Fitness and Self-Care: How to Prevent Workout Burnout

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

When it comes to sticking with a fitness regimen, many people find they are doing well until they hit a wall and have to deal with workout burnout. If you find yourself stalling and putting off workouts, you feel exhausted or unmotivated or your workouts leave you feeling tired, moody, and irritable, these are all telltale signs of burnout. To prevent yourself from getting to that stage, it’s important to balance your fitness routine with plenty of self-care.

Save Your Schedule

A common reason people experience workout burnout is because they have to spend so much time commuting to the gym or studio just to get started. A 30-minute workout can end up taking twice as long, eating away time you’d rather spend with family or friends. To make things easier on yourself, set up a home gym. You don’t need too much space — your garage, basement or any spare rooms you may have are perfect. To stay within your budget, look for inexpensive equipment that is just as effective as any fancy, expensive machine.

Try outfitting your home gym with affordable options such as:

  • Flat bench
  • Step
  • Jump rope
  • BOSU ball
  • Stability ball
  • Medicine balls
  • Free weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance bands
  • Yoga mat
  • Cones
  • Suspension trainer
  • Pull-up bar
  • Foam rollers

Reward Your Progress

Making goals is a huge part of any fitness journey. Without some idea of what you want to see from your workouts, you’ll grow stagnant and bored, eventually reaching burnout. Whether you want to get stronger, lose weight, master a skill, or simply make fitness a healthy habit in your everyday life, once you get to a point you define as successful, make sure you reward your progress. Avoid food-based rewards and instead think of ways to indulge yourself with experiences. A massage is a great place to start. A professional massage reduces pain, eases anxiety, minimizes symptoms from PMS, and can even make you look younger. If a massage isn’t really your bag, find some other way to treat yourself like a solo trip to the movies or buy yourself a new book you’ve been dying to read.

Make it Social

Socialization is important when it comes to both physical and mental health. Humans are social animals– we need to spend time around each other for support. People who make a point to get out and see people live longer, have a stronger immune system and suffer less from mental health issues. Furthermore, when you make exercising a social affair, it adds an element of enjoyment and makes the whole thing feel less like a chore. When you’re looking forward to your workout with friends, you are less likely to feel unmotivated and listless when it’s time to break a sweat. Call up some of your loved ones and see if they’d like to join you next time you try a new class, take a hike, or embark on a fit activity such as swimming, rowing or rock climbing. Another great idea is signing up for a fun run together. You can hold each other accountable for training and encourage one another all the way to the finish line on the big day.

If you keep working out in pursuit of your fitness goals, but you don’t take any time to relax and recover, you are likely going to experience burnout. Burnout can throw a huge wrench into your plans and delay your progress significantly. To help prevent burnout, try making exercise more convenient. Having a home gym ready and waiting cuts out travel time so you can get back to doing the things you love after your workout. Fitness goals are a key to progress. When you reach one, reward yourself with a bit of self-care such as a massage. Finally, as social animals we need to spend time with our family and friends. By making workouts a social event, you’ll be more likely to enjoy breaking a sweat and stick to it for longer.

By Sheila Olson

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No, You’re Not Too Old to Do Yoga

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Image Courtesy Pexels

How great would it be to have more energy and flexibility? Would you like to think more clearly, be more focused and relaxed? Want to feel stronger, and be healthier? Consider yoga!

You Can Get All That and More from Yoga

This ancient discipline takes many forms, and most of them can be modified to suit practitioners at any age or skill level, including those with disabilities, such as arthritis and limited mobility. Senior citizens and their caregivers may find it a practical solution to getting regular exercise. Yoga requires minimal investment in equipment, needing no more than comfy clothes and a yoga mat to get started. And while it’s a great idea to enroll in a beginner’s class, you can get a taste of its benefits with free video instruction online.

As time goes on, you may decide to upgrade and add a few props to your routine, such as slings, straps, and blankets, but these are entirely optional. One thing you may enjoy is setting up a special place in your home where you can practice stretching and meditating. You’ll want a quiet, comfortable, private space with minimal decoration, natural light, and soothing colors and textures. It isn’t necessary to have a permanent designated space — many people meditate and do yoga in their bedroom or living room — but having your own space makes things easier.

Use It or Lose It

We tend to reach peak muscle mass around age 30, but if we don’t exercise, we start losing it to the tune of about a pound lost per year. It may not seem like a lot, but the consequences for senior citizens can be disastrous. The condition is called sarcopenia, and it is responsible for loss of mobility and greater risk of fractures. But here’s the good news: this muscle loss is somewhat reversible. Resistance training exercises, such as stretching yoga poses, help slow the process by helping to build new muscle. It’s also great at slowing the progression of bone loss due to osteoporosis because yoga is such a low-impact workout.

A Growing Trend

Anyone can do yoga. There are many schools and styles to choose from. There is chair yoga, water yoga, and gentle hatha yoga, to name a few. You can start yoga after a lifetime of sedentary living and still reap many of its health benefits. Disabilities that might make more aggressive exercise regimens problematic are common occurrences in the yoga studios across the country, and the community is growing. The 2016 Yoga in America study found that 38 percent of yoga practitioners are over 50 years of age, and 74 percent of all practitioners surveyed were relative newcomers to yoga, with five or fewer years of experience.

A Spiritual Retreat

There’s another side to yoga. Its teachings provide spiritual and moral instruction focused on finding inner peace through love and compassion. Meditation is emphasized because it helps practitioners become mindful and present in the moment, as well as encourages positive thought processes. It teaches certain relaxation techniques, which can help to control the body’s response to stress and anxiety. Learning how to regulate these physiological responses reinforces self-discipline and good mental and emotional hygiene. Although yoga is not in itself a religion, it can be part of religious practice, as its tenets are compatible with most major world religions. It has been said that prayer is talking to God, but meditation is listening for an answer. Indeed, many people do yoga solely for the spiritual aspect, and report that they feel their creativity and inspiration are enhanced by the experience.

Taking care of another person is stressful and can be medically debilitating. Sadly, caregivers can have a 63 percent higher mortality rate than similarly-aged people not engaged in looking after a loved one. But senior citizens and their caregivers can enjoy yoga together.  As you scale the routine to your individual level of fitness and experience, you can work together side by side, but independently, saving time during a busy day. Yoga is a great way to encourage a closer bond of affection that will make you both happier and healthier.

By Jason Lewis

The Benefits of Fitness in Addiction Recovery

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Photo via Pixabay.

When overcoming addiction, it can seem almost impossible to focus both on curbing your addictive impulses and maintaining a fitness regimen. Both involve a huge amount of self-control, and it is easy to feel like you do not have enough of it to go around.

However, fitness and addiction recovery go hand in hand. An exercise routine can help you achieve your recovery goals faster, while implementing practices that will make you less likely to relapse down the line. Here are a few ways that physical fitness can help you on your road to recovery.

Reducing Stress

Stress is the leading reason for relapse. Despite any progress they have made, people often will turn to their substance or behavior of choice as a coping mechanism to stress. This is one of the main reasons why exercise and fitness can be crucial to ensuring a full recovery.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is well-established that exercise reduces stress and anxiety. When your body is healthy, your mind is healthy as well. You are less likely to experience anxiety due to poor mental and physical health or lack of sleep, and when you do feel stressed you have a healthy way to deal with it.

Giving You A Routine

Several experts agree that routine is important to addiction recovery. A routine means stability and consistency, which are both cornerstones of many organized recovery programs. Having an organized routine also eliminates boredom, which can easily lead to you relapsing into old behaviors.

When creating your new fitness goals and habits, make sure to keep them structured. Define exactly when you are going to exercise, for how long and what you are going to do. Set yourself achievable and measurable goals that you can focus on and track as your physical fitness improves.

Improving Confidence

Physical fitness also can help your addiction recovery by improving your confidence and self-esteem. It’s not just about your physical appearance, although that is likely to improve as you become stronger. Achieving your fitness goals will make you feel in control of your progress. This means you are likely to develop a more positive, confident approach to other aspects of your life, including your ability to make a full recovery from your addiction.

Replacing Your Endorphins

People become addicted to certain substances and behaviors because they produce a rush of endorphins, which are responsible for the sensation of a ‘high’. Studies have shown that exercise is a great support tool for recovery because it also produces endorphins, meaning it can be a healthy coping mechanism for whenever you feel the impulse to relapse.

Prioritizing Wellness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines wellness as a multi-dimensional concept, incorporating emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental and spiritual elements.

The great thing about exercise and fitness is that it can fulfill several of those needs at once. As well as obviously enhancing your physical well-being, you can improve:

  • Environmental wellness by exercising outdoors and in nature
  • Social wellness by working out with other people
  • Occupational wellness by deriving a sense of achievement from your progress
  • Emotional wellness by using exercise to reduce stress and practice self-care

By choosing to incorporate fitness into your addiction recovery, you are helping yourself lead a healthier life in every possible way, not just physical.

Maintaining and improving your physical fitness is a great way to support and enhance your addiction recovery. Exercise can improve your mental health, confidence and ability to cope with stress and boredom. Whether you decide to run a 5K or simply commit to a walk in the park twice a week, setting and fulfilling your fitness goals will help you on your way to a full and healthy life.