That is why it’s important to think about your health from a more holistic approach. Consider the wellbeing of your mind, body, and soul as a system of equally important interconnected components. While being active, think of your whole self—not just specific muscles that can be activated. But how can you realistically do it? It’s not all that challenging. It just takes a slight tweak of your everyday routine. Here are a few suggestions from our team.
Get Out of the Gym
You don’t have to get all of your fitness inside and gym and from under a barbell. You certainly don’t need to run countless miles on a treadmill. Of course, if that works for you, then by all means, continue. But another way to boost your fitness, especially from a more holistic approach is to simply increase the activity in your everyday life. Take the stairs every chance you get. Put your phone down and take a short walk during lunch or after dinner to stretch your legs (and your imagination). Consider a standing desk to be kinder to your back and increase your circulation. There are a myriad of small changes you can make to your everyday routine to live a more active lifestyle.
Focus on Your Breathing
It's estimated that the average man uses a mere 50 to 60 percent of his lung capacity. But you can train your breath and easily expand your lungs. The result is better oxygen intake which can unleash your body's true potential—lower stress, greater overall health and better performance at the gym, in bed and at work. Take five to 10 minutes to focus on your breath. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your chest and take a deep breath into your hand. Now place your other hand at your stomach's base and take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose and focus on getting your stomach to push your hand up while your chest remains still. Repeat for six breaths, then combine the chest and belly breaths together. Imagine you're pouring water into a glass. You want the glass to fill up starting from the bottom of your belly (the diaphragm) up to the top of your chest.
Don’t Forget to Stretch (and Roll)
Limber up to get more from your body. Especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk most days. Sure, you're off your feet but prolonged sitting sessions can wreak havoc on your body. You tighten your hip flexors while slumping your shoulders and your posture pays the price. According to the American Council on Exercise, stretching has been found to enhance athletic performance, while decreasing stress levels and improving blood flow and circulation. And when our muscles (along with the connective tissue known as fascia) gets knotted, it leads to serious soreness.. Multiple studies have proven that rolling your muscles out with a "hurts so good" foam roller substantially reduces muscle soreness while improving our overall range of motion.
Set Aside Some Quiet Time
This could be for prayer or meditation or simply to slow down and be present with your thoughts. This is also a time for visualization. Confidence is a key component in the pursuit of progress and to get more confidence, you need to envision yourself getting what you want—succeeding and crushing those goals. Imagine what it looks like to be at the finish line in order to help yourself get there.
Rethink Your Nutrition
Our bodies need a variety of proteins, fats and carbs with an emphasis on lots of whole foods if we want to not only perform our best, but also feel good too. Don’t go overboard with your protein or deny yourself the occasional treat. Especially if you’re regularly active, one or two splurges will not set you back. In fact, there’s evidence that switching up your diet and indulging once in a while is actually a good thing. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that splurging on carbs increases the hormones that boost your metabolism and muscle growth while revving up your body's ability to burn calories. What's more, when nothing's “off limits,” you're much more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. So go ahead, treat yourself.
Don’t Skimp on Recovery
If you're only focused on what you're doing while you're working out, you'll be missing out on all the muscle-building and toning your body does when you're finished. Plus, the key to combating soreness, fatigue and injury is making sure you focus on recovery after any strenuous activity. And the most important thing you can do is get more sleep. Your body repairs itself when you go to sleep, and studies have shown that lack of proper sleep will have a significantly negative impact on your performance during your workout and your body's recovery afterwards.
Exercise Your Spirit
This will be different for everyone, but let’s wrap up with a reminder that you are more than body and even your mind. Do things that feed your soul. They don’t have to make sense to anyone but yourself, they don’t have to be complicated; they simply have to recharge your batteries so to speak. Not sure where to start? Begin cultivating gratitude in your life. You could start or end each day by thinking about a few things (say a minimum of three) that you’re thankful for. This will help shift your daily perspective to focus more on what you have instead of on what you don’t.