Are you involved with a routine workout program?  Keeping up with fitness can be a struggle for anyone, but it’s an important aspect of self-care.  If you’re having trouble keeping up with a regimen, here is pertinent advice for ensuring you stick with a healthy exercise program as part of your balanced lifestyle.  

What precisely is self-care?  

Many people have misconceptions about self-care and how it applies to their lifestyle.  If you think of self-care simply as taking care of yourself, you’re partly right. As PsychCentral explains, self-care includes conscious actions you take which promote your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.  For instance, rest and relaxation is a necessity for your overall health, so creating a space in your home for meditation and using it daily can be part of your self-care plan.  But that’s just one way to employ self-care. While everyone’s self-care plan is unique, certain aspects apply no matter who you are, such as getting enough sleep, medical and dental care, good nutrition, rest and relaxation, and exercise.

Key to overall health

Exercise is often touted as a weight loss mechanism, but it’s really much more than that.  There are numerous benefits to your physical and mental health to be gained from a fitness program.  For instance, when it comes to your mental wellness, exercise appears to reduce stress levels, lower your risk for anxiety and depression, improve brain function, and help you cope with upsetting situations.  Physically, exercise appears to help in a variety of ways, such as allaying the effects of aging, reducing your risk for certain cancers, lowering blood pressure and risk of heart attack, and strengthening bones, joints, and muscles.  

Building confidence

Sometimes starting a new fitness program is scary, and you should check with your physician before you begin.  However, virtually anyone can participate in an exercise regimen, and regardless of your situation there is much to gain.  As an example, some experts recommend survivors of traumatic brain injuries participate in a balanced fitness plan, including cardio, strength, flexibility, and balance training.  With a well-planned program, you can reduce reliance on assistive devices and increase independence, in addition to all the other benefits you can glean from regularly working out.  

Getting started

If you have balance or coordination concerns, one way to safely engage in a fitness plan is to work on balance activities.  Stay seated, ask someone to spot you, and set up in front of a mirror so you can observe your movements.  Seated yoga poses are a great way to get started, and you can follow these video instructions from Healthline to ensure your form is correct, or take an appropriate class.  Remember to keep it fun and enjoyable, and avoid activities that hurt.

Finding time

Many people have trouble squeezing a workout into an already full schedule.  If time is at a premium, one suggestion is tweaking your normal activities so you stay more physically active.  Park farther from your workplace or get off the bus a stop or two early so you walk more, and take the stairs every chance you get.  Keep hand weights available so you can do light lifting when you’re on the phone or taking a break, and do some stretches during your commute and while seated at your desk.  Pace while on the phone or take a walk while waiting for appointments or meetings to begin. At home, you can spend more time walking with your dog or playing with the kids, or do some stretches and calisthenics during commercial breaks.  Adding movement is the key, and you only need 20 to 30 minutes per day to reap benefits.

There are many great reasons to make exercise part of your routine.  Find an enjoyable program that fits your schedule so you can include working out in your self-care plan.  A healthier, more balanced lifestyle can be yours by making fitness part of your days.