pain and several health issues. Having a holistic approach to working your body by mixing cardio, resistance training and stretching will cover all aspects your body needs for optimal fitness and mobility.
CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Improve your body’s overall health by practicing cardio to increase endurance, burn calories, strengthen heart, protect circulatory systems, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity per week. Look at your schedule and see when you can time block in a brisk walk, hike, jog, run, cycle, swim or even a fun spin class!
RESISTANCE TRAINING: The CDCP also recommends adults should strength train on 2 or more days per week and to work all the major muscle groups. Plan a holistic approach to resistance training to work the whole body: the legs, hips, upper and lower back, upper and lower abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
STRETCHING: A mindful stretch will not only help you increase flexibility, but as you become more active it is vital to help your body recover and prevent injury. It’s important to stretch at the end of every workout, but to also have at least one rehabilitation session weekly. This one day can be a gentle yoga session, pilates, foam rolling or simple stretches for at least 15 minutes. Don’t neglect this! Time block a stretch session in your upcoming schedule.
Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Mind
Fueling properly can be challenging when you’re surrounded by fattening and sugary treats. Several health experts theorize a healthy body stems from 20% physical activity and 80% diet. So that six-pack may mostly be made in the kitchen. Proper nourishment is vital to not only look physically fit, but for optimal physical and mental function, balance your system and prevent or heal disease.
RULES OF THUMB:
Eat an abundance of fruit and vegetables.
Only reach for wholesome, unrefined, un (or minimally) processed carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats.
Care more about the quality of calories than the quantity.
Avoid artificial ingredients at all cost, even if it’s “low-fat” or “low-cal”. Sure it may look good, but your body will have a difficult time digesting this leading to a variety of health issues.
Meditate, Just Breathe
Meditate, meditate and meditate more. Neuroscientists from Harvard and all over the globe have published fascinating results that prove meditation not only reduces stress, but boosts happiness, self-control, productivity, mental capacity, decreases pain and inflammation in our body and boosts your overall holistic health. If meditation is not a part of your daily regime, schedule at least 5 minutes per day.
FOCUS: This practice is not so intimidating when you realize the power of meditation is not about clearing your thoughts, (that’s impossible), but recognizing your thoughts and training your mind to direct its attention to focus on one thing — such as your breath.
BREATHE: Paying attention to how your body responds to each inhalation and exhalation, (ie recognizing your belly expanding with every inhale, and contracting with every exhale). Repeating in your mind to breath in and out. This is just one technique. There are several different styles of meditation, but I always recommend focusing on your breath for beginners.
MANTRA: If breath doesn’t work, try a mantra. Think of a word or phrase, such as “I am abundant.” Repeat this mantra over and over again. When you recognize your mind trailed off thinking other thoughts, recognize the distraction and come back to the mantra. Repeat this until your meditation session is over.
Making a daily habit to practice all of the above will eventually lead you to being connected with your inner guide — your spirit. You’ll be more in tune with your body’s demands for exercise and looking forward to every sweat.