What is Self-Discipline?
A lot of people are confused about the definition of self-discipline. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, though, self-discipline is all about correcting and/or regulating oneself in order to improve.
Basically, if you are a self-disciplined person, you have the ability to course-correct and regulate your behaviors so that you can accomplish a greater goal.
The Importance of Discipline When Dieting
There are lots of areas of life in which self-discipline comes in handy. It plays an especially important role when it comes to dieting and taking steps to improve your health, though.
Research has shown time and time again that, in order to stick to a diet and lose weight or experience other positive health changes, you need more than willpower.
You’re not going to be motivated all the time. Instead, you need to be disciplined and willing to regulate yourself when it comes to the type and amount of food you eat each day.
Without discipline, you’re going to find it harder to resist certain high-calorie, hyper-palatable foods that are designed to make you overeat. Your willpower alone may enable you to say “no” for a day or two, but if you haven’t also practiced self-discipline, you’re going to be much more likely to give in.
Tips for Developing Self-Discipline
Now that you have a clearer idea of what self-discipline is, let’s go over some strategies you can use to start developing it.
It’s true that some people may naturally be more disciplined than others. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your level of self-discipline, though.
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Set Clear, Realistic Goals
Next, set some clear and realistic goals for yourself. Be specific about what you want. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next three months.”
Make sure your goals are realistic, too. Losing 10 pounds in three months is totally doable for most people. Losing 10 pounds in a week is almost impossible unless you happen to develop a nasty stomach virus.
Create a Plan
After you know what you want to achieve, create a plan to help yourself achieve it. Write down the specific steps you’ll need to take to make your goal happen.
For example, how many calories do you need to eat per day? How many servings of vegetables do you want to consume? Which foods or beverages do you need to avoid?
The more detailed your plan is, the easier it’ll be for you to follow it.
Get rid of temptations that might derail your diet. If you know that you can’t be trusted with a carton of ice cream or a bag of chips, get them out of your house.
Make it inconvenient for yourself to have unhealthy food. This will decrease the chances that you’ll consume it and will make it easier for you to develop new habits in place of eating junk.
Take it One Day at a Time
Nobody becomes perfectly disciplined overnight. Self-discipline is a skill, and it takes practice for you to become better at it. Take your diet one day at a time or even one meal at a time.
Try not to get overwhelmed by what you’re going to do tomorrow or next week. Focus on being present and making good decisions with regard to your food in the moment.
Keep it Simple
When it comes to sticking to a diet and achieving long-term weight loss, most people do better when they start with small and simple changes.
This goes back to the idea of setting realistic goals. If you overhaul your entire diet overnight, it’s unlikely that you’re going to stick to it for very long. It’ll be too much of a shock to your system.
Instead, you might be better off making small changes in a more gradual way. This gives you more opportunities to practice and strengthen your self-discipline muscles, too.
Change the Way You Talk to Yourself
Some people end up sabotaging their dieting efforts because they speak to themselves in a negative way. They tell themselves that they’re undisciplined or that they don’t have any willpower. By doing this, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Focus on speaking to yourself in a more positive way. Tell yourself that you are strong, that you are disciplined, and that you can do whatever you set your mind to, including stick to this diet.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Part of being disciplined is being able to regulate yourself during stressful or difficult times. It might be easy for you to stick to your diet at home. What about when you’re at a party or in the middle of an office-catered lunch, though?
Create a backup plan ahead of time so it’s easier to practice discipline. Bring your own lunch from home or bring a healthy treat to the party to share. That way, there’s something for you to eat and you’re less tempted by the other options.
Celebrate Your Wins
Make sure you celebrate the small wins you experience along the way. You’ll find that it’s easier to stay disciplined if you’re taking time to focus on your victories and reward yourself.
When it comes to rewarding yourself, though, make sure the reward is something that won’t derail your progress.
Don’t celebrate losing five pounds with a gallon of ice cream or a junk food binge. Buy yourself a new piece of workout gear or treat yourself to a bubble bath or a movie instead.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Remember, too, that a mistake does not erase all of the progress you’ve made.
Disciplined people don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because of one slip up. Instead, they figure out what went wrong, correct themselves, and continue moving forward.
You’re not a failure because of one unhealthy meal or even a day of unhealthy meals. You only fail if you stop trying to reach your goals.
Protecting Yourself from Dieting Pitfalls
Whenever you embark on any kind of new diet or weight loss plan, it’s likely that you’re going to encounter some pitfalls along the way. This seems to happen when you try to make any kind of lifestyle change.
There’s a lot you can do to safeguard yourself from these pitfalls, though. Here are some helpful tips and tools to have up your sleeve:
Write Things Down
For many people, writing down their goals and their plan to reach those goals is helpful. Write them down on a piece of paper and display that paper somewhere prominent.
Remember to be patient with yourself, too. It takes time to see results from any kind of diet or lifestyle change. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t look or feel differently right away. Stay the course and, eventually, you will see improvements.
Prepare for Setbacks
Have a plan in place for when setbacks occur. Have a set of affirmations that you repeat to yourself, for example, or have a friend or coach whom you can call for a pep talk.
If you know what you’re going to do in the event that you experience a setback, you’ll be less likely to give up altogether.
Become More Disciplined Today
It definitely takes work to become a more self-disciplined person. The good news, though, is that small, consistent efforts add up over time.
If you practice every day at being more disciplined, you’ll be amazed at how far you can come -- and how much easier it is for you to stick to your diet.
Keep these tips in mind as you embark on your diet journey and you’ll be much more likely to experience success and improved health.
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Very few industries on planet earth have more hype than the supplement industry. You can find a supplement for just about anything, burning fat, building muscle, better memory, mental focus, sexual performance (you get the picture).
Logic dictates that if every one of these supplements worked, we would all be walking around in optimal health and performing amazing feats of mental and physical acuity, but the truth is most of these products aren't worth the labeling their titles are printed on. What's worse, if you aren't aware of all the different ingredients that are being mixed in with these products you can do damage to your kidneys, liver, and heart, and some of this damage can be so severe it can lead to death.
It doesn't matter what slight advantage you gain from taking supplements, if you don't live to see another work out then it is pointless.
Now that we have gotten the depressing part out of the way, the bright side is that some supplements are backed by science which can provide beneficial properties with limited chance of serious damage to the body.
Below we will be going over some of the top supplements and what they can do for your health and performance.
It may seem obvious, but protein is essential not just for building muscle, but for ensuring optimal health in your later years in life as well. When going through sickness, facing hospitalization or any other stressful event it is imperative to keep up protein intake to retain muscle, maintaining bone health and support other bodily functions.
This is because as we grow older when going through stressful experience the body does not process protein as effectively. Seniors who keep up with their protein intake are 30 % less likely to experience functional impairment than those who eat less. Per research done in 2016, it is advised that adults have a protein intake between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg/day or higher.
Although protein is important, what is MORE, important is where that protein is gotten from, especially for the elderly. Those in their golden years need to receive their protein from foods NOT from supplements. While there is not necessarily anything inherently unhealthy about drinking a protein shake, it is much healthier to get what is needed from a variety of foods such as fish, steak, chicken and pork. A protein supplement shouldn't ever replace real food, there are way too many benefits that come with getting protein the natural way.
The most obvious use for Protein is to build muscle. In a study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine which involved thousands of resistance trainers, it was found that those who kept a high Protein intake showed a significant increase in performance and strength when training.
Again, although it is better to get your protein from food, the amount of protein required to bulk does not always make getting protein from food viable so in this case, it may be necessary to use supplements such as protein shakes to meet your macro requirements.
Turmeric is a spice that is mainly used in Asia to treat a variety of health issues. Turmeric has numerous scientifically proven health benefits such as the ability to help with inflammation, prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.
The main ingredient in Tumeric is Curcumin, Curcumin has been shown to increase the brains capacity to create BDNF (Brain-Derived Neutronic Factor) which is a type of growth hormone found in your brain. Certain mental disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's have been linked to a decrease in BDNF so anything that can help your brain increase this process is beneficial to your health.
Interestingly, some people believe this quality of Turmeric also can help with memory and increase intelligence, more study is needed to confirm this, but, logically, this would occur given the fact Turmeric increases BDNF
Vitamin D is naturally provided to the body through proper exposure to the sun. In some places where access to the sun is not always available (such as Seattle), it may be necessary to take supplements to ensure you maintain healthy levels required for bodily and mental functions.
An interesting fact about Vitamin D is that, contrary to the name, it is a pro-hormone. What makes a vitamin a vitamin is that it is something that it cannot be naturally created by our bodies, this is not the case for Vitamin D as it is naturally produced by the body when the skin is exposed to natural sunlight.
When sunlight hits our skin, Vitamin D can be synthesized by our body naturally and research has shown that 5-10 minutes of exposure to sun two to three times a week can give adequate amounts of this prohormone. Unfortunately, unlike other pro-hormones, Vitamin D breaks down rapidly making it easy for your body to run low, especially during times when the sun is not readily available such as winter
Vitamin D has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, to list a few:
Prevention of Numerous Diseases: Vitamin D has a powerful effect on over 200 genomes, which have the potential of being impaired if there is a deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is possibly linked to an increased risk of numerous health issues such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and autism.
The recommended intake of Vitamin D is predicated on your age, if you are curious how much you should be consuming, here is a list provided by NIH.gov
Although bacteria have a bad rep in terms of causing disease and illness, we need a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut to ensure proper health and can even help relieve certain health issues. As insane as it may sound, in a healthy gut, approximately 100 trillion microorganisms are representing more than 500 different species. Most of these are not harmful and serve to keep pathogens (harmful bacteria) in check while aiding indigestion.
Here is a list of some of the top disorders that maintaining a healthy level of probiotics may serve to prevent:
Prebiotics act like fertilizer and encourage the growth of probiotics which as you now know, are necessary for your health. In one research study, prebiotics has been shown that taking prebiotics for three weeks could reduce the severity of exercise-induced asthma in adults by 40%. Participants in the study also noted improvements in eczema and allergic symptoms. Prebiotics are found in fiber-rich foods such as:
There has not been a lot of research that has been done regarding the benefits of prebiotics, but some benefits that may come with using them are:
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega 3 is a fatty acid that comes in many forms, two of these forms are very important for mental health and brain development, these are EPA and DHA. Both types are found abundantly in fish.
EPA and DHA have both have been shown to have a myriad of health benefits such as boosts brain health, improves heart functioning, and easing depression.
Another important type of Omega is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), this acid is found in plant-based foods such as walnuts and flax seeds. ALA has been linked to lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, slowed skin aging and improved nerve function.
Humans produce ALA in small amounts so at times it is good to increase your levels by consuming foods that are high in this form of Omega 3.
Here is a list of foods that are high in Omega 3:
Magnesium is a mineral that is naturally found in abundance in the human body, it is mainly located in your bones, however, magnesium is also found in your blood and soft tissues such as muscle. Magnesium is so important because it is a co-factor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, this includes but is not limited to:
Numerous foods can provide an abundance of magnesium, here is a list of some of the top choices:
Whole Wheat. Most whole grains are a good source of magnesium, but whole wheat flour wins with 160 mg per cup
A deficiency in magnesium can spell trouble for multiple body systems, so you must make sure your bodies magnesium levels stay up to par. Here is a list of some of the issues that come with a deficiency in magnesium:
Coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ10 for short) is a nutrient found in all cells and has numerous health benefits. It has been shown to:
As an added benefit for those who participate in strength training, CoQ10 has been shown to reduce the oxidative damage that comes with building muscle and can help you recover from muscle fatigue and also prevent the risk of skin and brain damage.
While it is possible to get CoQ10 from foods, most of what you can find to eat does not contain adequate amounts of CoQ10 to help with any deficiency, because of this, you may want to turn to a supplement if you feel you may be running low on this nutrient
Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B 12 (also known as cobalamin) is an important vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body. B 12 is essential to bodily functions and its deficiency is all too common. Some people are simply not eating enough foods that contain vitamin B 12 and others simply can't get enough, such as the elderly.
Vitamin B 12 is present in numerous different kinds of food such as:
Animal Liver and Kidneys.
Other "Organ" Meats
A deficiency of B 12 comes with a whole host of side effects, none of them which are pleasant. While a small deficiency usually won't result in any serious issues, a major deficiency and lead you to become anemic becoming anemic here is a list of the potential problems that can arise when B 12 is lacking:
Given the fact that B 12 is so important to your overall health, it is important to know how much B 12 you need per your age group, Web MD provides an excellent chart that should be referred to.
The Next Step:
Now that you know about some of the top supplements that may actually benefit your health you may be wondering WHERE do you find them? Going to a store may seem like the most logical choice, but there is a good chance you are going to pay double or even TRIPLE the amount you normally would simply because they have a lot more overhead to account for. One great option is to visit an online store like A1 Supplements.com, there you can find just about EVERYTHING you need and the best part is the prices are PHENOMENAL!
Childhood obesity is a serious problem throughout the United States. In fact, 20 percent of school-aged children in the U.S. are currently obese, and many more are overweight.
Even if your child is not overweight or obese, it’s still important to teach them about the importance of healthy eating. What’s more, you also need to make sure you’re modeling healthy eating behaviors for them. Remember, kids will learn based on what you do, not by what you say.
Read on to learn more about how you can start instilling healthy eating habits in your children. Whether you’re raising kids who are toddlers or teenagers, these tips will help you establish healthy habits and promote better overall family health.
Importance of Healthy Habits for Children
Okay, you can see why you need to start teaching your kids healthy eating habits sooner rather than later. How do you actually get started, though?
The good news is that, in a lot of cases, you don’t have to make major parenting changes. Some simple adjustments to your current lifestyle can have a significant impact on your kids.
Here are three ideas that are great starting points:
Eat as a Family
Eating together as a family is a great way to start talking to your kids about healthy eating and start a dialogue around healthy habits.
Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat less. They also tend to eat more slowly and enjoy their food more. This, in turn, leads to greater feelings of satiety.
When you eat together as a family, you also have a chance to connect with your kids and talk to them about other steps they (and you) can take to feel happier, healthier, and more energetic.
Get Your Kids Involved in Food Prep
Your kids may be more inclined to eat healthy food if they get to have a hand in making it. Take your kids with you to the grocery store or farmer’s market and allow them to help you pick out the fruits, vegetables, and other healthy items you’ll purchase for the week.
Let them spend time in the kitchen preparing the food, too. This helps them take a sense of pride in what they’re eating, and they gain a new appreciation for the work that goes into the food they enjoy each evening.
Talk Openly to Your Kids
It’s important to have honest and open conversations with your kids about healthy eating and healthy living, too.
Talk to them about why things like sugar and processed foods can be problematic and shouldn’t be a regular installment in their diets. The more they know, the more empowered they can be to take action and make changes and positive choices themselves.
Try to expand the conversation beyond weight and calories, too. Talk to them about how certain foods may cause them to feel tired or give them stomachaches. Focus on health and use positive language. Avoid shaming or criticizing your child during these talks.
The transition to healthier eating may not go smoothly at first, especially if your kids have been eating a certain way for a long time. If you experience resistance when you introduce these healthier lifestyle habits to your kids, try these troubleshooting tips:
Slow Your Role
It may be tempting to dive in headfirst and totally overhaul you and your family’s diet. Try to start slowly, though. Focus on adding instead of taking away, too. Start adding a vegetable to the nightly meal or adding fresh fruit to their lunches. Over time, you can start to crowd out the less healthy food with healthier options.
Don’t give up if your kids don’t have positive responses right away. It’ll take time for them to adjust and get used to this new way of eating. Be patient, but also be consistent. Don’t back down from your stance just because your kids complain about having to eat more vegetables or having less junk food in the cupboards.
Lead By Example
Make sure you’re leading by example, too. If you want your kids to eat healthfully and have a healthy relationship with food, you need to model that for them. If they see you eating healthy food, exercising, and taking steps to improve your overall health and well-being, they’ll be more inclined to follow suit.
Start Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits Today
Instilling healthy eating habits in your kids can seem like a daunting task at first. This is especially true if you’re just barely starting to get into healthy eating and your kids have gotten used to a high-sugar high-in-processed-foods diet.
What Happens While We're Young Can Be a Deciding Factor In The Quality of Our Mental Health As Adults
As parents, nothing is more important than the health of our children. It is hard enough to ensure they are eating right, acclimating to new experiences and staying out of trouble; but what about their mental health?
We all know the health of our minds is imperative to living a fulfilling life, however what you may not know is how our minds handle the daily stresses in life and the potential to have to deal with mental disorders starts when we are very young. Unfortunately there are a lot of factors that can affect the future of your mental health and you frankly don’t have control of them all, but with the proper knowledge you can at least prepare for the factors you can’t control and take action to ensure what you can control remains in your control.
You are the last line of defense when it comes to your children's health both mentally and physically so knowledge is absolutely key. Below we are going to go over what you can do to ensure your children have the best chance at a future in terms of their mental health.
According to a study done by Aahrus University, kids who grow up in a more green environment have a fifty-five percent less risk of developing mental disorders later in life. This makes sense given the numerous studies that have shown the benefit of nature on the mental health of adult's as well.
The study shows that green environments increase social cohesion and encourages greater physical activity, both of which have a positive correlation with better mental health. While you may not be able to control where you live and the amount of foliage present in your surroundings, you can make sure your kids are introduced to nature on a regular basis. Participating in activities such as gardening and hikes combine exposure to nature and also provide an opportunity to bond as a family.
There are also lots of natural museums that can be visited which gives you a structured activity to do with the little ones, educates them about different aspects of plant and animal life and gives them the opportunity to experience nature first hand. The benefits of getting out in nature are numerous and if you can give your child a 55% chance to not have to suffer through a mental disorder than taking the time to schedule this activity is worth it.
Your Education Level Matters
You may not need to be rich to be healthy but it helps to be educated. Studies performed in October of 2018 by Rutgers University have shown that parents who have educated themselves beyond high-school have a tendency to invest more time in learning about family health care which reduces the likelihood of young ones being subjected to adverse medical conditions.
The more you know, the more tools you have at your disposal to handle problems that will arise from time to time, moreover, you will also take steps that will help you prevent issues from arising in the first place. Also, most post- high school education comes with the requirement of taking classes about health and psychology and those lessons can easily be transferred to how your family functions.
Parents with higher degrees tend to have mentally demanding jobs, this requirement to use your mind at a higher level makes it easier to consume knowledge about a myriad of subjects which includes recent health research that may make a difference in how you eat, your daily activity and how you interact with on another.
Healthy Eating Equals Healthy Minds
Eating healthy and having higher self-esteem go hand in hand. This makes sense since by having the proper nutrients your children will be more likely to excel in sports activities as well as school. If you can remember being in grade school, you probably recall the kids who excelled in sports during recess were the ones that ended up being the most “popular”. While we are certainly not advocating teaching your kids to put any weight into this popularity nonsense, being able to keep up with the rest of the kids will undoubtedly help them feel better about themselves which will naturally give them more confidence later on in life.
One of the most neglected meals in terms of nutrition is lunch, this is especially true during school time which is unfortunate because a nutrient packed lunch is essential to help your little ones concentrate in their afternoon classes. If you are looking for ideas on what to make your kids for lunch, we have plenty ideas for you in this article.
As an added boon, this study performed by BioMed Central has also shown that a healthy diet has also helped children experience fewer emotional and peer problems such as being picked on and having few friends. Although it takes a little self discipline and pre-planning the potential rewards for yourself and your loved ones are more than worth it. As such, If you want a good way for your child to ensure that they are physically and mentally healthy it start with a good diet.
Bullying Hurts More Than Just Feelings
Bullying is an epidemic and it absolutely needs to be stopped, the damage that is caused by parents who are allowing their children to become bullies doesn’t just affect the present but can reverberate out to adulthood as well.
Recent research performed by Lancaster University have shown that being bullied may dramatically increase the risk of experiencing mental health problems and unemployment later in life, this is likely due to damage being caused at such a young age while their minds are still developing. We have yet to come up with an effective system that neutralizes and deters parents who are responsible for raising these aggressors, and there is bound to be at least one if not more of these problem children lurking around the school, so the best option is to teach your kids how to deal with this inevitable dredge on society.
After all bullying isn’t just in child hood, there are bullies in the adult world as well, the only difference is those people have a chance of being sequestered from society via jail time.
One main way to help your kids fight back against bullying is to teach them NOT to be nice but to be respectful. Nice is a french word for stupid/naive and parents who simply tell their kids to be “nice” are leaving them open to be bulldozed by kids who have no interest in being nice to them.
By teaching your kids to be respectful, they understand that human relationships are a two way road and that if someone isn’t meeting you half way, it is time to confront the situation head on. If that does not absolve the matter, than they have the option to leave, however if someone is actively pursuing them, you need to allow them to take steps to protect themselves and establish their right to be treated with respect. Parents who pass on the “nice” philosophy are not doing their children any favors, and may in fact be leaving them defenseless to those who do not share the "nice" philosophy.
Roughhousing Can Build Strength, Both Mentally & Physically
Letting your children get outside and roughhouse (within reason of course) not only helps them physically but a new study has shown that it can also protect them from depression. Depression is a growing concern not just for adults but now for children as young as six years old. Previous studies have shown that it is not enough just to limit screen time, you also need to get your kids to be active as well. Being physically active and putting stress on the body activates neuron growth in the cortex and hippo-campus of the brain which will naturally help with learning in school.
Allowing your child to rough house also gives them the chance to learn emotional intelligence, because it puts them in a position where they need to be aware of the reactions of others and to effectively communicate their emotions as well. This skill is imperative later on in life, because the better you are able to communicate and gauge other peoples emotions the more persuasive you will become, the more persuasive you are the more confidence you will have leading to nothing but positive outcomes.
Finally, it is in our DNA to rough house, we have been doing it since anyone can remember and it is a natural part of life for all children. If you are interested in reading about the research conducted by Lancaster University check it out here.
Naps Aren't Just Good For Babies
This one is interesting because it involves doing LESS activity rather than more. One study done by The University Of Pennsylvania has shown that children who nap 30-60 minutes mid day at least three times a week have more self-control, are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems, and may gain a higher IQ and excel academically.
The need for sleep is a given, and regardless of your age you need adequate rest in order to perform your best in any activity whether it be physical or mental. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation effects up to 20% of children and this has a negative effect on a myriad of functions both physically and mentally, part of the problem is that in the United States it is common practice to stop napping all together after a certain age (usually four-five) and from that point on naps are a thing of the past.
Even though this is the norm, it does not necessarily mean it is healthy, kids and adults benefit from adequate sleep and because children have the double duty of learning new information while at the same time dealing with a body that is constantly growing and developing they are in even more needd of adequate sleep. Pediatricians and children health advocates have been seeking schools to start later, however if naps are introduced, this could easily replace the need for this and provide a huge benefit to over all school performance.
Reading Can Give Your Child A Million Word Head Start
A recent study has shown that children whose parents read them at least five books a day enter kindergarten having heard approximately 1.4 MILLION more words than kids who were never read to. This is a huge advantage that can easily cary on later in life since it puts your little one WAY ahead of the curve. Being able to read and comprehend is essential in all walks of life and the sooner your child learns to do so the better off they will be.
This not only effects learning, but also gives them the power to better communicate with their peers which leads to higher self esteem and a lower chance of experiencing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Furthermore, this is not to be confused with the “conversational” vocabulary which are words picked up by kids when listening to adults conversation, these words aren’t nearly as impactful as when they are absorbed through the act of reading. Moreover, when reading to your kids you are in control over what words they are picking up, which is much more desirable, you never know what habits your kids are picking up through the conversations that they over hear, and the best way to make sure they are developing positive communication habits is to actively work with your kids.
The Next Step:
Now that you have learned the many ways you can help your kids with their mental health, lets look at some of the top 10 activities that healthy families do on a regular basis.
When it comes to working out, it’s important to have a routine. It keeps you disciplined and motivated. It helps you track your progress over time. And it means you can fit your workout into your schedule.
But once in a while, a major life event occurs and blows you completely off-course.
If your workout routine once ran like clockwork, even a short break can make you feel like you’ll never return to your healthy habits.
But don’t get discouraged. With a little patience, you can revive your dormant fitness regime.
Working Out After Having a New Baby
It’s a boy/girl! Congratulations — time to hit the gym.
With your new bundle of joy keeping you up all night, working out might be the last thing you want to do.
But maintaining regular exercise won’t add to your exhaustion. In fact, it’ll give you more energy
Tips For New Moms
For moms, working out post-childbirth has two main benefits. It helps your body recover. And it may even prevent postnatal depression.
Childbirth places huge stress on your body. Your back and core will be weaker, and your muscles and ligaments will be supple. This leaves you at higher risk of injury.
Start with some gentle, low impact exercises as soon as you feel up to it. These can include:
After about six weeks you consider some higher-impact exercises, such as:
Look for opportunities to work out. Pushing the stroller, playing in the park — anywhere can be a gym.
Tips For New Dads
As a new dad, your body hasn’t changed. However, your life has been turned upside-down.
And in fact, you might be surprised to hear that even dads gain baby bulk. Research suggests that new dads gain on average around 17 lbs in their first year — just as much as new moms!
Your new workout routine needs to fit into your new schedule. Long sessions at the gym might be rare at first. Think brief early-morning workouts and high intensity, short bursts of training.
You don’t need to escape your new baby to work out. Buy an adapted stroller or carrier, and take your baby with you for a jog or a brisk walk.
And there are even some strength and conditioning exercises you can do with your new baby.
Parent and Baby Classes
Parent and baby exercise classes have grown popular recently. They’re suitable for either mom or dad.
Check out what’s available near you. You might find:
These classes are a chance to enjoy your new baby’s company, have fun, and meet some fellow new parents.
Working Out After a Major Injury or Illness
There are many different reactions to severe injury or life-changing illness.
You may feel fragile, deflated, and unmotivated. You might dread going back to work. Perhaps you feel sick when you think about working out.
Or, you might feel like you have a new lease on life. Maybe you can’t wait to get back into the real world. You’re frustrated by your limitations.
There are dangers inherent to both responses. You can harm your recovery — whether you throw in the towel and refuse to exercise, or you jump out of bed before your body is ready.
Listen to your body. Listen to your doctor! Just don’t kid yourself that bed rest is the only answer.
Treatment and recovery from some illnesses can be just as brutal as the illness itself. Steroids and radiotherapy can leave you feeling nauseous, weak, and lethargic.
Exercise specialist Carol Michaels provides eight tips to help patients get back to working out after cancer treatment. These principles apply to recovery from practically any devastating illness.
There’s no catch-all approach to recovering from a serious injury. A broken spine and a broken shoulder are both serious. But they require very different approaches to recovery.
The most important thing you can do is to work closely with a doctor or rehabilitation expert.
Let’s take a look at how to recover from a common type of injury — a fracture or break in the foot.
One thing to remember throughout — recovery from injury is not a case of “no pain, no gain.”
Steps To Recovery:
Regaining Range of Motion
The area around your broken or fractured bone will become stiff — particularly if it has been in a cast. Within a few weeks (and with a health professional’s approval), you should be able to begin ankle range-of-motion exercises to bring some life back to this area.
Lie down, lift your leg, and write your name with your big toe five times. Then repeatedly rotate your foot clockwise and counterclockwise.
Keep the range within a pain-free zone. You shouldn’t be feeling any pain when you do this.
Once you’ve regained some range of motion in your foot, you can begin gently stretching.
Again, don’t hurt yourself here. Don’t perform any standing stretches until you have medical clearance to put weight on your foot.
Depending on the severity of your injury, your stretches should be passive at first.
You can perform seated stretches using a skipping rope or towel. Loop it around your foot, and pull very gently until you feel resistance. Repeat the exercise in sets or five or ten.
Depending on the nature of the break or fracture, you might be able to begin strengthening exercises within four weeks.
Strengthening exercises should be very light at first. For example, you can use a skipping rope or towel again. Loop it around your foot as you did when stretching. But instead of gently pulling your foot, you can gently push against the rope with your foot.
You should only return to working out with your physician or physiotherapist’s approval.
Take it easy at first — don’t expect yourself to be back to where you were before your injury straight away.
The older you get, the longer this type of injury will take to heal. Sometimes, you can return to exercise as early as six weeks after a fracture. But it may take a lot longer than this to get back out onto the field.
Working Out After Other Major Life Events
We’ve looked at two common life events with significant physical and mental effects. But any major life events can knock good habits off track.
Let’s look at a few further examples.
Death of a Loved One
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described five stages of grief in her famous book On Death and Dying:
Kubler-Ross suggests that humans need to pass through all these stages before they can recover from bereavement.
Exercise can be a great way to help you get back to normal life after losing a loved one. But be conscious of where you’re at in the grieving process.
Be intentional in your exercise — do it because it feels good, not out of anger or avoidance.
Major Career Change
A career change can be a reason for celebration. But it can also be a stressful and disorienting experience.
Everyone will tell you to simply make time for exercise. But when your schedule changes, your workout routine needs to adapt too.
Where you once exercised for an hour in the evening, you might now only have twenty minutes in the morning. An intense sprint might replace a long jog.
The important this is that you keep at it. Eventually your new routine will feel more familiar than your old one did.
Beginning of College/University
Going to college can be a totally transformational experience.
Sure, you can join the gym. But what better way to make new friends than by joining a sports team?
Even if you don’t play at competitively, you’re sure to find a group or society you can join. Get involved in non-team sports such as weightlifting, jogging, or cycling.
The Next Step:
Now that you have learned how to keep your regimen on track even when life throws the occasional (and inevitable) curve ball, take a look at how technology can help you stay on course towards optimal health!