The strength variable is all about the relationship between your beautiful body and brilliant mind. The physiological benefits of exercise are well-known and go far beyond weight loss and muscle growth. These include stronger bones, increased energy levels, reduced risk of chronic disease,
clearer skin and better sleep. Most importantly it releases endorphins which I like to call our natural happy medicine.
The benefits of physical exercise are multi-systemic and also translate to improvements in your mental health. Whether you like to take long walks or rage your fists against a punching bag, physical activity of any intensity produces changes in parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It also increases brain sensitivity to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, both of which relieve feelings of depression. Physical activity gets these natural happy medicines pumping and literally helps you create happy! This synergy between the physical body and the mind is the essence of what Strength means in the Lotus Theory formula.
Strength is much more than simply improving the appearance of the body.
Meditation, which is basically a workout for the mind, is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and increase your awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Like physical exercise, meditation is known to reduce stress, regulate anxiety, promote emotional health, increase mental acuity, improve sleep, decrease blood pressure, and even control pain.*
An essential element of Strength is nutrition, which is just as--if not more--important than exercise. What defines “good nutrition” is part of
a huge and constantly changing discussion. And while our understanding of health diets is evolving, there are some nutrition basics that can help you sort through the latest research, trends, fads and advice. Having a healthy diet that promotes Strength comes down to eating a variety of wholesome foods to support your physical and mental health.
Strength is much more than simply improving the appearance of the body. Most of us tend to focus on at least one aspect of our physical appearance that we want to change. We are constantly exposed to idealized images in the media of flawless bodily perfection, which does little more than heighten our awareness of our physical shortcomings. Even magazines that advocate self-love and acceptance are filled with articles on how to get a slimmer waist, flatter abs and toned arms.
Strength teaches us that everybody, and every body, is unique. We should avoid comparing ourselves to other bodies and focus on the present moment. Strength is not just exercise plain and simple; it’s about enjoying and engaging in exercise that aligns with our unique physical needs. Not every option of physical fitness is for you.
High-intensity interval training (aka HIIT), which is super intense exercise interspersed with short periods of active recovery, is trending in the fitness world as the best and fastest way to burn fat and
build strength. The truth is that HIIT is not required in order to be fit. In fact, depending on your fitness goals and body type, intense exercise could be completely wrong for you. You might find that it’s easier and more effective to mental and physical strength by practicing yoga, pilates, dancing, swimming, boxing, or any other activity that activates your body and strengthens your mind at the same time.
Exercise allows us to decompress and feel good about ourselves. Try different things until you find a method and community that inclines you to show up for yourself. Working with a therapist to help identify the right type of movement for you is a great way to expedite the process. Working out is something you do for you, that directly impacts you that allows you to take responsibility and show up for YOU!
How do you build strength in your life? What works best for you? Let me know on Instagram using hashtag #lotustheoryny.