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Posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Staying Fit to Overcome Tough Times

2020 was challenging, to the point many of us hit a tailspin that’s nearly impossible to get out of. Perhaps you’ve taken those important first steps: admitted you are powerless over world circumstances, shut off the news, connected with friends for Zoom happy hours and are starting to set aside some time for vacation. 

There’s no doubt that a great many people are struggling in the wake of recent lifestyle changes. But you can definitely help your own recovery along - and get yourself in the best shape of your life - by holding yourself accountable to a regular physical fitness routine.

Which Routines are the Best?  

The best answer to that question might be “any and all of them.” However, if you’re a scraggly, stereotypical 98-pound weakling, trying to deadlift your own weight on your first trip to the gym might not be best for you. Likewise, if you get winded after climbing a flight of stairs, you probably won’t want to jog three miles on your first day.

To get started, choose a routine (or combination of routines) and stick with it. Start small and work your way up, and take it one day at a time. Remember that it’s important to find a routine that’s enjoyable for you. Also, find someone else who enjoys the same type of activity and exercise together, which can help you hold each other accountable. 

All the Standard Benefits of Exercise - And More

Not only will you be getting your body in shape, you’ll also produce endorphins, those natural chemicals that transmit neural functions in your brain. The high you would get from the substance to which you were addicted used to produce them as well, but this time, you’ll get them with exercise. You might’ve heard of what’s called the “runner’s high.” Well, it’s that same sensation you can get with regular exercise, all the while creating new neural pathways in your brain that can basically rewire it for more healthy benefits such as more positive thinking, a boost of confidence and substantially less stress, all to help keep you on the path to recovery.

Here are some common exercises that you can try, either by themselves or in combination with each other.

Running and Walking

As mentioned earlier, runners describe what they call a natural high as they run and endorphins are released. If you’re new to this exercise and are still developing your exercise routine, be sure you have a good pair of shoes made for running, comfortable clothes and a route mapped out (if you’re running outside), or a place to go such as a gym or community center with a walking track. Start small and gradually work up to longer distances. You can also get a similar effect by walking at a fast pace, if you prefer. 

Weight Training

Just as running or fast walking can release endorphins, so can pumping some iron. There are a number of exercises you can do at home with barbells and free weights, or you can join a gym. If you can’t afford a lot of equipment or a gym membership, consider bodyweight training. According to Jim Smith of Muscle & Fitness, it’s free and you can do those exercises anywhere. 

Yoga

With deep breathing and only a few basic poses, yoga can not only stretch and work your body, it can also help your mind focus and put you in a meditative state. That’s important when you are trying to retrain your brain while in recovery. The movement and deep breathing also release those essential endorphins. 

You can either sign up for a class (something else you can do with a mate), or purchase a book or find some yoga poses and tips online. Working out on the go can be a little challenging, but you can secure your phone with an armband and use earbuds if you want to listen to music. 

Getting out of a funk can be long and personal. Along the way, however, regular and consistent exercise is essential in rebuilding your body, mind and self-confidence. It’s one of the best tools to get life back on track. 

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