by Stephanie Spickler
Healthy is more than just an adjective, it’s a way of life. Healthy, in our day and age, is roughly defined as being free from disease or pain; overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; The current, full definition can be found here at merriam-webster.com
We see “healthy” everywhere, in magazines, in grocery stores..on TV. But what does Healthy actually mean? I figured the definition was a lengthy scientific calculation regarding weight, height, BMI. I am slightly embarrassed to admit I thought that. I didn’t even think about mental wellness or the emotional aspect of the word. How did I not think about that? Probably because our society has been so caught up with the physical, aesthetic aspect. Apparently I did too!
So why is the term healthy important and why are changing workouts regularly beneficial to overall health?
Because our bodies change on a day to day basis, from the amount of sleep we get, the types of foods we eat and put into our bodies, the hormone levels, environmental conditions. The list goes on. Healthy encompasses so much more than just the physical state of being. Healthy does not necessarily mean skinny, Healthy also doesn’t mean you must look like a chiseled rock. Healthy is different for everyone. A lot of men and women, including myself at times, pack the pressure on internally, to achieve a “look” and we often forget to put enough emphasis on the way we feel.
Do you eat the same thing, every single meal, every single day of the year? No, probably not. So why workout the same? Gyms have great equipment options, but they can be intimidating all around sometimes! We need to change more than just the muscles we focus on at the gym that day. Alternating from ‘leg day’ to ‘arm day’ is a great way to ensure you target all parts of your physical body, but you need to change more than that for overall health. I know that when I go to the gym, I constantly worry about my form, whos looking at me, am I doing my reps quick enough?.. Is there someone waiting for the piece of equipment I am using? All those things can distract your mind from reaping all of the benefits of the workout. Try grabbing some free weights from your local store and take them to the park. Take them to the beach with your bestie...get tan, chat with your bestie and enjoy an after workout cooldown in the saltwater! Take your workout somewhere that you can exercise and rejuvenate both your mind and body.
Working out isn’t just good for physical fitness, it can provide huge benefits mentally and emotionally. It can boost your mood or help release tension, it can strengthen your muscles and your mind. It’s important to change your workout routine regularly to reap all the benefits of exercising. Just like in eating, we eat a variety of vegetables, a variety of fruits, etc.. variety is key to reaping all the benefits of the foods available to us.
So... what does exercise for the mind and the emotional aspect of our health actually mean? Working out for the mind and soul can include so many things! Indulge in whatever it is that you need to work on, personally. Just like when you set a plan for physical fitness, you should create a plan for your mind and soul. Everyone is different and reflecting within yourself to find the things that stretch and work your mind and soul out is the first step. Working out for the mind and soul just means we focus on who we are as humans, our passions, our interests. We actively need to seek activities that enable us to FEEL good, not just look good - activities that help us grow our uniquely precious characteristics and individual skills.
I personally change my workout style, intensity and activities. Most of November i kicked butt with intense physical workouts….but the other week I skipped my BeachBody a couple days and opted to completely rearrange the furniture in my great room. I arranged the furniture to focus around one another instead of focusing around the TV so we could inspire more conversation and family time. Everytime I switched my decorative pillows, I squatted. The next day, I rearranged the Art on the walls. I did walking lunges around my home while doing it. Then decorated for the Holiday (which did not include squats or walking lunges...I drank a beer ha! What I did do though was focus intently on making my home feel and look the way I wanted it to in order to feel good living there. It helped clear my mind while I got a workout. I came out of the experience very uplighted, excited and physically exhausted in the best kind of way and according to my iWatch, I burned 98 calories while achieving my target heart rate to consider it a cardio workout! (See more here; Burn Calories By Moving )
There are Beer and Yoga events, who says you can’t enjoy a cold beer while in Warrior pose? I personally think this sounds amazing, life is busy, combine a refreshing beer with a relaxing Yoga workout. So do what makes you happy and do what rejuvenates you. There are Wine & Painting classes you can go to that exercise your mind and soul which can rejuvenate and restore our moods. Maybe painting doesn’t necessarily burn calories or make you sweat like your spin class but it does wonders for your mind and emotional wellbeing, which is very important to overall health.
Working out physically is extremely important, there is no substitute for a sweaty workout. It’s important to remember though, that you must indulge in the things that rejuvenate and build your mind and soul to. Even with perfect physical health, without emotional or mental health - we’re not healthy. So let go of the images and ideas of the perfect body or weight and focus on loving yourself all around, enjoy good sweaty workouts, laugh and love to fulfill your soul and work hard to accomplish your goals and dreams - no matter what they are or what they look like because it’s the only way to achieve a true overall healthy life.