Beginning a wellness journey can be very intimidating. Learning where to start, what’s good and not good for your body, and so much more. However, fitness and wellness look different for everybody, and there’s no right or wrong way to get started. Wellness doesn’t have to mean working out seven days a week and eating perfectly healthy. There are many different ways to take care of your mind and body, at any pace you want. Let’s talk about our fitness favorites when it comes to our workout routine, essentials, apps, and beyond.
Fitness not only keeps your body healthy and happy, but also your mind. If you're struggling to find the motivation to get your body moving, consider how the outcomes could boost your mood and help your concentration. According to Better Health and the Australian Department of Health, “The levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones and endorphins, change when you exercise.” Practicing some type of wellness every day can improve your energy and sleeping patterns as well.
If you’re not sure how to add fitness into your everyday life, think about your daily routine and what parts you may be able to change to incorporate wellness. It could be something as simple as walking to the store rather than driving, or doing 10 minutes of yoga when you wake up. It’s important to start slow, and find things that you enjoy doing so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Feeling good in your own skin while working out can completely change the way you exercise. According to Healthline, “For 79 percent [of people], owning “good” gym clothes is a crucial step toward meeting their fitness goals.” When you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin. When the clothes you’re wearing to the gym fit well and meet your exercise needs, you can focus more on the workout performance and less on your appearance. Ditch the leggings and skin tight tanks if they’re sliding around or making you feel any less than awesome. Big t-shirts and comfy shorts rock, too! Let your outfit incentivize you to get to the gym.
Not only do outfits serve as motivation, but finding a workout app or program can be great encouragement. According to Northwest Primary Care, “93% of doctors believe that health-related apps actually have the potential to enhance your overall health.” Finding an app that you feel comfortable using can help you discover new exercises and routines, monitor your health, and push you out of your current fitness comfort zone. Apps make working out and practicing wellness easier by opening our eyes to new things.
We connected with fitness enthusiast Kelli Yapp to get her favorites when it comes to workout gear, accessories, and apps. Add these items to your list and get started on your fitness and wellness journey.
While the TechLooms are APL’s classic running shoe, I don’t actually use them for running — I think they’re the perfect, versatile training shoe and use them for strength and high-intensity interval training workouts. The sole offers the ideal amount of support and they’re very comfortable and stylish. I’ve worn mine to death and they’ve held up incredibly well.
I was looking for a non-toxic cleaner for my mat when I started doing at-home workouts. I found this natural and organic spray and now, can’t go without it! Just spray and wipe your mat at the end of your workout — leaving it fresh prior to storing. It also comes with a microfiber cloth.
Old-school ankle weights got a seriously cool upgrade. I snagged a pair of 2 lb. Bala Bangles in the summer when I didn’t have regular access to weights. These are the perfect accessory to add resistance to a workout, especially if barre and Pilates are some of your go-tos.
Workout apps are a great way to maintain a fitness routine. They can help you track your progress and daily goals, and some even teach you workout tips and tricks. Check out a few of our favorites below and start testing them out! Experiment and find which one, or combination, works best for you.
Free on the App Store and Google Play
The My Map Run is an awesome GPS running and workout tracker to use with your family and friends. You can follow each other and set up weekly challenges. You’ll receive notifications when others complete workouts and cheer each other on through the app. I highly recommend doing a family fitness challenge during the holidays!
I love the Vertue Method by my favorite fit-pro, Shona Vertue. This is a 12-week video program that consists of real-time workouts, ~30 minutes in length, and combines functional strength training with Yoga. This program is wonderful because the workouts are challenging, but also well-rounded and balanced. They progressively become more difficult as you develop more strength. You can do all the workouts with a mat, resistance band, set of kettlebells, and a chair.
Free on the App Store and Google Play
In addition to these fitness favorites, remember that your post workout routine is also critical. Start with stretching right when you’re finished. This will reduce your risk of injury, loosen your muscles, and help your flexibility. In addition to this, your post-workout meal should be just as important to your routine as your pre-workout meal. According to Healthline, “Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate new muscle growth.” Nutrients that you should be trying to eat as soon as possible after a workout include proteins, carbs, and fat. Easy ingredients to incorporate are rice, eggs, chicken, nuts, and avocado.
Rest days are crucial during your fitness journey. Working out seven days a week can be very damaging for your body. Rest days give your muscles time to recover from the damage that they are put through during a workout. If you ignore these days, you can seriously injure yourself. According to Healthline, “Overtraining also exposes your muscles to repetitive stress and strain.” Keep your body and mind healthy by taking days off and doing other things you enjoy.
And of course, don’t forget to drink water before, during, and after a workout. According to Fitness 19, “Dehydration can lead to cramping, soreness, fatigue, and even heat stroke, especially if you're exercising in hot weather.” Women should drink approximately 2.7 liters of water a day, and more is necessary when you’re exercising. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember to drink water, so try and find a good routine that reminds you to hydrate. Drink a glass of water during a meal, carry a water bottle with you everywhere, or even set reminders on your phone.
Everyone’s fitness journey is different. A crucial part of finding your perfect routine is not comparing yourself to the people around you and what you see on social media. All of our bodies are different, and we must treat them as such. Remind yourself to listen to your body, take rest days, and don’t be hard on yourself.
This article was originally published in the winter 2020 issue of Molly My Mag under the title “Stay Strong” and has been expanded by our team here.