The new normal Series: Fitness
Our routines are changing once again – and if you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about that, don’t worry. We’ve got some advice for sticking with your fitness goals as we head into another new normal.
The key is to take a moment-by-moment approach.
“Your goals are set. You deserve to reach them and pass them and live full of energy and vibrance. Focus on taking good care of yourself as best as you can in each moment,” says Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga and author of Clean Mind, Clean Body: A 28 Day Plan for Physical, Mental and Spiritual Self-Care.
How to make fitness a priority in changing times
It can be difficult to make time for all the things that are important to us, especially as our routines change. But it’s important to give yourself some grace.
“It's important to acknowledge that you have a lot going on, are probably very busy with work, life and family and however you spend your time,” says Stiles. “Part of making a lasting lifestyle change is getting real with yourself with how you spend your time and how you feel in the process. Creating time for your fitness and yourself during your day, every day, is essential for you to feel good about what you are doing with the rest of your time. When you remember that feeling, it becomes easier and less of a chore to make moments for your self-care and fitness.”
Stiles says she’s a big fan of starting the day with some time for yourself.
“If you are absolutely not a morning person, it’s nice not to feel forced about when you do your fitness. Make time when you can, whether it’s an afternoon lunch break or before dinner, but give yourself the gift of consistency. When you create a routine that you love, your self-care time and fitness time become exciting and energizing and you’ll keep coming back to yourself for more. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential for you to live fully in all the ways you deserve.”
Let’s repeat that: Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential.
How to make activity a natural part of your routine
If you want to incorporate more activity into your day, beyond your designated walks or workouts, there are a number of things you can do, such as using a standing desk, stretching on your breaks, taking the stairs, getting off the bus or train a couple stops early, and going for a walk every time you have to take a work call. But another, perhaps more subtle, way is to deepen the connection between your body and your breath.
“Every breath is an opportunity to feel better,” says Stiles.
While your designated self-care time is wonderful on its own, she says, you can make more of each moment by forming a good breath-body connection.
“If you’re sitting at your desk, take a moment to soften your whole self,” she suggests. “Watch your inhale expand your body outward and your exhale relax your body inward. You can do this simple breath-body connection breath any time.”
Stiles also recommends drinking lots of water when you work so you get up and go to the bathroom.
“On your bathroom breaks, do your breath-body connection exercise when you’re standing and let your whole body get involved.”
And, if you’ve got kids, there’s plenty of opportunity for activity to slip into your routine.
“If you are taking care of little ones, crawl down to the ground and move how it feels good to you while you are playing and picking up toys.”