All year long we work on what we should be doing to live a healthier, more active life. Nike says- Just Do It! And we do, we read up on all the latest exercise trends, try the hottest gear, use the coolest gadgets to track everything! Track your heart-rate, body weight, calorie intake, fat burn, energy expenditure... BMI, BMR, My God- I'm exhausted just writing it all down! My advise to you as we roll into 2013- Just stop it, and rest.
There are literally hundreds of studies that show building rest into your routine promotes better overall performance, allows muscle to repair and regenerate. Yet, we still feel guilty when we take a day off. We've programed ourselves to think that if we take a break, we're somehow being '??bad.'? When actually we're being very good. When we exercise we're putting our bodies under controlled stress. We think that this stress is the '??good part'? when actually the real training happens during rest. When we exercise we're breaking down muscle tissue, depleting energy and losing fluids. Recovery time allows these stores to replenish.
Unfortunately, so many of us think that '??rest'? simply means not exercising." I worked a 15-hour day between my job and the kids, but I didn't work-out, so yeah- that's a rest day.'? No, you see it means sit down, close your eyes, relax and don't think about anything for an hour. Sounds impossible, I know. These days we don't sit down to eat our lunch let alone actually rest ourselves, but imagine if you did... imagine if you did both! Whaaaa?? You say? You can do it, I believe in you.
- Take 5 days off and do not do any exercise at least once this year.
- Eat all 3 meals sitting down and make a mental note to enjoy what you're eating.
- Take 1 hour per day to do something restful, meditate, read a calm book, listen to an album (remember those?), write in a journal, draw, day dream.
- Take a look at your fitness routine now. Change the one thing about it you hate.
- Do more Yoga, Pilates and Mindbody oriented workouts. If you can't stop, make it restorative.
- Remember what you loved as a child and start doing it again. Ballet? Swim team? Ice Skating? Make it fun again.
- Say less, think more.
The benefits that come from following your new list are immense. Besides being happier and calmer, you'll be slimmer. Once you chill out, your cortisol stores (the bad stress hormone that makes us pudgy) will deplete. You will literally shrink. Now that's the best news I've had all year!
Lawson Harris has been an innovator in the fitness industry for 27 years. She is the Founder of The Lab; a place to reinvent yourself thru Pilates based fitness and balance your body through Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture and Bodywork. She is also the creator and star of the '??Pilates Everyday Training'? DVD. She is certified as a Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Johnny G Spinning Instructor, and Shiatsu Practitioner.
Momtrends was not paid for this post.