There has always been a love-hate relationship with exercise: We know it’s good for us but have trouble sticking to it. To make your relationship with working out a long-lasting one, it is important to develop a routine that can turn into an everyday habit. Make your visit to the gym or yoga studio as easy as possible by packing your gym bag with everything you’ll need.
Fuel and Recovery
Start with the right snacks. The best snack is one that combines carbohydrates and protein, eaten 30 minutes before your workout. Fresh fruits will give you an energy boost, and a cup of plain, low-fat yogurt offers protein. Staying hydrated will help you avoid consuming more calories than you burn. Steer clear of caffeine and warm fluids, though. Also consider supplements designed to optimize nutrition before, during, and after exercise.
Know you will be pushing yourself at the gym? Add magnesium and trace minerals to your water to help prevent painful cramps. And homeopathic remedies can help reduce muscle fatigue and aches. Arnica is the leading remedy to fend off symptoms of overexertion ahead of time, and can also reduce the pain of sprains. This homeopathic medicine is available in pills and topical creams and gels.
After a workout, hit the showers with natural body-care products. Look for plant-based shampoos with mild sudsing agents instead of sodium lauryl sulfate. Avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain parabens, chemical preservatives, fragrance, and additives.
As with choosing shampoos, you want to find a gentle facial cleanser. Olive or coconut oil-based soaps will do the trick without irritating your skin or compromising its natural balance.
Nobody wants to be sweaty and messy, but sweating is the body’s way of cooling down and detoxifying. Using a natural deodorant lets you control odor without disrupting the body’s healthy processes.
When choosing moisturizers look for products that contain argan, coconut, jojoba, or olive oils. They make exceptional moisturizers, equipped as they are with their own anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean ($26.00, Da Capo Press, 2013)