April 21, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

What Not Working Out Taught Me

Just thinking of getting out of bed early enough to fit in a workout is tiring. We have all been there, but not staying active typically causes us to lose routine in other areas of our lives.

Through good times, bad times, and quarantine, routines keep us grounded, but sometimes it takes breaking them to move forward. 

We often see online content discussing health in activity-oriented nutrition and fitness guides leaving rest to be an overshadowed topic within the healthy living culture.

Whether you already live an active lifestyle and don’t have to worry about life insurance for overweight individuals or not, standardized healthy living has unlimited benefits that the media has made sure to properly promote. However, much can be learned from rest and not working out as well.

Wellness is an Investment

Have you ever heard the saying “Health is wealth?” Though that is true, you don’t always have to be on the healthy-living hamster wheel in order to reap the benefits.

There is more to leading a healthy lifestyle than endless cardio and eating salads. Though diet and exercise are essential, giving into the “more you exercise, the healthier you are” myth is doing you more harm than good.

Don’t feel ashamed if diet and exercise are the only tools you know that exemplify a healthy life. It is never too late to expand your horizons or add to your routine. Here are a few non-glorified activities that actually increase your healthy living benefits to help ease the lazy-day guilt.

Rest and Sleep

Rest often gets pushed to the back when analyzing how to be healthy, which is why it is front and center here. Contrary to your conscience, sleeping in is more than allowing yourself to be lazy. Even when working from home, everyday responsibilities are exhausting, so you deserve some time off.

Many of us have been taught that not staying active is counterproductive to being proactive, but the opposite is true. Not allowing yourself time to slow down only leads to burnout, which drains you mentally and physically. 

Physically, there are benefits to resting as well. I used to think that being healthy meant daily repetitive workouts, but I was wrong. Your body can become overworked just as quickly as your mind, resulting in stunted performance.

After spying on a few bodybuilding chat rooms, I heard rest days being referred to as “growth days.” They are called growth days because when muscles don’t work out, they restructure themselves into stronger tissue.

Feeling inadequate is a typical internal battle that gets masked with overcompensation. Pause. Take a breath, a nap, or skip the gym for a day and see how well you operate after you rejuvenate. 

Being Social is Good for Your Health

Do you often find it hard to maintain a work and social balance? Whew, and here I thought it was just me.

Thanks to gym and supplement advertisements, spending time with friends and family may feel like a distraction. I tend to isolate myself when I feel the weight of my goals and responsibilities, which honestly slows me down even more.

In theory, buckling down and handling your business seems like the responsible thing to do.To truly be healthy, you need to find a balance. You cannot go out every night or even every weekend, but not being social at all will affect you negatively.

As humans, we need social interaction to balance our overall wellness and quality of life. A list of ways being anti-social negatively affects our health is:

  • Increased risk of heart attack 
  • Weakened immune system
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Increased stress hormones
  • Decreased mental health 
  • Higher anxiety and depression 

Boost Your Confidence

Exercise is a great way to appear more confident, but how many gym selfies do you take, and do you feel good about yourself after? Be realistic in your goals, and don’t compare yourself to others.

Envy is a confidence killer that only makes you feel smaller. To be more at peace, you have to boost your confidence. Start small by assigning yourself tasks you know you can accomplish and work your way up to bigger goals.

This could be anything from finishing the dishes to making a vision board or putting on a nice outfit. You should feel inspired by yourself, and I promise that finding confidence outside the gym will make you better inside it.

How to Jump-Start Motivation

Taking a break when needed is a vital part of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. However, too many growth days and social nights are a slippery slope to falling completely off the wagon.

I’ve been there. I have a punch card to “off-the-wagonville” and don’t recommend any place that town has to stay. Despite the alluring appeal of comfort of not sticking to your routine, everything has a way of catching up with you.

Avoid finding yourself on the end of both extremes by knowing how to cut off your rest time when necessary. Mustering up motivation is hard at times, but a few healthy ways to incorporate wellness practices outside of the gym while still engaging in healthy lifestyle balances are:

  • Create a reward system. We all need an extra push from time to time. 
  • Go shopping. Nothing motivates like a new outfit.
  • Find an accountability partner. Keep up your physical health by using social appointments. Exercising is one of my favorite ways to bond with the people in my life. They help motivate you, and you get to spend quality time together.
  • Do something new. Even going off-script will become routine if you do the same thing often. Try something new or do something you already do differently.
  • Set a new goal. Strive for something. Goals give an image to what you currently don’t see. 
  • Give back. Knowing others rely on you gives purpose to what you are doing. Join something like a charity run to get you back in the swing of your workout routine.

Defining and Improving Our Health

Health isn’t as obscure a topic as ads and marketing culture claim it to be. Health is a balance of both your body and mind. No matter if you go to the gym every day or are just beginning your fitness journey, living with these elements while they are heavily unbalanced will hinder your life.

Even diamonds crack under too much pressure, so lighten your load when necessary. Scheduling time for affirmations, relaxation, pampering, and social activities is just as important as daily diet and regular exercise, which can all impact your life insurance.

Not working out can teach you more about yourself than any trainer or health guru. Stopping to smell the roses or even the occasional fresh chocolate chip cookie allows healing for the mind, body, and spirit that cannot be found among everyday chaos. 

You deserve rest. You deserve your efforts. You deserve to evolve continuously.

in HEALTH
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