What is Holistic Fitness?

A proactive approach to health & well-being

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What do you think of when you hear the word ‘fitness’?

 

Most people think about sculpted muscles, toned bodies, models & athletes. Which is perpetuated in today’s culture, with programs like, “Blast the Belly Fat” & “Say Goodbye to Flabby Arms.

 

Usually, the term focuses solely on physical fitness – physical strength, endurance & appearance.

Fitness is promoted as something exclusive. You’re either into it or you’re not.

 

As a yoga & pilates teacher, a massage therapist & strength coach, I’ve worked with people of all ages & walks of life. From fit athletes to those recovering from injury. From pre & postpartum mothers to those in a wheelchair.

 

And it doesn’t matter where we are in life – we all want to feel good in our body.

 

Many see fitness as a chore, something to get-over-and-done-with, so you can get back to living the rest of your life. And, so many see fitness as an unattainable & an unrelatable term.

The truth is, every human body on this planet needs fitness to survive.

But, not in the way we currently think of it. Because the physical aspect of fitness is only one piece of overall health & well-being.

 

Which is why I prefer a holistic approach to fitness.

 

To reframe the term from something meant exclusively for athletic physiques – to a necessary tool that all humans need in order to feel strong & confident.

 

I choose to define fitness the way it is used in biology.

In biology, fitness refers to an organism’s ability to adapt to its environment.

 

As human beings, our environment is both external (our physical body within present surroundings) & internal (our thoughts & emotions).

And it’s important to understand that what’s happening in our internal environment will dramatically influence what happens in our external environment.

 

On top of that, we live in a modern world where we constantly interact with new & different environments.

Every day tests our ability to shift & adjust as we navigate the dynamics of home, work, gym, online, friends, family & more.

In order for us to be healthy, having a holistic understanding of fitness is the only way to truly cultivate well-being.

 

Holistic Fitness addresses the person as a whole. It is achieving health & wellness through a combination of mental, physical & spiritual avenues in order to improve one’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing environments of the modern world.

 

On my journey as a personal trainer & bodyworker, I was looking for something more than the competitive & performance based attitude towards movement that I was taught in sports & gyms.

No matter how hard I competed, either against myself or others, my body was still in pain & my mind was still anxious. Exercise was a chore that I either failed at or needed to get better at.

 

And, over the years, I have watched many others struggle with a similar issue.

 

A holistic approach to health & physical activity could look like any of the following:

  • Before beginning a workout, think about WHY you’re exercising & HOW you will feel afterwards. Keep your intention in your mind, while you move your body & notice the benefits.
  • If you enjoy dancing, put your favorite song on & dance around your living room as your cardio for the day.
  • In the morning, practice building positive energy by asking yourself, “what’s the best that can happen today.” Part of your fitness can be visualizing best case scenarios.
  • Take a few deep breaths before you step into work, to balance & center yourself into a better mood.
  • Set a timer while you work at your desk, so you get up & walk around every 60 minutes to relieve tension off your lower back.
  • Have a glass of water before you eat anything. This will increase your hydration & decrease unnecessary snacking.
  • Do a few stretches at night to open your hips, so you can get a good night’s rest.

Holistic Fitness is understanding that your mental, emotional & physical self are fundamentally intertwined and inseparable.

Your mind & your body need to be on the same team, working together.

 

There is often a misconception that our minds are somehow supposed to master our bodies by imposing rigorous, sometimes painful, exercise routines. It’s the “no pain – no gain” mentality. It may work for a time or to achieve a specific goal, but it isn’t sustainable for the average body or the modern-day lifestyle.

 

Holistic Fitness means taking a proactive approach to caring for each aspect of yourself, so you can adapt to change with confidence.

 

???????? It’s learning how to recover from a stressful day at work in a way that releases the tension, not just numbs it.

???????? It’s becoming more aware of your posture & switching positions throughout the day, so you can minimize lower back & hip pain.

???????? It’s choosing to go roller skating as your workout, because it’s fun for you & makes your body feel good.

???????? It’s learning how to clear your mind & down-regulate your nervous system so you can sleep better, instead of depending on substances to put you to sleep.

???????? It’s switching up your workout routines to better fit the current season of the year or your current season of life, so you don’t burn-out.

 

Holistic Fitness is training your mind-body-soul to be resilient.

And trusting that the smaller waistline & toned arms will follow… because they absolutely will.

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