Taking Breaks From Exercising

Young woman in gym with headphones on tying her right shoe

Space Out Your Workouts

Life is more than just exercising all the time. Once a fitness routine is established, we sometimes become obsessive; we worry if we miss a workout. Unless you are training for the olympics or are a pro athlete, it’s fine and acceptable to space out your workouts and take some pressure off your shoulders.

Working out too consistently can actually promote fatigue and burnout. This can increase your chances of kissing your workouts goodbye for good. Once burnout occurs, it becomes quite difficult to recover; it’s key to avoid it in the first place. Imagine all of your months or years of hard work, only to lose it all because you became burned out!

The key to maintaining a proper workout regimen is to space out the days in which you exercise. Your routine need not be rigidly consistent over a long period of time. This may work at first, but over time, it greatly increases your chances of losing interest. Rather, space out your workouts and be flexible. If on one day you do not feel like exercising, find something else to do!

You do not have to feel guilty or stressed because you skipped a workout day. Rather, find another activity which will take your mind off exercising and bring you peace and relaxation. Sometimes just “chilling” is all you need to feel good and take your mind off fitness.

There are so many other activities which you can do rather than exercising all of the time. Learn to find pleasure in various activities and hobbies; a rigid life will stir up your mental health in the wrong direction and potentially increase your chances of developing a mental illness.

A repetitive life can quickly spiral out of control. It may cause you to not only lose interest in exercising but in life in general. Once a certain threshold of stress has been surpassed, your chances of developing a substance abuse disorder or major depression increase substantially.

Don’t overdo your workouts. Sometimes going with the flow is all you need to remain relaxed and happy in life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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US Open Tennis 2019

Time lapse photo of green tennis ball flying in air

Mental Toughness In Tennis Matches

Tennis is a unique sport in that you are stepping onto the battlefield by yourself; there are no teammates to clean up after you. Mental toughness makes up about 75% of a successful player’s arsenal; 20% is their physicality and 5% is luck. You may think that the bigger or faster you are, the more advantage you have.

This is true up to a certain level; in juniors, physicality can help score a lot of Ws. But once a player reaches the pros, it becomes obvious that many of the top-ranked players have an impressive physicality; their success comes down to their mental strength. Talent is already understood; a player wouldn’t be a top-ranked professional if he or she did not have talent.

Coaching and strategy are very important as well, but all top-ranked players have great coaches and well-defined strategies. And luck is non-reliable; it comes and goes as it wishes. So one component remains and dominates consistently: mental toughness.

Tennis is a very psychological sport. On any given day, any great tennis player can lose to another player who is considered a weaker opponent. The psychology of the game begins prior to even stepping onto the court:

  • You start to analyze your opponent
  • You become more in touch with your body (i.e.: cramps, pain, stiffness)
  • You analyze your game and if anything is bothering you about it
  • You start to deal with any emotional issues or mental concerns
  • You start to feel the nerves, pressure and anxiety

The psychological aspect of the game continues onto the court:

  • You analyze your opponent’s current level of play
  • You analyze which strategy is best for the current match
  • You have to properly handle frustration and not let it bring you down
  • You have to compensate with different strokes if one is letting you down
  • You have to come up with bigger shots if your player is on fire
  • You have to handle your nerves
  • You have to block out the annoying fans who are rooting for your opponent
  • You have to block out any personal issues or distractions which have followed you onto the court
  • And you have to maintain consistent mental toughness until you capture the W

You see, at a certain level, most players have an impressive physicality: they are over 6’1″, have a lot of strength, have great flexibility, are very quick and move very well and have great endurance and stamina. Slightly improving physicality over the average is not going to make a decent player a consistent champion.

What makes a tennis player great is discipline, hard work and mental toughness. Tennis is like a chess match, more or less: the size of the player is irrelevant but the mental component is everything. Just watch the United States Tennis Open in Flushing, New York to get an understanding of what is required to be a great tennis player!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Fun Ways To Exercise

Young fit woman standing near plants having fun during her workouts

Having Fun During Your Workouts

Exercising does not have to be repetitive. By becoming creative with exercising, you will find a renewed motivation to work out and stay fit. A lot of people give up on their exercise routines because they do not spice up their activities; think of a hamster running on its wheel for the next 2-3 years.

One of the keys to successful exercising is having fun doing it. For instance, why are you jogging on a treadmill? Go outside and enjoy the view: jog on the streets or a park in your neighborhood while enjoying nature and your surroundings. Leave the treadmills for the hamsters!

When you are lifting, are you putting on your headphones and rocking out to motivational music such as rock, hip hop or trance? If you are not, then you are missing out on a great deal of unlocked energy and potential which can help make your workouts more fun and enjoyable. Music helps you to establish a rhythm as well as put you in another state of mind which motivates you to work out harder!

When you are playing a sport such as basketball, soccer or tennis, are you actually having fun or just playing because you have no choice? You always have a choice! Either enjoy the sport and take in every moment of it or find something else to do! Do not waste your time playing a sport if you are not going to have fun performing in it.

For some people, exercising is fun when they are teaching others. If you are the type of person who enjoys teaching, find a friend who can start benefitting from exercising and guide them through their workouts; teaching can be very fun and engaging and provide you with more drive to stay active and fit!

It is no secret that the key to enjoying anything in life is having fun doing it. This is no different with work, education, socializing, vacations or exercising. Remind yourself that everything that you do must be enjoyed in a fun way. Viewing life from this perspective will deliver you more happiness and long-term prosperity!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

No Motivation To Work out

Motivated woman working out by running up the stairs outside

How To Find Motivation To Work out

Working out takes discipline and drive; without the two, your motivation to work out will not go a long way. Exercising and staying fit is like a second job but you do not have to view it that way. The positive way to look at it is by acknowledging the fact that exercising is healthy for your mind and body!

A lot of people do not have any motivation to work out because they have never learned how to incorporate an exercise routine into their life. Even if they are interested in starting to exercise, they throw the idea aside when they arrive home from work and feel tired.

Even if you have long days at work, exercising should be looked upon as a fun and exciting thing to do: it refreshes you, provides you with a fresh burst of energy, makes you feel good about yourself, disciplines you and keeps you mentally and physically fit! You just have to remind yourself about these benefits and how happy they will make you.

Do not attempt to jump into an intense workout routine multiple times a week; you will not last long. The key is to build up your drive by starting to work out once or twice a week for 30 minutes at a time. And do not put in a lot of effort. Take it easy and learn to enjoy the process; allow yourself to become comfortable with working out.

As with any new routine, it takes time, discipline, a strong work ethic, consistency and determination to maintain a new positive habit in your life. There will be days when you will feel like giving up, especially early in your training. This feeling is normal, but do not fall for the trap of losing your drive and falling behind on your workout routine. Once you start to fall behind, it becomes very hard to regain your motivation and catch up!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Working Out Consistently

Woman consistently exercising in gym

Do I Have To Eat After Working Out?

We often find ourselves in a bad mood due to some random event in our lives, and the last thing on our mind is to go exercise or continue with our workout routine. Our bad mood kills our motivation; it’s as if we morph into another person who no longer wants to stick with the routines we had in place.

You cannot let life events that cause you to have a bad mood interfere with your workout routines! You must fight through the pain and utilize your workouts as a source of positive energy; transfer your bad mood into the fitness session and reap the good mood afterwards. Exercise is excellent for your mental health!

The key is consistency. You cannot control life events that make you unhappy but you can control your consistent workout routines! Try going out in nature to exercise; not only will you reap the benefits of physical activity but you will also feel much better due to the therapeutic effect of nature!

And the same applies with eating after working out: you must replenish your body with nutrients in order to revitalize your body and mind! Eating is a discipline; you must train your mind to eat healthy after every workout!

Your body utilizes a lot of energy during running, lifting, swimming and playing sports. If you do not eat properly after these activities, your body will not efficiently reap the benefits of your workouts because you are not providing it with the nutrients it needs to recover.

What you eat is very important! Stay low on unsaturated fats and carbohydrates and stick to a high protein diet mixed with vegetables and fruits; as much protein and vitamins as possible will replenish your lost energy and promote muscle growth and overall well-being. At the end of the day, energy intake must not exceed energy output by too much; keep the ratio at a happy medium!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Wimbledon 2019: Serena Williams

Singles tennis match on Wimbledon center court

The Underdog Alison Riske

Tennis is a beautiful and passionate sport that brings out the best in people: hard work, strength, desire, will, motivation, determination and toughness. You must be willing to wake up every day and give it your all; you have no teammates to help you out!

Serena Williams used to hit balls with her sister Venus out of a shopping cart in the rusty streets of Compton, California. Alison Riske used to hit balls in a cold bubble at a club named Windwood, in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Different stories but one common theme is evident: persistence and passion brought these players to the top of the tennis world!

If you are not able to remain mentally tough for 2-3 hours at a time, then tennis is not the sport for you. You have no teammates to assist you when you are running low on concentration or physical strength; you are out there on your own. Your career depends on how much hard work you put in since day one.

Getting your children involved in tennis is one of the best things you can do for them. The sport will teach them discipline, listening skills, the joy of winning, the pain of losing and the beauty of learning. Since you are playing on your own, it can become very gratifying to reap many wins after shedding so many tears; the feeling is priceless.

And that is what Alison Riske is set out to accomplish at this year’s Wimbledon. She will step out onto a quarterfinal stage to face one of the greatest (if not, the greatest) women’s tennis player of all time: Serena Williams. And who wins does not matter. But who leaves with a smile on their face will be victorious in the end!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Keeping Your Drive To Exercise Alive

Motivated woman exercising and doing yoga on blue stability ball

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Exercising on a consistent basis requires motivation and persistence; it is so easy to lose the two and drop your entire routine all together. Somewhere inside of you, you must find a reason to keep yourself determined to maintain your fitness habits.

Whether you want to lose weight, remain healthy or become fit, your goal should be to maintain an exercise routine 2-3 times a week, for about 30-45 minutes per session. If discipline is something that you struggle with, you need to find a way to develop it now before it’s too late. As you get older, it becomes harder to instill new habits and break old ones; as the saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The discipline to exercise is based on motivation; you must find something that keeps you pushing. Whatever you find will help you exercise on the days that feel the hardest to get going; when you succeed to exercise on those days, your discipline will be reinforced and you will find it easier to maintain your drive to exercise.

Lastly, do not lose sight of the most important factor in regards to exercising: having fun! In anything that you do, having fun is key to maintaining a momentum and succeeding with your goals.

The DSM Ready Movement is about having fun!

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Jogs For Days

Woman with headphones jogging in nature on forest trail near green trees

The Benefits Of Jogging

Many people find jogging to be boring and mundane, but it can be quite exciting if you keep in mind the physical and mental health benefits, as well as finding a fun and peaceful place to jog. Jogging on a treadmill is probably not the best place to start if you have a preconceived notion that jogging is boring. The best place to jog is in nature: parks, forest trails, boardwalks, around lakes and even on the street (preferably in a nice suburban area).

Physical health benefits of jogging:

  • Helps to build strong bones (considered a weight bearing exercise)
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness (considered an aerobic activity)
  • Burns calories and helps with weight loss
  • Enhances lung capacity (increases the lung’s intake capacity over time)
  • Enhances fitness (improves body tone and shape)
  • Reduces fatigue (endurance is built over time)

Mental health benefits of jogging:

  • Relieves stress (helps you ignore stressful events or allows you to sweat it out)
  • Boosts confidence (you will feel more confident as you become more fit)
  • Boosts happiness (it is great at fighting against depression and anxiety because it distracts you against those issues and keeps you focused on the act of exercising and becoming more fit)
  • Keeps you in tune with yourself (jogging is a very personal act; it keeps you focused on your surroundings and yourself; it allows you to dive into your thoughts and feelings)

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and jog for days! Your mind, body and soul will reward you for it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Utilize Nature As A Guide Through Your Exercises

In nature looking up at trees during daytime

The Therapeutic Effect Of Nature

There is something wonderful about exercising outdoors. The act of being in nature delivers a calming effect and makes you feel natural and free again; as opposed to cornering yourself into a gym all the time. Change up your habits and go back outdoors as we were intended to be from the beginning of time.

Find a park, a boardwalk, a hill, mountains or a lake and allow nature to act as a motivating force for you to exercise. Jogging is an awesome example of an exercise that can be done anywhere and it does not take much effort besides putting on a pair of running shoes.

Allow the breeze, the sun rays, the smell of ocean water or the light mountain rain to melt away your stress and fill you with pure natural energy; utilize this energy to push yourself to the limit during your workouts.

Nature can also promote creativity during your workouts; the calming effect gets your creative juices flowing, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone. Nature also allows you to clear your mind and escape reality; let the thoughts of work, stress, family and daily hurdles vanish as you and nature become one. Nature is here to guide us like DSM Ready is here for us to learn from.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why Going To The Gym Is A Rock-Solid Plan

Exercise bike lot in gym

The Importance Of Exercising

Growing up, some of us think to ourselves “Why does that kid work out? Who in their right mind wants to put so much effort only to grow some muscles?” And if we did want to be big like our peers, we certainly did not want to put in the work. But little did we know that going to the gym would deliver us confidence and happiness.

If you have not started going to the gym and you are above age 30, it is not too late! The first step in succeeding at the gym is obtaining a membership and going there; if you do that, you have won half the battle.

So why should anyone go to the gym? For starters, it is important to exercise. It is no secret that exercising is important for your physical and mental health; it gets you in shape and feeling good about yourself.

The health benefits of working out:

  • It can make you feel happier (it improves your mood and decreases feelings of depression, anxiety and stress)
  • It can help with weight loss (it increases your metabolic rate and helps you burn more calories, maximizes fat loss and maintains muscle mass)
  • It builds and maintains strong muscles and bones (it stimulates muscle building through better absorption of amino acids (the building blocks of muscles) and helps build bone density, which prevents osteoporosis later in life)
  • It is an energy booster (it can help reduce fatigue)
  • It reduces your risk for chronic diseases (it decreases blood pressure and high cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular fitness and reduces belly fat)
  • It can help skin health (it increases your body’s natural production of antioxidants, which help protect skin cells from free-radical damage and stimulates blood flow, helping slow down the process of skin aging )
  • It improves brain function (it increases your heart rate which results in a better blood flow to your brain, it increases the size of the hippocampus – the memory bank of the brain, promoting increased retention of memories and better learning)
  • It can help you relax and sleep better (the energy that is lost during exercise helps your body recuperate during sleep, the increased body temperature during exercise promotes a drop in temperature during sleep, improves insomnia and helps you feel more energized during the day)
  • It improves chronic pain (it raises your pain tolerance and reduces your pain perception)
  • It can promote a better sex life (it boosts sex drive, improves sexual performance, improves blood circulation and cardiovascular function, increases the frequency of orgasms and helps reduce erectile dysfunction)

As you can see, working out, whether through aerobic exercise or resistance training (preferably both) has many health benefits that will help turn you into a stronger and more resilient person. And this results in the common denominator of happiness, which is one of the core principles of The DSM Ready Movement.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)