It’s no secret that life can be hectic and quite stressful at times. With work demands increasing, with outside issues such as the recent COVID pandemic and our collective stress levels are probably the highest they’ve been in many a year. Exercise can be a great way to clear your mind and get your focus back to what you want to achieve. Below we discuss some tips to using exercise to clear you mind.
We all know that exercise benefits your health and fitness however exercise can also have a significant benefit to your mental health and stress levels.
So how do we use exercise to clear our minds?
Find out what exercise you prefer
Do you enjoy pounding the pavement and putting the miles into your legs? Or do you prefer to be out in the water swimming in the ocean? Or you might enjoy getting out in nature and hiking along a bush track or trail.
Exercise is a lot easier to do if you enjoy it. You will quickly postpone or get rid of an activity that you dislike once an injury niggle or wet weather occurs so find an activity that you enjoy to give you a chance to stick to something.
Reach out to any friends or family that you might know who do a similar exercise or class that you prefer
Don’t jump in at the deep end initially
Once you’ve made the decision to take the leap and undertake a new fitness or exercise activity it’s easy to get carried away and go all in at the start. This can occur if you haven’t exercised in a while or are coming back from injury and you are trying to make up for lost time.
Pace yourself when getting back into the swing of things. This is to be for your physical and mental health so listen to your body and don’t push yourself when you shouldn’t be pushing yourself. Keep to your own pace and timetable and when you have hit relative fitness goals or achievement on your new journey then reset these and go for these new exercise goals, but at your own pace!
Also if you are getting back into fitness and exercise after a long break make sure you have plenty of recovery time (particularly if you are older) and look to have plenty of stretching and massage, either with equipment such as a foam roller or using a masseuse.
Set some exercise goals
A great way to build exercise into your life is to set some fitness goals. When family life and work gets busy it can be easy to put your physical health and fitness needs last, setting some fitness goals can help with this.
For example you might have put some weight on over the years and look to lose roughly 20 pounds (or nearly 10kg). Setting a goal of losing 5 pounds a month will see you hit your target in 4 months. Breaking this goal down even further could be performing 2 weights sessions a week and 2 cardio sessions knowing that this should get you to your 4 month fitness goal of losing 20 pounds.
Given you won’t be able to achieve this fitness overnight you will need to plan out your calendar and add training times to fit in with your work and family plans however this planning will help with achieving your fitness goals.
Get the correct equipment
It’s fair to say that if you set the above fitness goal of losing 20 pounds and you’ve had your exercise shoes for a few years you’ll need to upgrade these pretty quickly. The same goes with your training clothes and any other gear associated with the activity you have chosen.
When you have the budget, always invest in the quality option. It will accelerate your achievement, minimise injury and in most cases maximise enjoyment. For example let’s say you love the ocean and want to take up kitesurfing.
The logical way of going about this is to take lessons, invest in quality equipment and enjoy the fun and excitement that kitesurfing offers. The illogical way of going about this is to get a ‘mate’ to show you the basics, buy a very cheap kit that was around when the sport was invented and then wonder why you haven’t progressed or are injured and giving up on the sport!
Always defer to the quality equipment or find an activity that you can invest to get the most out of. This even includes getting a good fitness tracker or heart rate monitor when getting back into building your fitness or the gym.
Find an experienced group or get professional coaching
Using the losing 20 pound fitness goal above, if you have limited fitness or gym experience it’s going to be a lot easier (and quicker) if you employ a professional to help you with your goals or if you are undertaking a new activing (such as the kitesurfing example above).
Good coaching shortens the learning curve by a long way and helps avoid picking up any unwanted or unnecessary habits. Plus it can help keep you injury free. Also if you find a quality group or exercise class run by a professional you are more likely to enjoy the experience and more likely to stick to your new exercise regime.
Set a timetable and stick to it
This is for any goal that you set but in the case of a fitness one (particularly one with a deadline) plan out your timetable around the goal you have set. This could mean planning gym or exercise sessions or training sessions when learning a new activity or sport.
Make sure your family are involved in the planning so there is less likelihood of sessions or training needing to be moved or cancelled. Also make sure all your equipment is pre packed, any dietary requirements prepared in advance so there is less chance of this causing a delayed or cancelled session.
These are just some suggestions for using exercise to clear your mind and improve your life. Remember having a successful life usually means a balanced life, one in which exercise should be playing a significant part. Not only will you be healthier with exercise in your life you will be a much happier and balanced person and this clarity will flow into all areas of your life.