September 22, 2017

Inside-Out Fitness by Mary Miriani

Spring has arrived, and swimsuit season is looming. Most people think of fitness, and getting-fit, from the outside in. However in reality, fitness comes from the inside out and it begins with a positive mindset. If you really want to be fit, forget your old ideas about fitness being a way to shape your body, and instead shape your mind and spirit first. The result will be a great and healthy body, and mind! 

When we get in shape for looks alone, we allow outside things like the scale and mirror judge us. Instead, concentrate on how you feel on the inside. Get in touch with your own body’s signals, and a lifelong healthy body for life will result. 

So how do you create fitness from the inside-out? Listen to your body! Your body is superbly designed to tell you when to eat, move and rest:

Listen to how your body and energy feels with how and what you’re eating. Firstly, pay attention to how you feel when you under-eat. You may feel nervous, maybe have a headache, and eat uncontrollably later. Secondly, watch what happens when you eat junk food. Sure it tastes good and may provide a burst of energy immediately. However, how do you feel a few hours later?  You’re probably feeling sluggish and exhausted soon after consuming foods high in sugar. Conversely, take note of how you feel after eating healthfully. For example, maybe you feel lighter and enjoy balanced steady energy and less bloating after eating a lean protein snack or smaller meals later in the day. Keeping a food/feeling log is a great start!

Listen to how your body feels at various times during your day. For example, do you squirm after hours of sitting at your desk? If so, your body is begging you to move! The solution may be as simple as setting the alarm on your smart phone or computer to get up every 2 hours and stretch.

Listen to how your body feels and responds to your sleep schedule.  Do you feel rested and rejuvenated upon waking in the morning? Too little sleep and soon, you’re yawning; it’s hard to keep your eyes open and losing track of your thoughts during your day. Your body is demanding rest. Logging sleep patterns/feeling will provide important feedback.

This spring, develop a vision of how you want to feel and follow that vision by slowly taking the steps that bring you there; evaluate your overall variables of food, exercise and rest. Start building your fitness on the inside, and your body will soon follow. With awareness of your unhealthy habits, commit to action steps and change them one at a time, until you feel great. Fitness cannot and should not happen in a rapid effort to change your mirror image. If you focus on fitness from the inside out,  you will be feeling (and looking) great!

By Mary Miriani; BA Exercise Science; ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist. Contact her via email, mary@miriani.com.

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