With the coming of the new year we have a chance to reflect on the past and plan for the upcoming year. Top resolutions involve health: eating better, exercising more, and ridding oneself of unhealthy habits. It can be tough to change habits and incorporate new things, but when we begin from a place of self love and a resolve to nourish and support adding in positive change can be easier.
Moving more and adding in exercise is a good thing. But often the start of a new exercise program can mean sore achey muscles. Sometimes it is tough to keep motivation going after a few weeks. We can use essential oils, herbal extracts, and even CBD to combat both these hinderances.
When starting a new exercise program it is important to take a realistic look at where we are beginning and where we'd like to be. If you've been a couch potato for years it may not be a good idea to try to go out and try to run 5 miles to start off your new exercise program.
A smarter approach may be to seek wise council in a book, online program, personal trainer, etc. and set a goal to start in an appropriate place and stick with it. Gyms are often flooded with people come January and by mid February things calm down.
But the key to sticking with your resolution to exercise more is finding a way to stay at it. This means finding exercise you enjoy, finding a way to fit it into your schedule, building up to realistic goals, and being consistent.
Here are a few ideas to help:
1. What exercise do you enjoy?: Ok maybe a better question is what gets you moving? Do you enjoy getting outdoors and walking, running, or hiking? Maybe you enjoy taking a walk with you dog. Are team sports more your thing? Or perhaps kickboxing? Do you like to train for events, swim, or work out with a friend. Ideally we should engage in aerobic exercise and help to maintain muscle mass and flexibility. This could mean running, walking, hiking, swimming, biking, or exercise classes to exercise our heart and yoga, pilates, weight lifting, or such to support our muscles, balance, and flexibility. If you thing about it there are 168 hours in a week. You could spend 30 minutes to 2 hours a day exercising and that means on average 2% to 8.3% of your week would be devoted to helping you reduce stress, improve heart health, feel better emotionally, perhaps lose weight, sleep better, support immune health, and support your overall health and well being. Seems like a small price to pay considering we can spend way more time less meaningful things.
2. Friends Make Things Better: Many people need an exercise buddy to hold them accountable. If someone is expecting you to show up how can you not exercise? If you tend to talk yourself out of exercise you may want to consider having an accountability partner.
3. Recovery and nutrition is important: Working out is necessary to make gains. You need to run or walk to improve your heart, lift weights to gain muscle mass, and stretch or do yoga to improve flexibility. But many people neglect the importance of recovery. When your muscles are sore from a good workout an epsom salt bath, foam roll, or massage can do wonders. And most top athlete know the importance of good sleep and excellent nutrition in supporting athletic goals and the same holds true for the rest of us. To reap the most benefits from exercise we also need to consider recovery and nutrition.
How can essential oils support your exercise goals?
1. Motivation: Some essential oils can be energizing, uplifting, and help open airways. A few of my favorites are orange, grapefruit, peppermint, and rosemary. Orange and grapefruit smell amazing and are energetically uplifting and motivating. They are get up and go kind of oils.
Peppermint and rosemary are invigorating. They open airways and make you feel awake and alive. If you are at all sleepy and not feeling like a workout I dare you to smell a combo of peppermint, rosemary, and orange and not feel awake and ready to go.
You may have your own personal get up and go combo of essential oils. If so comment below and share! We'd love to know more about you, your blend, and how you stick to your exercise goals!
2. Soothing Sore Muscles and Joints: Nothing kills New Years exercise enthusiasm faster than sore painful muscles. Pain may come from doing too much too fast. But painful muscles are telling you that they are being challenged. And challenged muscles grow stronger!
While you need to be smart about your workout program and perhaps consult a personal trainer, holistic healthcare practitioner, or doctor, sore muscles aren't always a bad thing. But they do need attention and proper rest.
When you lift weights and work a muscle group you need to rest, sleep, eat well, and recover to help build more muscle. When you run hard you may need to walk or do a recovery run to help build your overall strength.
Aromatherapy can be used to help ease muscle aches, support sleep, or soothe sore joints. There are a number of essential oils that act as analgesics, anti-inflammatories, anti-spasmodic, or overall tonics. Some of my favorites include lavender, Roman or German chamomile, sandalwood, rosemary, juniper berry, and cedarwood. In addition I love using carrier oils infused with arnica, St. John's wort, comfrey, and lavender. These plants can soothe aches, relax muscles, and help support overall recovery.
There is so much that can be said about using essential oils and herbs to support exercise and recovery. If you have questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
And I wish you all a beautiful 2019 and may you realize your resolutions and goals.