Lifestyle changes require both your time and energy – that’s inevitable. Seeing results overnight will not happen, and throughout the journey you will experience a few unmotivated days. The importance of daily exercise can help you both mentally and physically; some ways are by boosting your mood, alleviating anxiety, reducing stress, and improving your overall bodily functions.

Are you having difficulty finding a balance between exercise and rest? If so, below are five tips for incorporating self-care into your routine that will be beneficial on your health and fitness journey:

  • TIP #1: Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep!

Planning all of your meals for the week ahead will provide more incentive to eat the healthy and budget-friendly choices that you have already prepared, rather than spending the unnecessary money on “fast food” options. If you have never attempted meal prepping before, there are instructional cooking videos located on YouTube and recipe ideas on Google search that are helpful for beginners. Typically, meal prepping for the week’s breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can be accomplished within a 1-2 hour time period and ultimately saves you many hours throughout the following days spent in the kitchen! It can also help with weight loss due to determining which ingredients and portion sizes to use in the meals, along with contributing to an overall more nutritionally balanced diet. More control over your choices.

  • TIP #2: Stay hydrated.

The average adult body is made up of 60% water—it only makes sense that drinking fluids is vitally important in maintaining proper functions in the varying bodily systems. The usage of fluids to transport nutrients throughout the body and “flush out” any existing bacteria is essential in the health conditions of your heart, brain, and muscles. Water consumption can also regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, prevent infections, improve quality of sleep, regenerate skin cells for a better complexion, and increase energy levels. 

“How much water should I drink in a day?” 

If you are concerned that you do not intake enough water or other fluids, then try utilizing the “8 by 8” rule which is to drink eight 8 oz. glasses on a daily basis. Otherwise, the recommended amount for an average adult female is 2.7 liters and average adult male is 3.7 liters, according to water intake studies.

“Is there such a thing as too much water consumption?”

Although it is uncommon, excessive fluid intake is possible and harmful to the body. Symptomatic water intoxication, or hyponatremia, can occur after a water intake of 3 to 4 liters in a short amount of time. If you quickly drink an abundance of fluid, the functions of many organs will be adversely affected and can be threatening to your overall health.

Ultimately, hydration is individualized and should be consulted with your primary care physician or doctor for any further recommendations.

  • TIP #3: “Warm up” before exercising and “cool down” afterwards.

Although often neglected, warming up the body by using minimal exercises and stretches before an intensive workout will allow more flexibility, increase athletic performance, and help reduce the chance of injury. Prior to a dynamic workout, try to keep it easy-going while “breaking a sweat” – think a light jog, fast walk, or casual bike ride.

Cooling down the body after a vigorous workout will allow for a gradual recovery of both heart rate and blood pressure. Remember to stretch the muscle groups that were targeted while exercising in order to maintain proper mobility and strength. If you need any ideas on how to stretch the specific areas you would like to focus on, both Google search and YouTube videos have more information if needed.

  • TIP #4: Know when it’s time to recharge and stay in tune with your body

“Self-care” is practiced by remaining conscious and listening to the internal signals of your body. The ignorance of this during exercising and establishing healthier eating habits can result in both physical and mental exhaustion. Meditation is mindfully practicing setting aside negative thoughts and dedicating time for self-improvement. The process will differ for everyone, but it’s important to always remind yourself to have gratitude and find the way that works best for you. 

  • TIP #5: Rest

Life is all about balance: Having an active lifestyle will help improve many aspects of your health, but it’s also imperative to get an adequate amount of rest in order to maintain your overall well-being. Sleep is crucial for optimum brain functions and the recovery of muscle groups, especially after an intense workout. The development of heart disease, increased illness duration due to lack of immune system, excessive weight gain/obesity, increased inflammation, and chronic depression have all been associated with poor sleep routines and lack of rest. The recommended average amount of sleep for adults range between 7 to 9 hours per night. The vitality of sleep helps with empowerment of the mind, enabling body restoration, and fortifying almost every bodily system.

“How do I help improve my sleep?”

A few ways to reinforce sleep-related habits would be to establish a “pre-bedtime” routine that allows for minimal disruption in order to relax the mind, set a sleep schedule, disconnect from electronic devices (typically 30 minutes before bed), carefully monitor your caffeine intake to avoid consumption later in the day, and individualize any other details to create a comfortable environment.

If you are looking for professional help in creating a “self-care” lifestyle that helps with both your health, weight loss, and fitness journey, then schedule a FREE virtual consultation with a Ketality team member today!
March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson