The Jig-Saw of Holistic Wellness - 7 tips to complete the fitness puzzle
by Payal Talwar
Guest writer & Life Coach Payal Talwar writes about her running 'high' and how post-40, she realized that holistic fitness was so much more than burning-out on the track.
I've always called myself an exercise freak. And this self-bestowed identity made exercise a very important part of my life. I didn't do it to any extreme, I just never missed my 5 days a week workout routine. And more often than not, it was running which was my choice of the form of exercise.
Running - a stress-buster or exhaustion-creator: I got introduced to running when I entered college, and it gave me the freedom of not depending on gyms or any specialized equipment. I love the outdoors, and so all I needed was a pair of shoes and the world was my running track. All was well till I was young and the bones and muscles were strong.
Does this sound like your story yet? Read on – and I’m sure a lot of you will be nodding in agreement.
I never did consider good running shoes or running tracks. As everyone who is part of the Army life, any beautiful road would do and shoes which just gave basic support were fine. The thrill of challenging myself and the ‘sweet-aches’ afterward overrode any signs of wearing-out of muscles or ligaments.
My stress buster was physically exhausting myself - the endorphins gave the feel-good factor and then, the exhaustion prevented any further mental analysis!!
So much for holistic well being!!!
I'm sure a lot of us do that – we convince ourselves that our daily runs or workouts are enough to give us that all-inclusive well-being that everybody is striving for. Surely, through a controlled diet and regular good exercise, one should be on one’s way to comprehensive fitness!
So, where did I go wrong? Or rather, where do ‘we’ go wrong?
I entered my forties and the body started giving way. I started getting injuries and realized that my fitness regime was probably not the best. Over the years, I'd garnered a lot of knowledge of physical well being through reading and deep down I knew that I was actually not on the healthiest path!
A workout, not a burnout: I realized what was needed was not a 'burn-out' but a ‘workout’. A regulated exercise pattern which builds the muscles and not wears them down. The concept of warm up and stretches had been foreign to me. I'd read enough but didn't believe in anything which was not a hardcore cardio workout. And my body paid for it.
And how many of you ascribe to this? ‘After all, there is just that much of time – so let's get the best calorie burn outand forget the rest’ – Isn’t that what we say to ourselves?
Mind-body connection: Some six years back, through my first interaction with NLP, I became aware of the mind-body connect - how these two are parts of the same system - how one effects the other. Around the same time, I got into yoga and meditation too - and realized just how deep this connect is. True well being is not just physical – that, by itself, is not wholesome.
Physical fitness, when done with care, training and maybe under expert supervision, is a great way to stay healthy. But there are other pieces to the complete jig-saw. And Jig-saw is what it actually is- with even one piece missing or misplaced, the mosaic of ‘wellness’ remains incomplete.
Mosaic of wellness: So, started the daily practice of Meditation, which gave me a certain sense of calm and centering. Miraculously, this strengthened my physical regime too. I noticed my workouts giving me more joy. I actually approached my workouts with a sense of peace, when earlier, often it was done as a tick-mark too. Missing a work-out also started causing less of unrest.
Now, as I'm older,fitter and toner (not necessarily thinner), I have these pearls from experience:
1. Respect and accept your body. Challenge it but don't abuse it.
2. Follow the do's and don't s - They're there after years of research
3. Build up your muscles and core - include yoga and strength into your exercise
4. Take time out to meditate - that's the workout for your soul
5. 'Feel' healthy - your body listens to your mind. Likewise, 'feel' beautiful
6. Happy thoughts actually make you happy
7. Laugh more, live more
There's no other formula - well being is not rocket science - it's just getting your mind and body in sync; and living life from a space of loving living it.
And NOW, I’m sure, most of my 40+ friends are grinning sagaciously ;)
About Payal: An NLP life coach and an NLP Master Practioner, Payal co-founded her dream venture, WINGS, with her partner Priyanka with an aim to provide a launching pad for military spouses. Payal is a self- proclaimed fitness freak and loved exercise in all forms, though running is a pardon. She has authored a book..Kanta Bai Pvt LTD, which is a humorous take on a work from home mom's daily routine. You can find out more about her work at www.wingsteam.in.
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