Tom, the personal trainer who founded Waite Training in Leeds has many tips to help you get started on working for your fitness goals.
Stress, anxiety, depression, or any state of inner turmoil can throw you off your game and cause you to lose sight of your fitness goals. If you're currently battling with one of these and feel like you haven't been working out or monitoring your calorie intake as you should, you're not alone.
It's perfectly normal to prioritise your mental health and well-being before starting or continuing with your fitness goals. Not to mention, even you're able to keep up your routine, your constantly high stress levels still might stop you from seeing the weight loss results you desire. So, what are the best stress management strategies that you can start today to help you feel great again and get back on the fitness train?
These are meditation-like training programs that help participants focus on the present. The goal of mindfulness is to help you take charge of your thoughts and actions in the now. Not in the future or the past.
Most importantly, it provides a sense of control – something that many people under a lot of stress lack- as the individual can only focus on what they can do in the present. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can easily spot unhealthy eating habits, negative thoughts, and patterns that tend to sabotage your weight loss goals through careful attention and monitoring. Thankfully, there are many free mindfulness apps that you can download and use for this purpose.
#2. Practice Breathing Techniques
There are a ton of breathing and relaxation exercises that you can participate in. Pick one and start using it today. Deep breathing exercise programs like Wim Hof Method can transform your life, tank your stress levels, and get you completely relaxed in no time.
When you're relaxed and feeling better control of yourself and your mind, it's usually easier to get back on the fitness "horse". There are speculations that deep breathing exercises can add 7 more years to one's life.
While there's no solid study to prove that, it does make sense that anything that relaxes you is bound to reduce or eliminate instances of high blood pressure, which can lead to other metabolic diseases. So, commit to practising breathing for at least 10 minutes daily.
Medication is so popular that there are thousands of books, audios, podcasts, and apps on the subject. So, choosing one for you will be a somewhat challenging proposition. However, the more common apps these days are Calm and Headspace.
But you can also practice eastern meditation programs and a bunch of others. Just find the one that best suits your specific needs and preferences and use it. The beautiful thing about meditation is the ability to control your thoughts, actions, and willpower.
Like all worthwhile things, it takes time and effort to master. If you feel like it's intimidating, start small – like 5 minutes, then go on to 10 and 30, and so on. Apart from helping you feel relaxed, meditation allows you to discover incredibly powerful parts of you that you didn't know existed.
#4. Take Long Walks
Walking is a low-impact steady-state exercise that benefits you in many incredible ways. People who walk for 20-30 minutes a day are likely to stay fit and in great shape.
And if you're overweight, walking 5-7 miles a day can help burn that fat off over time. If you have the chance to walk in the woods and be surrounded by nature, that's even better. Studies show that spending time outdoors regularly helps people manage their stress and anxiety and is highly beneficial for our well-being.
#5. Pay Attention to Stress Triggers
Many people don't know how or why they're stressed. They just find that they are. If you cannot point to the source of your stress, then you need to start paying more attention.
Where do you feel stressed the most? And in case you're wondering what stress feels like, it's like a knot in the stomach, tight chest, unconsciously holding your breath, flinching at the thought of an incident, and so on.
There are so many things that can cause stress. For example, marital issues, work problems, children's demands, financial challenges, health problems, and many more. The first step towards addressing your stress levels is identifying the triggers.
Using the stress management techniques listed in this article and identifying the source of your stress will put you on the path to improved mental health and an overall sense of well-being. Keep in mind that in some cases, you might need to reach out to others or ask for professional health if you aren't able to find the root of the problem yourself.
One thing's for sure. When you're in a great place mentally and emotionally, you'll be able to make the necessary concerted efforts to set, stick to and achieve your fitness goals.