Your Challenge Today:

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle …

By Bernadette Kathryn, LMT, IHLC


Just like keeping a healthy diet is important

to maintaining a healthy lifestyle,

eating the right foods is just as important

for getting the most out of your workout.

~ Marcus Samuelsson



Creating balance in life is probably one of the most significant challenges we all face with our health. We have so many things to juggle every day and sometimes it can become overwhelming. When we encounter days that are saturated from top to bottom with demanding careers, inconsistent bosses at work, family pressures, parents that we need to care for, children that we worry about, nagging issues ~ it’s easy to let self-care drop out of the picture. All the pressures that are breathing down our necks seem so much more important at the moment, and it’s easy to say ‘let me take care of this and then … I will go to the gym’ or ‘let me take care of that and then I will get a nice lunch. And, every time we push our self-care needs to the back burner we are neglecting the very thing that will make our lives ultimately more comfortable, more pleasant and relieve the pressure.


I know, it all seems so important when it’s happening and taking the time to cook, exercise or perhaps even walk to work just doesn’t fit into the emergency plan … we have to take care of _________ before we can relax enough to cook. I have been there, more often that I would like to admit. I know how the pressures of life can interfere with our own needs to care for ourselves and yet I also know (intellectually) how we (I) need to put myself first and I will be better equipped to handle the stresses.


According to the Mayo Clinic:


Exercise in most forms provides stress relief from our daily lives. And, being active boosts our feel-good endorphins which will distract you from worries Exercise increases your overall health and well-being, which puts more energy in your day. And, exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.



  • Exercise pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to elevate the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins. This role is considered a runner’s high. However, a brisk game of tennis, a vigorous swim or a hike also can provide the same feeling of energy and vitality!


  • Movement improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Fitness training can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.


  • Exercise is meditation in motion.  Complete a vigorous game of squash or several laps in the pool, and you’ll find that you’ve forgotten the day’s worries. As you begin to shed your daily stress through exercise and movement, you will notice that your focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you find your calm and bright attitude.


  • Walk before you run. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic movement. It’s best to start at a modest level and build up to strenuous exercise as your fitness improves. Build up your fitness activities gradually for the safest experience. Enthusiasm about your fitness program can lead to possible injury.


  • Do exercise and movement that you enjoy. Virtually any form of exercise can increase your fitness level as well as decrease your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy and commit to regularly participating for the most benefit. Examples of suitable activities include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting, dancing, and swimming.


  • Schedule your workouts. Your schedule may require a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, so looking ahead and scheduling your time to move every day helps you make exercise an ongoing priority.


Stick with it – You are worth it!!


Starting an exercise program is the first step to ensuring your Living Fit Lifestyle!


Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:


  • Set SMART goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals. If your primary goal is to reduce stress and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour, or finding a babysitter so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class or yoga session.


  • Buddy UP.  Make a date with one of your team-mates to meet up at the gym or in the park. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often adds the motivation and commitment that can help you through the tough days.


  • Change up your program. If you’ve always been a runner, take a look at other options that may help with stress reduction. Pilates, yoga and spinning are excellent gentler workouts may enhance your fitness while also decreasing your stress.


  • Exercise in increments. Even brief bouts of activity offer great fitness benefits. If you can’t fit in a full 30-minute workout, try three 10-minute walks instead. What’s most important is to make regular activity a part of your Living Fit Lifestyle.


It is essential to think of exercise as an activity you enjoy — whether it’s a friendly tennis match or a meditative mindfulness walk   — and make it part of your routine. Any form of exercise can help you unwind, de-stress and become an essential part of your Living Fit Lifestyle.


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