We all appreciate the benefits of regular exercise for our bodies. Staying fit supports your body image, organ health, posture, and more. However, the rewards are not limited to physical wellness and can have a telling influence on your mental health too.
Given our increased understanding of mental health, this is a massive incentive to invest in a better fitness strategy. Here are 10 simple steps to ensure that fitness feeds the mind.
All exercises will release endorphins and dopamine. However, there’s no greater sense of satisfaction than hitting your goals. Working with experts like Conte Health & Fitness to set defined objectives and milestones is key. When workouts are tailored towards them, the momentum gained with each success will work wonders. Aside from boosting your confidence in relation to workouts, it should inspire you in other areas.
2| Focus On Fun
Exercise can be a great way to reduce your stress levels. Those benefits are greatly increased when you actually enjoy the workouts. They can become the thing you look forward to during a tough day of work. Whether it’s playing team sports or working on the gym actions you enjoy most doesn’t matter. When getting fit no longer feels like a chore you’ll be far more likely to keep up the good work too.
3| Add Social Aspects
Getting fit is a self-centered and personal task. However, surrounding yourself with the right people can enhance your relationship with exercise. As well as personal trainers, you should look to form new friendships and try working out with friends. Trading a midweek trip to the pub for a workout class, for example, will boost your mindset. Better still, it will make you feel less guilty about the weekend drinking sessions.
4| Include Bucket List Items
We all have a bucket list of things we’d like to achieve in our lives. Most of us include something fitness-related. Whether it’s running the London Marathon, completing a mini-triathlon, or winning the local netball league doesn’t matter. The aspirations will provide a huge source of motivation and can be the driving force behind your workouts. The emotional rewards of getting it right will stay with you forever.
If regular exercise is going to play a truly positive role in all aspects of your life, it needs to be integrated into your schedule. Other commitments cannot be ignored. However, if you leave fitness as an afterthought, you will continue to neglect it and skip sessions. Make sure that your daily and weekly schedules have dedicated times for fitness and you won’t go wrong.
6| Focus On Your Comfort
While the idea of setting goals is a priority, you should not forget that the purpose of getting fit is to boost your quality of life. Therefore, you should always keep a close eye on personal comfort levels. Exercise can actively help you get a better quality of sleep. When supported by the right recovery tips to fight muscle fatigue, you will feel better in daily life. In turn, your mind will remain in a better place at all times.
7| Make Nutrition Exciting
If you are planning to exercise more, it’s likely that nutrition will be on your list of priorities too. It’s important to eat healthily and enjoy balance. However, the great news about the increased activity is that your daily calorie limit will increase too. So, you’ll be able to enjoy a few extra traits. When you use online recipes like BBC Good Food, you can enjoy beautiful meals and tasty treats without any guilt.
8| Use Fitness To Help Others
Are you conscious of living an eco-friendly life? Or maybe you want to support communities that aren’t as fortunate as yours? You can use fitness to make this happen. One option is to raise money for charity when completing your bike ride or half marathon. Alternatively, cycling to work will reduce your carbon footprint compared to driving. The emotional rewards gained from supporting others are huge.
9| Take Time To Reflect On Progress
The ambition to keep improving is a wonderful thing. Nonetheless, if you always focus on the fact that you are not quite where you want to be, confidence may fall. So, taking time to reflect on your progress and how far you’ve come can be a pivotal step to gaining a better relationship with fitness. Just be sure to avoid resting on your laurels or thinking that the job is complete. Otherwise, sustainability won’t follow.
10| Celebrate With Treats
As mentioned, your improved fitness routines should be linked to achieving a better quality of life. With this in mind, it’s vital that you learn to actually let yourself enjoy the improved body and mindset. New clothes that show off your new and improved physique are a good option. Days out, homely products, healthy snacks, and a host of additional items can be used too. They will all highlight the fact that exercise makes your life better. Perfect.
Breathing is one of those things we all do, yet we rarely think about it; when a system like the respiratory works without us having to think about it or make it happen, it’s called “involuntary.” The respiratory system has the unique ability to work all on its own without our help, unlike the muscular system, which works voluntarily.
This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a perfect time to tune in and tap into how powerful our breath actually is.
When we breathe, we get this precious gift called life. We can survive 21 days without food, seven days without water but can only go one to three minutes without oxygen. And at the 60-second mark, brain cells are already dying. Yet after 20 years of teaching yoga to others, there is one thing I have come to find, many do not like to breathe. I would often notice few would appreciate the art of breathing practices (pranayama) in yoga. You could see people start to fidget, become distracted, and even get annoyed at the idea that they weren’t “doing anything” during their yoga class. Yet without the ability to breathe, nothing on the yoga mat would even be possible.
Breathing is a tool. Those that learn to harness the device and tap into its vast abilities to improve, help and even heal the body get to reap the benefits of increased vitality, health, and happiness. But time and time again, I have observed others choose pills, alcohol, and even violence to manage what we all call stress or our emotions rather than tap into this tool we are all born with and have access to us at any given time.
Stress can alter just about any system in the body if we allow it to.
Raise our blood pressure
Increase our heart rate
Increase our body temperature
Leave us in physical pain
Can decrease our immune system
Give us stomach discomfort
Make it difficult to sleep
Can affect your libido
Tense your muscles
Cause weight gain
Burden your nervous system
Leave shallow breathing
When is the last time you felt the effects of any of the above and thought you should practice deep breathing?
When my oldest son was small, and he’d get stressed out, the first thing I would have him do is deep breathing. Three deep breaths, I’d say, and we’d do them together. He’s now nearly a teenager, and I have observed him repeatedly defaulting to deep breathing when he is stressed, angry, frustrated, or can’t sleep. He automatically uses this incredible tool we all walk around with every day but rarely tap use voluntarily.
The average American breathes with less than 18% of their lung capacity. That’s what I like to call clavicle breathing. It’s no wonder we are a stressed-out, upset, unhealthy out of touch society. I say these are the very things I have felt before yoga and learning how to tap into my breathing. And the same things I think when I’m not in my body, using my breathing, and feeling grounded in my skin.
How do we breathe?
The average person takes about ten breaths per minute; that’s an average of 22,000-24,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing. And when we breathe, we inhale necessary oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and toxins that our body wants to remove. When we breathe, our lungs expand and take in air, and our diaphragm lowers and expands as well, taking in oxygen to then be distributed out to the millions of cells throughout our body that need that fresh oxygen to live.
Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist, says, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Yet how many people can say with certainty that they use them, work them, build them like their bicep regularly? There is a saying, “use it or lose it,” and it fits here with our breathing.
A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.
And, also nearly every system in the body is connected to our respiratory system or breathing.
Our metabolism increases when we practice deep breathing.
Our autonomic nervous system regulates when we deep breathe.
Our digestion can settle and improve when deep breathing.
Our muscles relax and get total oxygen, helping them not to cramp.
Our lymphatic systems become stimulated, hand and hand, with our immune system, both stimulated when we breathe.
Our body is fully oxygenated when we deep breathe.
And one of our deep breathing’s most impressive features is that it stimulates our vegas nerve.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen through multiple organs, including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. It controls the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which contains your relaxation response. Most people never breathe deep enough to stimulate this impressive nerve. We need the vagus nerve to be alive and working because the vagus nerve controls your mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response. Stimulating your vagus nerve can help to regulate many functions in your body.
Vagus nerve stimulation has been linked to treating epilepsy, improving digestive conditions, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety disorders. The journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reported in 2018 that the poor function of the vagus nerve could lead to mood and anxiety disorders. But most importantly, when you stimulate the vagus nerve, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. All of this can happen when you learn to breathe more deeply and more often.
WAKE UP, PEOPLE! BREATHING IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where does your breathing fall?
Clavicle Breathers: Those that breathe only into the upper chest, throat, and shoulders. These breathers often have lifted shoulders and a tense neck.
Chest Breathers: Those that breathe into the center of the chest.
Abdominal Breathers:Those that breathe deep into the belly and feel their lungs and abdomen expand freely.
We have forgotten our unique ability to help and heal ourselves. When you were a baby, no one had to tell you how to breathe, yet there you were, breathing so deeply that your entire torso was expanding and contracting every breath you took. I have listened and watched my children as infants, and now adolescents get upset and even cry only to default to their breathing to calm them down. It’s in you; you have done it; you have just forgotten how to do it.
Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique:
Sitting tall or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart/chest.
Exhale completely through your mouth and hear your breath move out of your body.
Inhale through your nose and move your breath deeply into your lower hand (belly) and feel it expand. Continue to move your breath up to notice your upper hand (chest) rise.
Exhale slowly move the air out, feeling your belly collapse and your chest lower (in any order).
Soften your jaw and relax your body, focus on fully emptying your belly when you exhale and fully expanding when you inhale.
Work yourself up towards a count of four counts on the inhale and eight on the exhale.
Repeat this for two to five minutes.
Anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing.
Allow yourself to hear your breath each time you inhale and exhale.
Continue this practice daily in the morning to wake up, when you are feeling stressed, waiting in traffic (minus the hands-on your body), or before you go to sleep to help you relax.
You have tools to help you breathe, relax, fall asleep. The real question is, are you using them?
Deep Abdominal Breathing Benefits:
Various deep abdominal breathing forms have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including increased blood flow and improved blood pressure. Deep breathing is also a helpful tool for relaxation and sleep. Taking deep breaths can also help you manage stress and improve cognitive function like brain fog and lack of focus and concentration.
If every tool you are reaching for is outside of yourself, let me ask you, have you tried the tools you were born with? The tools you were given and are the very tools that make this life possible? The tool I am talking about is your breathing.
For one week, practice deep abdominal breathing at least one time a day. Work to practice it at the same time each day. Set the alarm on your phone or in your calendar and make it a priority. All too often, we say something doesn’t work or help, and we have never really tried it, let alone given it the attention required to see results.
After seven days, come back and let us know how you did. What changed, what you noticed or found.
Creating, developing, and producing your own fitness channel is an exciting and fun journey. For starters, it’s a good way to motivate yourself to workout much more consistently. It can also be a great excuse to start your own ‘40 Days of Positive Posting’, inspiring others to pick up healthier habits. Whatever your reasons or motivations, starting your own fitness channel is actually not that hard to do.
Pick your niche or concept
If you’re already looking up ways to start your own channel or vlog, you’re probably already throwing around some ideas in your head about what you want to do. It can be easier to narrow down those ideas and pick out the best ones when you check out what some of the most successful and prominent fitness channels are up to. For instance, if you’re interested in Pilates, what can you do to differentiate yourself from Blogilates and the many other Pilates
-focused channels out there? Would it help to set your workouts to music like what The Fitness Marshall does? The reality is that there are already tons of other fitness channels and vlogs out there. And studying their moves can help you to stand out.
Invest in the right tools
Nowadays, even somewhat outdated iPhones are good enough for shooting and even editing videos for your planned fitness channel. But if you have the budget for better equipment, you can significantly increase the quality of your output and attract much more viewers. The good news is that there’s definitely no shortage of videography equipment out there. Adorama’s selection of video equipment showcases the wide range of professional video cameras, compact camcorders, lenses, lights, and filming accessories available to the modern videographer. Whatever your budget, there’s a video setup that’s right for your channel. Meanwhile, CBS 19’s list of mic and other audio equipment shows the different affordable pro-level microphones aimed at the gaming and streaming market. Any of the listed mics can also be highly useful for ensuring crisp audio on your fitness channel. Ensuring that your raw video and audio are crisp and clear will make editing easier, and can make your videos all the more watchable and shareable.
Don’t be afraid to get creative
Experiment with different shooting angles that can reinforce what you want to teach or show to your target audience. Try out different kinds of lighting to see which angles, brightness, and colors work best for your poses and movements. You can also use this opportunity to model different workout outfits. Take your channel to different locations for a varied look and feel throughout episodes. When you’re competing with hundreds of already successful and fledgling fitness channels, a little creativity can go a long way in finding your audience and establishing your niche.
Do your best to be a positive online presence
In the age of edited influencer photos, video filters, and like-based vindication, posting or streaming anything online can be a highly effective way of touching people’s lives. How do you want people to react to or interact with your fitness channel? Whether you want to become a TikTok sensation, bag a fitness media or advertising deal, or simply put out great content, it’s your responsibility as a content creator to be aware of how you can affect others. This is why it’s important to develop your content with the perspective of being a positive online presence. Audiences are very good at reading authenticity, and being genuinely positive can significantly help in attracting the right followers to your channel.
What you say matters. Words matter. You matter. And in a culture full of broken language, continuous slang, emoji’s, and texting, the art of words is slowly being forgotten.
The world is like it has never been before. Our knowledge base, our insights, our technology is all on the up and up; but what is on the down and out, is our language, our words, which tell our brains what to think and how to see the world.
Words hold vibrations and considering we are all made up of energy, what level of frequencies do you want to surround yourself with?
You may be what you eat, but you are what you say.
Mantras & Affirmations
For thousands of years, ancient eastern cultures have seen and acted on the power of words and vibration through chanting and mantra. Much like an affirmation the pitch, tone and combine words hold a very powerful energy and vibration when said correctly and continuously, changing the brain and your outlook on life.
What is a mantra? “A mantra can be a single syllable such as “ram”, a number of syllables, or a whole verse. One of the most often used definitions of a mantra is something that protects the person who has received it. It is not something we can find in a book or buy it somewhere.”(The Heart of Yoga, T.K.V. Desikachar)
Mantras have been and still are used to help people break bad habits and at the same time create new ones. They are often given by a teacher to a student for a specific reason and to achieve a specific result. A mantra is used to do penance and show forgiveness. Mantras are used across cultures and often used today as we know them as prayers, songs, and affirmations.
Affirmations are positive words or phrases that are used to affirm something. Internally they offer support and encouragement to the one possessing the affirmation.
Words Carry Energy through language and vibrations
Like mantras, affirmations reaffirm the power words hold, the power of the vibration they possess. And when you speak with broken language and do not speak clearly are not able to attract that energy, and are putting out a completely different energy. In a Sanskrit mantra, one wrongly spoken syllable you could go from speaking something positive and inviting to something horrible or silly. Mantras ask the mind to dance with them, getting the mind all caught up in its harmony that soon the mind forgets what it was so wrapped up in and at the same time has transformed it’s thought patterns to a higher vibration.
Considering our brains are wired to prefer the negative, using a powerfully positive affirmation can help one align with their desires, hopes, and dreams. Or simply see life as a great experience, rather than a horrible one. When we speak in slang, fragments, and slurs we diminish the power of words, we torque the energetic vibration of what we speak, write, and say. And although it may sound cool or be much quicker to text and write, the consequences are fragmented, and I think we can all agree that our world’s current state and this current generation is in major need of a realignment and a re-connection with life itself.
Affirmations are powerful attraction statements, often used with the starting phrase “I AM”. In stating such a phrase at the beginning of the affirmation you are saying to the Universe that this is what YOU ARE. And when you say, do or visualize something repeatedly, it becomes you and you become it.
I used mantra and affirmations during my recovery and continue to use them today, especially as I continue to get to the bottom of old mindsets and negative belief patterns that are not only unhealthy for me but for others and are often what is keeping me from abundance in my life.
Repetitive, Negative Self-talk is Unhealthy
Jole Osteen said, “What follows the “I am” will always come looking for you…. Many times, we are using the power of ‘I am’ against us.” What are you looking to create in your life? You get a free preview of that creation by discovering your current “I am” beliefs”.
How often do we all say things that solidify our future, outlook and what we attract?
I am always rushed I am so tired I am always broke I am a dummy I am stupid I am fat I am no good I am under qualified I am never going to make it I am always last I am I am I am…
And I can pretty much guarantee that those people will most likely never receive what they have already told the universe and their brains that they shouldn’t EVER have.
Kristen Butler with the Power of Positivity has talked about the I AM transformations. Because here’s the thing, ‘I am’ will always come looking for you, it’s like a magnet so what are you attracting? Is it what you want to attract? And are you willing to make a change in something as small as what you say? What if just changing that could change your entire life?
Let’s play a game.
I am always broke………. becomes………. I AM always full of abundance I am a dummy………. becomes………. I AM smart and intelligent I am fat………. becomes………. I AM fit I am never good enough………. becomes………. I AM good enough I am under qualified………. becomes………. I AM highly qualified I am never going to make it………. becomes………. I AM going to make it, I have what it takes I am always last………. becomes………. I AM exactly where I need to be
The power of affirmations is vital to the success and well-being of all people personally and professionally! And it is because of this and my own personal experiences with affirmations and transformational mindset that I created the powerful course series: Monumental Clarity. In this series, I created a powerful opportunity for those truly ready and willing to make changes they can reap the benefits and go take action.
Clearing Mental Clutter is a rapid result mini-course that propels those participating in a new way of looking at life, and living life and speaking about life. Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those looking to break bad habits and set new ones. Those that are sick and tired of being sick and tired of feeling like nothing goes their way and who realize that a big part of making a change is that they must look at themselves first.
Are you ready to say I AM to what you desire most?
Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those who like me have struggled with a negative self-image, lack in their personal and professional lives, and despite all the right efforts still, are lacking. Those that are ready to live happily, whole, and healthy, breath, body, and belief (mindset) every single day.
The affirmations I use in these courses are designed to help you get to the heart of the issues keeping you from all you desire, as one builds into the next.
I used to fight affirmations because my brain was so tied up in negativity and self-loathing mindset that I wouldn’t allow myself to even mentally say such words because I didn’t want me to succeed.
But here’s the thing, you should want it FIRST for anything to change. And affirmations cost you NOTHING, not a penny, just the willingness to make a small change in what you say and how you say it.
How to create powerful positive affirmations
1. Use the I AM statement
Use the “I AM” statement at the beginning of your affirmation to claim what you say and attract that to your life.
2. Use words that are positive and are specific
Think about where you struggle and what you need to work on and then use a positive phrase to help you in that area.
3. Say it, write it, read it!
The more you use, see, and say your affirmation, the more powerful it is. Who cares if someone thinks you are silly? They won’t be thinking that when you reap what you have sown here with your positive I AM affirmation now, will they?
4. Catch yourself.
When you catch yourself thinking or saying those negative affirmations, STOP yourself immediately and out loud say “cancel, cancel, cancel” and then repeat your positive “I AM” statement. Don’t allow your brain to absorb those hurtful words even for a second.
5. Once you start, don’t stop.
If you suffered a back injury, you shouldn’t stop the exercises to strengthen your back just because it finally feels better-right? The same goes for your new play on words. Keep up with your I AM statements and slowly work to change how you think, speak, and command to the world around you.
If you are ready to clear the cobwebs in that head of yours and take a real first step towards everything you desire and everything that is waiting for you. Let’s do it together, I can help! LET’S TRANSFORM TOGETHER.
Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.
How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?
No. Amazing posture.
Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self-esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.
Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.
But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness, and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.
Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.
So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your body’s health and alignment but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.
Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture
1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose
Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently lookup.
Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.
2. Shoulder Blade Runner
Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to gently face up (no hyperextension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.
Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.
3. Turkey Neck Stretch
Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
Now close your mouth and imagine you have an underbite and push the bottom jaw upward.
Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
Gently bring the head back to center.
4. Melting Wheel
Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).
Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting, and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counterbalance by hinging forward.
5. Rolling Forward Fold
Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.
In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees, and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.
Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this website is to provide community support and knowledge of various lifestyle topics. This website is for informational purposes and should not be seen as any kind of professional advice unless stated otherwise. We are not physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or therapists. All our advice is based on our own experiences. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new diet or exercise program.