When you are practicing Pilates regularly and taking responsibility for your own health and fitness, you will experience many physical and mental benefits. In order to maintain our health at an optimum level, what other ways can we continue to care for and nourish our bodies and minds to support our Pilates training?
Here are 5 practical ways to improve your overall health and well-being that both myself and my clients have used successfully.
1. Stay Hydrated - Water Is Essential For Good Health
This is a lesson I learned the hard way when at 15 I was hospitalised with acute pain which turned out to be kidney stones. Back in the day, drinking water definitely wasn't cool and this attack hit me after a dance class during a particularly hot summer. Drinking water was the prescribed treatment and as I couldn't wait to get out of pain and hospital I started to drink lots and lots and water, a habit I've continued to this day. Each morning, fill a reusable bottle or jug with the amount of water you should have in a day so you can keep track of your exact water intake. It's very easy to forget to drink water, but staying hydrated really is essential and can prevent a huge range of issues, for example, kidney stones, dehydrated spinal discs and joints and muscle cramps during the night,
2. Reduce or Eliminate Your Alcohol Intake
This is not going to be a very popular tip but reducing or eliminating alcohol intake altogether will really benefit your health. Many people are surprised to learn that studies have proven alcohol is linked to causing several types of cancers including bowel and breast cancer and this information is on the Cancer Council of Australia website https://www.cancer.org.au/policy-and-advocacy/position-statements/alcohol-and-cancer/. Alcohol also causes weight gain and can increase the risk of stroke and injury due to falling and car accidents. Take a look at the statistics and evaluate if alcohol really is something you need in your diet.
3. Reduce Your Intake of Processed Foods
Having plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand will ensure you don't reach for processed alternatives. I buy a large quantity of organic eggs, chicken, fish, fruit and vegetables each week and then plan my meals around what I have to work with and what is in season. Nothing is wasted as I find a use for it or I freeze it. This way you can control the sugar, salt and fat content, which is so much better for your health. Include vegetables at breakfast such as cooked mushrooms, tomatoes and baby spinach just like you would order sides at a cafe, or make an omelette with vegetables in it. Fruit and vegetables have so many benefits and are a great source of antioxidants.
4. Take Epsom Salt Baths
Taking a bath for a minimum of 20 minutes with 2 cups of food-grade Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) dissolved in the water can be very soothing for sore muscles and joints after exercise. It's also very relaxing and can help reduce stress levels. Lighting a candle and looking at the flame can also help you to wind down in the evening before bed as the red light from the flame encourages sleep as opposed to the blue light from screens which stimulates the brain to stay awake. Make sure the candle is in a safe place and that you don't fall asleep in the bath! Also, this is not recommended if you have broken skin, allergic reactions or low blood pressure as a warm bath can reduce it further. Shower off after the bath to wash away any residue on your skin.
5. Keep A Positive Mindset
Maintaining a positive mindset definitely makes for a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life. How do we achieve this in the modern world? Allow time for relaxation, spending time with loved ones and pursuing hobbies and passions. Watching funny videos such as Candid Camera on Youtube can really change your mood and laughter has many healing qualities. Exercise, including Pilates, releases endorphins or feel-good hormones. My Online Pilates Studio provides Guided Relaxation Sessions in addition to Pilates workouts so try the free 10-day trial now. It's been proven that a constant diet of negative thoughts weakens the immune system and can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Don't hesitate to seek help from a professional if you feel you need support with any of these issues. After all, the greatest wealth is health and it's our responsibility to maintain our health so we can enjoy our best life possible!
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