Life can feel pretty hectic and stressful keeping up with money issues, dealing with challenging work situations, or facing difficult family conditions. Feeling “stressed out” might become a bad habit affecting your energy level, overall well being, and even increasing your cortisol levels (related to weight gain) and blood pressure. If you are an expecting mother, that’s not only bad for you, it’s bad for baby too! What are some ways you can offset that stress? Meditation, exercise and movement are some of the most powerful tools to create overall well-being, increase blood circulation and strengthen body and mind. Here’s what Personal Fitness Guru, Sherri Mcmillan has to say about this:
“We are all craving a sense of calm and peace and more people are starting to practice yoga, tai chi and other forms of meditative exercise to help manage their ever increasing stress level. Meditation and mindful exercise have been credited with reducing stress and helping to manage anger and depression, improving muscular strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, enhancing cardiovascular health, increasing self-awareness, self-efficacy and personal empowerment, decreasing pain, reducing blood pressure, and more… That’s a long list of benefits!”*
Finding a fitness regime that is inexpensive and calming can be a challenge. Fortunately for us, we have the beautiful Pacific Northwest to use as our gym and meditation haven. Get creative! Get outside, enjoy the fresh air and find a quiet spot to practice yoga, go for a swim or just sit and enjoy the sunshine. Here’s a list of how we can use the great outdoors and better ourselves physically and emotionally.
Stairs: You can easily find stairs virtually anywhere. Public park, city building, or even a high school stadium! Whether you walk or run, stairs will strengthen your heart while toning your legs.
Hill or Hike: A small hill can be great for repetitive back and forth bursts or find a hiking trail with a lot of ups and down to get your heart pumping and get in your cardio for the day.
Public park: Another great use for a park is the amazing equipment. “You can use the monkey bars for chin-ups and a bench or step is great for performing step ups or box jumps.”* Some communities may offer free classes in the local park where you can meet new workout friends!
Weights: Weights can be expensive but using what’s around you is fun and free! Find a large rock and raise it above your head or hold it to your chest while doing squats. Have a baby or toddler? Hold them on your back while walking or hold them to your chest while doing squats and lunges. They think they’re playing and you get a great workout in!
Unplug: Get out into nature. Turn off the phones and enjoy the fresh air, beautiful sunshine and the gorgeous views the Pacific Northwest has to offer. The more we connect with our inner selves the happier we become physically and emotionally. You will become more aware of what your body needs and will feel the stress melt away.
Whether we’re working out to lose weight or just to clear our minds- step outside, take a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery. It’s good for you, and your baby.