You get your sweat sessions in four to five days a week, focus on eating right and stay hydrated most of the time, but it feels like something's missing. For many people–fitness enthusiasts included–there's one area that doesn't get the attention and prioritization it should: self-care.
We asked four fitness experts to share their beliefs about the importance of self-care in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Whether their answers surprise you or reaffirm what you're already doing, they all share some valuable tips.
The Role of Self-Care in a Balanced Fitness Lifestyle
"A balanced fitness lifestyle is so much more than how often you're working out, what exercises you're doing or what weight you're using," Aurora Sekine, fitness community manager at Trainiac, says. "To foster a sustainable and enjoyable fitness lifestyle, you have to take a holistic approach to strengthening your mind and body."
Sekine explains that self-care is a major component of this because it helps you develop an awareness of how your body responds to different exercises and prevents burnout that often results when you don't give your mind and body adequate time to adjust and recover.
It's also critical if you want to get better at what you're doing. "Fitness is all about getting your body to perform at its absolute best, and for this to happen you must treat your body well," Lyuda Bouzinova, co-founder of Mission Lean and ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, says.
Treating your body well requires you to look at exercise and fitness as only part of an overall wellness lifestyle. Exercise physiologist Mary Jayne Rogers Ph.D. explains that when you're not in balance with the other components of your life, exercise can actually become a task-master, leading to unhealthy exercise behaviors. "When we approach exercise and 'moving mindfully' as part of our whole-person health, we are more likely to feel satisfied in all areas of our lives," she says.