To Fit....or...Not to Fit
Fitness has become the mantra of the day, and yes it’s actually one of the good ones. But what does it mean for our everyday lives? Time, energy and money, those are the three main challenges most people face when they decide to follow the path of healthy body, healthy mind.
Fitness itself is a multi-dimensional way of life. It involves not just making an effort physically, but also striving for a mental and emotional equilibrium. The physical aspect, eating right, sleeping well, and physical activity are all very tangible and practical ways that are easier to follow. And most people tend to focus on these when faced with the idea of fitness.
However, there is also the emotional and mental aspects of fitness, and these are as important to pay attention to. The tools used include mindfulness, meditation, gratitude practice, healthy communication skills, learning to let go of negativity, and so on.
So how does one get into the groove of fitness? How do we fit all this into our busy and already overloaded lives?
Let’s start with time and money. Everyone seems short on time, between work, family, children and daily responsibilities it’s hard to think of carving out a space of free time to get to a gym or take to a yoga mat. And most people have financial responsibilities that don’t allow for joining gyms and taking classes. But seriously this does not have to be the case. We are all conditioned into believing that a fitness activity must be limited to running or swimming or lifting weights, some kind of labelled sport. This isn’t necessarily true. Keeping physically fit can involve something as simple as taking the stairs instead of an escalator or lift, when it can be done, walking instead of driving to get somewhere close, for some they’ve already incorporated it into their daily activity when they use the metro or bus to get to and from places. Eating right also does not have to entail adopting expensive diets. Take a look at the vegetables and fruits sections at the local grocery stores, and the array of spices used in the local diet actually have individual health properties. A little bit of research on google and healthy recipes and meals can be made at home. Getting enough sleep, or lack thereof, is one of the most common complaints. However if we really look at time spent we see that most people tend to stay up later than they should because of they are busy on technology or needless activities that distract the mind from resting. And this is one habit that can be easily corrected with planning and commitment.
Energy. It’s a little bit of a chicken and an egg situation. Ironically if the right action is taken with eating right, sleeping well and getting physical where possible the body immediately responds with boosts in energy. And in fact it has immense positive effects on the individual’s emotional and mental well being. Mindfulness, meditation, gratitude practice are all easily adopted into daily lives without having to spend money. These are tools that require use and practice, not regular classes or instruction. Because however many classes a person attends, if they don’t practice as part of daily living it won’t make a difference.
Gaining equanimity in return builds more physical energy that allows for maybe more physical activity and restful sleep. It becomes a healthy cycle.