Over the last few years, exercise has become one of the hottest topics in the health world. All you have to do is scroll through Instagram and flick through the pages of any health magazine to see images of fit, toned and taut bodies. While it can help to motivate and inspire some people, for others, it can cause us to judge and compare our bodies to other people’s.
Now don’t get me wrong; as a health practitioner, I know how beneficial exercise is for the body. It’s brilliant for the cardiovascular system. It keeps you strong and fit, and it releases those happy hormones: endorphins. It plays a powerful role in our long-term health and aids the prevention of disease. The issue isn’t with exercise, but rather how often we’re exercising.
In my experience, a lot of girls are over-exercising, which can take its toll on the body. Over-exercising can cause the body to go into stress mode. From clinical and personal experience, I see clients all the time who exercise every day – sometimes twice a day – and still can’t lose the weight. This can have a lot to do with the balance of your nervous system and hormonal system. When you work out too much, your cortisol levels can spike. Then, when you stress out about working out, your cortisol levels can spike even more. High cortisol makes it hard to burn fat, especially around the middle area.
So, what’s the solution? Rather than adopting an intense exercise regimen, try to adopt a balanced approach to exercise. There’s no need to push yourself to the extreme; exercise to keep healthy.
5 TIPS TO EXERCISE SMARTER
1. Adopt a balanced approach: This means mixing the yin with the yang. I recommend exercising moderately for 30 to 45 minutes a day.
2. Set a weekly schedule: I like to map out my workouts for the weeks. I do a mix of walks in nature, gym workouts and yoga. If you schedule your workouts in one sitting, you’ll be able to see the types of exercise you’re doing to ensure you have balance
3. Try restorative exercise: Practise yoga and have rest days amongst your more intensive workouts. I talk more about this in week three of my 8-week Program.
4. Move mindfully: This means focusing on your breath, thoughts and feelings while you’re exercising. Tune into your body and ensure that you’re present throughout the process. This will allow you to enjoy your workout and is a powerful way to incorporate more mindfulness into your daily routine.
5. Remember to rest: A rested body is a healthy body and it’s incredibly important to commit to resting daily. These days, I don’t feel guilty for choosing to chill over a spin class.