In the past, I’ve spent hours each day in the gym, pushing my body to its limits. I’ve been obsessed with burning off the calories I’d consumed that day. I punished myself with exercise, instead of using physical activity as a way to nourish and appreciate my body. However, over the last few years, I’ve learned how to tune in to my body, listen to what it needs, and exercise with kindness and balance. I adopted this approach when one day I realized how exhausted and burnt out I had become and recognized I needed to rethink my attitude to exercise. We should be exercising with kindness. The truth is, constantly pushing your body too far and exhausting yourself can affect your adrenal glands – which are essential for our hormone regulation and production.
If we are overtraining we can be left feeling exhausted, too hungry and this could potentially increase cortisol levels (our stress hormone). Now, I tune into my body before exercising.
Some days I wake up feeling tired, so I’ll have a rest day and take it easy. And if I wake up energized, I’ll start my day with a workout – whether that involves yoga, HIIT or going for a walk. As soon as I began exercising with kindness and balance, my relationship with myself and my body completely changed. Suddenly, I started loving my body – imperfections and all – and appreciating what it could do! Exercise became something I looked forward to and enjoyed! My entire exercise philosophy changed.
Now, instead of spending two hours a day in the gym torturing myself, I’ll do a 20- to 30-minute session a few days each week, just to get my body moving and endorphins flowing! I very much advocate exercise for its cardiovascular and mental benefits. But, you don’t need to push your body to the limit every day. General movement and kind, gentle exercise keep your body, heart, and metabolism healthy!
So my advice? Move your body in ways that you really love and enjoy. For me, this is walking, yoga and HIIT workouts. Also, make sure to enjoy restorative exercise as well – especially if you have a long, demanding job! Think yoga, pilates, slow walking, and stretching. Focus on that mind-body connection and give your body what it’s crying out for – even if that is rest! You’ll look and feel better than ever.
While you’re here, check out these three insider wellness tips on how to get through your ‘Be Healthy In 2020’ goals.