Can you guess the health habit my clients find the hardest to follow? It's regular exercise. Despite their best intentions, most of my clients allow exercise to fall by the wayside when life gets busy or stressful - which is all the time, right?
But there is a way to begin or renew your commitment to physical fitness, something that should come easily to every woman because you have to do it anyway.
The secret is simply to breathe...deeply and often.
Whether you are currently exercising or not, think about how your routine could be enriched by paying more attention to your breath. Mindful exercise that synchronizes movement and breath has the power to change more than how you look.
Many of my clients come to me knowing that diet and exercise form the cornerstone of good health. They want to "be better" about going to the gym but just can't seem to stick with their exercise plan for more than a month or two. Most of my clients find it much easier to change their diet than their physical activity levels because they have to find time to eat - not so with exercise.
One of the reasons aerobic exercise is good for you (and is so good at clearing away mental cobwebs) is that it ups your heart rate and forces your lungs to take in more oxygen while expelling more carbon dioxide. This gives your heart a good workout - it is a muscle after all - and pumps a quick jolt of oxygen through your cells, even those that may have been operating at reduced capacity.
Melt the Stress and Worry Away
We live in a stressful world. Fast-paced. More, more, more seems to be the moto. Sometimes things don't happen as we plan and we get sad and fall off the wagon. Make it a priority to take a few minutes every day to focus on your breathing. This is a easy first step to get back on track. It is amazing how much better you will feel! Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself.
Try this Simple Deep Breathing Exercise Right Now!
When asked the question, "What one thing can people do today to start relieving their stress," I almost always answer with, "Take a few deep breaths."
The most basic thing to remember is that your breath begins with a full exhalation (I know this seems counterintuitive, but it's true). You can't inhale fully until you empty your lungs completely. It is also important to breathe in through your nose.
Now try this: Sit in a comfortable position with your hands on your knees. Relax your shoulders. On your next exhalation, breathe out slowly through your nose, counting to five. Tense your abdominal muscles, drawing in your diaphragm to help your lungs deflate. At the bottom of your breath, pause for two counts, then inhale slowly to the count of five. Expand your belly as you breathe in. Now close your eyes and repeat 5-10 times. Think of your diaphragm as the pump and your breath as the power.
If you find that your mind wanders during this exercise, don't worry. Just refocus on your counting. As your awareness of your breath increases, you'll find that it becomes easier to breathe deeply without so much attention.
It is really all about making small changes in your life. One step at a time.
Remember, life is journey not a destination. Enjoy the process! 🙂