Exercise is key to self-care. Discover why – and learn how to use exercise to your advantage and improve your health and wellbeing.
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Exercising For Self-Care
Self-care is the key to a healthy and happy life, yet many of us struggle to find ways to properly care for ourselves.
You may have far too many responsibilities, and you don’t have the spoons to add one more thing to your to-do list. If you don’t have the time to go all out (like indulge in a self-care day) and all you have are little pockets of time you need to snatch here and there, don’t worry. You have options.
One of these options is exercise, and it can be transformational – if you do it right. After all, exercise can be an excellent way to practice self-care, but it’s important that you find the right workout for you.
After all, exercising regularly doesn’t just mean hitting the gym or running laps around the block – forcing you to fit more into your already jam-packed schedule. Sometimes, you just have to transform something you already do into an exercise routine. There are also countless other activities out there that you may enjoy doing. From yoga classes to weekend salsa with friends – embrace, as part of your regular routine, whatever makes you feel energized and alive!
In this article, we’ll explore how exercise can play an important role in self-care, and discuss how you can create an exercise plan you’ll actually want to follow.
Best Ways To Add Exercise To Your Self-Care Routine Even When You Don’t Have Extra Time
As someone who works long hours on the computer, I know what it’s like to want to exercise but run out of time to do so.
My top tip?
Exercise while working using one of the following equipment (the first is my favorite!):
Benefits Of Exercising For Self-Care
Exercising is a great way to take care of yourself as you can see from the list of benefits below:
- Improved physical health: Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and endurance, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
- Improved mental health: Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function.
- Increased energy and stamina: Regular exercise can increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, allowing individuals to perform daily activities with greater ease.
- Better sleep: Exercise can improve the quality and duration of sleep, leading to better overall health and well-being.
- Increased longevity: Regular exercise has been associated with increased lifespan and reduced risk of premature death.
There was a period of my life in my mid-twenties when I would exercise three hours twice a day. I rarely got sick, and endorphins were probably running amok in my system because I was so happy. SO HAPPY.
Then, life got in the way, and I couldn’t work out as often anymore – until I eventually stopped exercising altogether. I got depressed, suffered from migraine attacks, gained a lot of weight (thanks, 2020!), and was just plain miserable.
Eventually, I pulled myself back together again (a story for another day), and I’m now exercising again. It’s now been months since my last migraine attack. I feel lighter (maybe I actually am, I don’t know). And I’m happier.
Exercising for self-care? I cannot recommend it enough!
Types Of Exercises To Consider
We know that exercise is a powerful tool for self-care. Yet, the sheer variety of exercises available makes it difficult to find the right workout that suits your lifestyle best.
To narrow down your search, consider these types of exercises:
- Low-impact exercises such as walking or biking, which are less stressful on your body
- Body weight exercises like pushups and squats that do not require any equipment
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that focus on short bursts of exercise with rest periods in between
By exploring different types of exercise, you can discover what works for you – whether it’s going for a jog around the block or doing yoga at home. Taking time to understand your needs will help you develop an effective plan to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Developing An Exercise Plan
When developing an exercise plan that you’ll want to follow, you need to keep three things in mind:
- The importance of creating realistic goals,
- What your limitations are, and
- Choosing an exercise option.
Creating Realistic Goals
To successfully incorporate exercise into your self-care routine, you need to set realistic goals.
For example: Let’s say you do a 70-hour workweek from home. You’re shattered at the end of each day. The thought of going to the gym makes you want to cry, but you know it’s important. So, you schedule a one-hour HIIT session twice a week. It’ll be fine, you really want to be healthier, so you’re definitely going to do it.
You miss both sessions (unsurprisingly).
A one-hour-long session twice a week is unrealistic in this case.
There’s also no point in signing up for that 10k marathon happening in two weeks when you could hardly breathe after a two-minute dash trying to catch the bus. You need to get in better shape first.
If you try to do too much too soon, chances are you won’t stick with it in the long run – if you get started at all.
Understanding Your Limitations
You can’t create realistic goals until you understand – and accept! – your limitations.
Listen to your body and develop your exercise plan accordingly. You don’t want to push yourself too hard, or else you risk burning out at the very least (serious injury at the worst), which won’t do you any good.
Instead, understand where your limit lies and challenge it in a gradual way. For instance, if running five miles isn’t realistic right now, maybe do some stretching first, walk around the block, or jog at a steady pace. That way, you can build up your strength and stamina without putting too much strain on your body.
Working within these limits will help keep you motivated and make sure that exercise becomes part of your self-care routine for the long haul!
Researching Exercise Options
Once you’ve set boundaries, it’s time to start exploring your exercise options.
Finding the time for a regular routine can be tricky, so consider what fits best with your lifestyle and commitments.
If mornings work best for you, think about whether jogging or yoga would be more suitable – or maybe even both! You could also look into joining a gym class if that appeals to you.
The possibilities are endless; just remember to remain mindful of your body and don’t overexert yourself.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to find something that works for you – so take some time to research all your options before diving in head first.
Overcoming Exercise Challenges
While we all know that exercise is one of the most important aspects of self-care, it can be difficult to motivate yourself or stay motivated. To help you overcome these potential challenges, we have a few tips that might work for you.
|Lack of motivation||> Set small goals throughout your day or week|
> Celebrate progress with rewards such as treats (no, they do not have to be food)
> Have an accountability partner
>Do something you enjoy
|Lack of time||> Schedule exercise into daily routines|
> Break it up into shorter sessions throughout the day
> Transform regular activities into exercise (for example, I use a walking desk at home, so that I’m doing a low-impact exercise even when I have to work long hours on the computer)
|Physical Limitations and Health Conditions||> Consult with a medical professional to find a safe way to increase your movement|
> Modify exercise routines
> Find alternative forms of exercise
|Lack of Access to Exercise Facilities||> Either buy smaller equipment|
> Invest in furniture that can double as exercise machines
> Work out at home using your body and gravity as “equipment”
Making Exercise A Priority
Many of us lead sedentary lives, which can have catastrophic consequences on our physical health.
According to the World Health Organization, “Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or a combination of both, to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. This should be supplemented with muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.”
In other words, building exercise into our daily self-care routine should be a top priority – for all of us. This requires dedication and consistency, especially in the beginning. Just put one foot in front of another and move forward. Remember: Even small steps can lead to big changes over time!
So, if you want to harness the benefits of regular exercise and fend off the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle, you could begin by setting achievable short-term goals.
For example, use a walking desk, desk bike, desk ball chair, or other desk exercise equipment so that you’re not just sitting while working. Walk up and down the stairs instead of using the elevator. Try some of the more physical ideas in this post, 20+ Quick & Easy Ways To Practice Self-Care During Lunch.
Once you’re used to these smaller steps, commit to doing more.
Increase the intensity of your workouts until you can work up enough stamina to join an aerobics class twice per week. Trust me, once you’ve gotten moving, you’ll want to keep doing it. It can be hard to stop. And you may just decide to rearrange your schedule so that you could fit in an intense session at the gym.
By taking this approach, you not only improve your physical health but also rediscover the joy in movement – something that will continue to serve you well.
Add Exercise To Your Self-Care Routine Now
As you can see, exercise as a form of self-care is powerful; making it a priority is a must.
Are you ready to make a change?
If you’re feeling swamped and a little intimidated (both valid feelings, by the way), remember that it’s okay to take it slow. Progress doesn’t need to be lightning-fast; it’s about steady, enjoyable growth. No guilt, no pressure – just you, becoming healthier and happier.
So take small steps if you have to. Use a walking desk, desk bike, desk ball chair, or other desk exercise equipment instead of committing to a full year at the gym. Do some stretches while making food, and squats while putting your clothes away. Little things like these can make a world of difference.
What are you waiting for?
Lace up those sneakers, unroll that yoga mat, or go on that desk exercise equipment. It’s time to make exercise an essential part of your self-care routine, one step at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Exercise For Self-Care
For more information on how to add exercise into your self-care routine, check out our Q&As below:
How Often Should I Exercise For Self-Care?
When it comes to exercising for self-care, the most important thing is finding what works best for you. Everyone’s needs are different, and there isn’t one perfect answer when it comes to how often someone should exercise.
While some people feel they need to hit the gym every day or do an intense workout several times a week, others find that even moderate movement can help them emotionally release. Finding something that’s enjoyable and sustainable in your life could make all the difference.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what feels right: whether it’s taking a walk around the block once a day or lifting weights three times a week – only you know what will serve as helpful self-care in your life!
Are There Any Exercises That Are Particularly Beneficial For Self-Care?
Exercising for self-care can be a great way to maintain both physical and mental well-being. But are there any particular exercises that are especially beneficial?
The answer is yes! Pre-workout nutrition, strength training, aerobic exercise, and even physical therapy have all been linked to improved overall health.
With the right combination of activities tailored to your own needs, you’ll be able to find an effective workout routine for your self-care practice. Plus, it helps if you make exercising fun – look into group classes or hire a personal trainer who will keep you on track with motivation and accountability.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Have Access To A Gym Or Equipment?
If you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, don’t worry! There are plenty of bodyweight exercises and home workouts that you can do for self-care.
You don’t need fancy machines or weights to stay active – all it takes is getting creative with your own movement.
For example, pushups, squats, and lunges are great bodyweight exercises that require no equipment at all.
If you’re looking for more structured routines, you can also do classes online. I love the following:
- Correcting Forward Head Posture: Relieve Pain and Headaches
- Posturecise – 21 Healthy Posture Habits for Life
- Complete Stretching: 30+ Exercises For Flexibility & Posture
So even if going to the gym isn’t an option right now, you still have plenty of ways to get in some exercise as part of your self-care routine.
Is It Okay To Exercise If I’m Feeling Low Or Anxious?
Exercising when you’re feeling low or anxious can be a great way to manage your mood.
Mindful stretching and breathing techniques are excellent choices, as they help reduce stress while increasing focus on the present moment.
These activities won’t require access to a gym or equipment – all you need is yourself!
A few minutes of mindful stretching and deep breathing can do wonders for improving your mental wellbeing and helping to keep anxiety at bay.
What Can I Do To Stay Motivated To Exercise On A Regular Basis?
If you’re looking to stay motivated with exercise on a regular basis, it’s important to set achievable goals. Whether that means taking a walk around the block or increasing your running distance each week, having something tangible to work toward can help keep you going even when motivation is low.
Combining physical activity with mental health strategies like mindfulness and positive self-talk can help make exercise feel less daunting and more enjoyable. Exercise doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating – it’s all about finding the right workout for you!
Note: The information on this website is for general information only, and is not a substitute for medical, financial, or legal advice. You, or anyone you are concerned about, are encouraged to seek independent medical, legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the website information relates to your unique circumstances. If you or the person you are concerned about appear at risk of self-harm or harm to others, please seek immediate professional assistance.