Wellness Wednesday: Why Self-Care is Important

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{Quiet area at the Sofitel in Biarritz, France}

Self-Care Wisdom from Xina:

For the last couple of weeks, I had to stop running because I was suffering from back pain. It killed me to give it up. There is no worst feeling in the world for me than to stop running because of an injury. Not being able to run left me empty because I was missing my “runners high.” Additionally, I was worried about weight gain since I was not able to burn those calories on the trail. However, instead of focusing on not working out I leaned on my lifestyle and self-care to see me through until I was able to run again. I ate more fruits and vegetables and completely gave up sugar. I started practicing yoga and incorporated elements of Julia Coney’s 5-Day Cleanse.

Having a healthy lifestyle also means you must eat healthily and work out. Some use working out or running as an excuse to eat whatever they want. What happens if you get sick? Pull a muscle? Break a bone to prevent you from working out? It is important to have a full and balanced healthy lifestyle in place just in case you can’t burn those calories during a high impact workout or run. Also, I know a person who ran marathons but ate all of the wrong foods. She looked like she was in the best shape for her age group. Eventually, she suffered a stroke in her late 50s. That was my wake-up call to watch what I eat.

On average, I run 31-40 miles a week. I burn hundreds of calories a year from running, biking and lifting weights. But, I am mindful of what I eat. I am working on incorporating more yoga in my life because I need to stretch my muscles to help alleviate the tension and stress that build up after my runs.

My recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle incorporated into a fitness routine:

  1. Shape up your diet: Complement your exercise efforts with a healthy, portion-controlled diet. Eat fewer processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.  I love to eat chips, sweets and drink sodas, but I stopped keeping those items in my house because I didn’t want to spend precious time working them off. Get your diet in order and stick to it.
  2. Practice yoga: As a runner I suffer from tight hips, hamstrings and now lower back pain. Yoga helps with stretching muscles and easing lower back pain. Yoga isn’t just about chanting, breathing and stretching; it can be the missing part to improve overall flexibility and performance. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to stretch before and after runs. The only time I think about attending a yoga class is when I see my body isn’t responding well when I hit the pavement. If you practice yoga consistently, you will learn where your body is tight, weak or strong. Yoga can resolve the many problems I face from running.
  3. Get massages: Sports massages improve your running and workouts. A couple of weeks ago I got a Thai massage, a method that combines deep stretching and yoga. It worked miracles on my body, especially my back. Within a couple of days, I was back out running again.
  4. Lessons Learned: Take it from me, you have to take care of your body. I’ve promised myself that this time around I will practice yoga before and after my runs, get Thai massages regularly, and eat a balanced diet. If I do these things, it will make me a much happier runner.

My yoga teacher Dana of Spiritual Essence Yoga on the important of self-care. Watch and learn.



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