While there are many trends, and conflicting opinions when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are a few things about our health that we know with absolute certainty.
- Water is a necessity...and we probably aren't drinking enough
- Fruits and vegetables are natures best superfood and always will be
- Sleep makes our body, mind, and hormones happy
- Our bodies were never meant to sit all day, they were designed to MOVE
But in a society where athleisure wear is now considered fashion, workouts like soul cycle have an almost cult like following, and everyday there seems to be a new intense exercise class or program that is guaranteed to leave you a sweaty mess it can be hard (and overwhelming) to navigate what a healthy exercise regimen even looks like. Trust me I've been there.
For years I bought into this notion that if I was going to exercise it had to be excessive. It had to be intense, and exhausting. Unfortunately it took me a very long time to realize that the only thing over-exercising was doing for me was making me self-conscious, anxious, and entirely depleted.
After many years of over-exercising, I finally found yoga and with time yoga really was the key that helped me finally start to view my body with more kindness, and taught me how to re-learn how to exercise with kindness. But I would be lying if I said that there still wasn't a small piece of me that felt like I was doing something wrong by not following an extreme exercise routine.
Then this past year I met my friend and incredibly talented personal trainer Georgia from GBR Wellness, and finally started to hear a trainer talk about fitness in the same way I had begun to really view it...from a place of kindness.
When we first sat down for coffee we talked for hours...seriously HOURS, and she talked about fitness the way I talk about nutrition and sustainability...with so much PASSION. When I told her about my years as a over-exerciser, and how I honestly was just exhausted by all the intense fitness programs that seemed to constantly be bombarding me, she totally and completely got me. She then started to talk to me about how fitness and movement should be an energizing part of our healthy lifestyle, and not something that leaves us unable to do anything with the rest of our day. She also really approached fitness from a place of self-love and care, and talked a lot about the negative mentality and outcomes that come with only using exercise as a means for weight loss, and control. HECK YES!!
So as a special treat Georgia generously agreed to share her top physical and internal benefits that she believes comes with a consistent exercise practice routed in kindness, and positive intention.
5 Physical and Internal Benefits of Exercise That Have Nothing to Do With Weight Loss
Bone density, posture and movement patterns
To put it simply, resistance training is ridiculously good for our muscles, bones and connective tissue! In addition to building and maintaining total body bone density it also helps to correct muscle imbalances. This is powerful, as a majority of us have compromised posture from sitting at a desk or in the car. Our bodies essentially adapt to these inherently unnatural positions leaving them unable to move as efficiently as possibly. All of life's movements then feel more difficult and uncomfortable as a result! By correcting our static and dynamic posture through strength training we take pressure off the joints and can actually move more freely and efficiently, giving us results from the gym and joy in movement!
Mood and brain function
Exercise is known to enhance our cognitive function, improving our ability to learn and focus while reducing depression and anxiety! This is why I like to get some form of movement in every day, if only in the form of leisure walking or a light yoga class.
When paired with proper nutrition and adequate recovery between workouts, exercise can actually be a powerful remedy to chronic inflammation. This is why it is so important to avoid overtraining and allow for enough restoration between training and cardio sessions. Quality over quantity is key: I generally recommend 2-3 full body workouts per week, along with 1-2 HIIT cardio sessions and a lot of leisure walking!
Blood Sugar Regulation
Resistance training is said to be one of the most effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity. It is no secret that muscle is metabolically active, and when we lift weights our muscles consume glucose (blood sugar) and continue to do so even after we stop exercising. Yet another case for the importance of resistance training - choose the form you love best, and make sure you are lifting that weight (however light or heavy it is) pretty much until failure.
Our bodies are wise, and they have a lot to tell us if we know how to listen. Regular exercise helps to keep us in tune with what we are feeling physically, and even more aware of the quality of our movement outside the gym. I think it's important to note that exercise should be a life long practice, and we need to be consistent in order to continue seeing results in the formerly mentioned areas! Find something you enjoy, stick with it and be kind and patient with yourself!
If you loved Georgia's philosophy and want to hear more from her, or if you are in the local Boston area and want to connect with her for persona training you can find her over on instagram @gbrwellness and over on her website.
For all you Boston based folks we are hoping to have a few joint events planned for the Fall so stay tuned for that!