Exercise for a Holistic Approach to Health
When it comes to your health it's important for us to tune in and really listen to what our bodies are telling us.Exercise is a great way to do this, as well as being a vital component of a healthy lifestyle – it's no good eating all the right things if our bodies aren't getting the chance to use that nutritious fuel.
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise for a holistic approach to health.It's great for strength, balance and muscle tone but more importantly it's a form of moving mindfulness.Depending on the type of yoga you choose - and there are many - you will be focusing a lot on your breath and the rhythm of your breathing in order to concentrate your attention on your body and the way it moves.
Yoga is a suitable form of exercise for almost everyone as it doesn't require a high degree of fitness or stamina to get started.It's a great form of strength and flexibility training for people with long term health conditions and because there are non-intensive styles there's a wide choice to suit any health condition and every level of ability.If you're struggling with a musculoskeletal condition or one which causes chronic pain there are usually classes and one-to-one sessions available which can be tailored to your specific needs.It can be a springboard to more intensive forms of exercise as you increase your fitness levels and ability.
Physical health benefits aside, exercise is a really important factor in your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.In the first instance, just taking some time for yourself to exercise and get fully immersed in the experience is a brilliant way of starting to be mindful, and if you have a busy home life that hour out of the house can be a great tonic for the soul.Yoga, as a form of moving mindfulness, is a fantastic way to get in tune with your inner self, and if this is what you're most interested in then look for jivamukti, kundalini and nidra styles of yoga which give equal importance to the spiritual self as the physical self.Tai chi can also be helpful spiritually as it is a calming exercise.
Other forms of exercise which can be really helpful when starting a new fitness programme are pilates for core strength, swimming for stamina, strength and muscle development (as well as calorie burning!) and jogging.Weight training helps with muscle development, tone and general strength while cardiovascular exercises like running and team sports help work out your circulatory system and increase your stamina.
Cardiovascular exercise is great for burning calories and for getting the most out of your food – it's known as having the “afterburn” effect and studies have shown that we burn more calories (and therefore get the most from our food) if we exercise.Additionally, exercise wakes up the whole body and makes it function efficiently, which is vital if we're going to get the full benefits of eating a nutritionally balanced diet.
For a holistic approach to health and wellbeing we need to pay attention to how we use our bodies as well as nutrition, and remember to take time for ourselves and our mental health as part of that too.
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