fitness goals

Fitness on your mind? 7 fitness goals to swear by for 2023

I know this will invite brickbats, but I have been completely averse to the idea of exercising indoors for as long as I can remember. I have never visited a gym in spite of being a health, nutrition and fitness enthusiast. An early morning jog or walk in the picture perfect postcard garden just across my house with 40 minutes of yoga and an active lifestyle throughout the day completes my fitness story. Within a year of plunging into this fitness regime, I have been able to reach my optimum weight, high energy levels and mostly been disease-free. However, your fitness journey could be very different yet fulfilling and goal oriented.

Before setting any fitness goals, it is crucial to know that fitness is the synchronization of mind and body to perform various tasks with efficiency, focus and effectiveness. Fitness does not mean simply sweating it out at the gym. It does not mean a weight loss journey. When you are fit, you will be able to strike optimum weight and gain mental and physical agility.

The world has realized the importance of health post pandemic and it has become essential to set attainable fitness goals;  taking care of our body, nutrition, sleep as well as mental wellbeing. The new year is just round the corner so let’s set some holistic fitness goals that enhance our health quotient by focusing on our mind-body connection.

Focus on breathing

Whenever you are stressed or in midst of chasing deadlines, just observe your breathing. It will be upper chest, shallow breathing. But when you are on a vacation amidst serene natural environs, you will find your breathing becoming deep with a cascading sense of relaxation.

Shallow breathing does not nourish our tissues as much as deep abdominal breathing does. If we begin our day with a few breathing exercises, it helps increases our stamina levels. Any form of exercise, whether yogic or aerobic, incorporates great breathing techniques as well.

When we breathe using the diaphragm, it leads to extensive relaxation of body muscles, supplying them with oxygen. It reduces lactic acid build up in the muscles responsible for fatigue and brings back the desired levels of oxygen and CO2 in the blood.

Clearly, deep breathing is an essential part of fitness. With mounting stress and chaotic lifestyles, let us prioritize breathing right in 2023.

Healthy and balanced meals

Being a non-fussy eater since childhood, I gradually moved to pick up balanced and nutritious meals. I also chose to enrich my daily palette with seasonal, locally grown and colourful foods. This habit resulted in me attaining major health goals. However, I still gorge on more than moderate amount of sweets. So my fitness resolution for 2023 will include regulating my junk food intake and moving towards a balanced and nutritious meal regularly.

For a fit and healthy body, a balanced and timely diet is essential. It does not mean totally going off scrumptious meals that satiate our taste buds. We can consume the not so healthy food at times in moderation as that does not deter one’s long-term fitness journey.

But sticking to a balanced meal daily nourishes the body with required macro and micro-nutrients so one must make it a habit for the long run.

Working on mind-body connection

Swimming is normal for me. I’m relaxed. I’m comfortable and I know my surroundings. It’s my home,” echoes Michael Phelps, the most decorated and successful swimmer of our times. Like him, do you enjoy your fitness routine or feel it to be burdensome?

When our mind and body is co-ordinated, the fitness regimen feels joyful, energizing and empowering. Exercising releases neurotransmitters like serotonin which elevates the mood. But with a distracted or tired mind, a physical activity does not bring the desired results. This is why any fitness program should be adopted with due emphasis on mental wellbeing too. So prioritize on mental health while setting your fitness goals for 2023. In fact, integrate mental and physical fitness to achieve holistic health.

Sleep tight

Remember how as kids, we were made to sleep early by our parents? As adults, we stop following the natural circadian rhythm of the body. We push our sleep time further and further due to lifestyle changes and technology. We all know that 6-8 hours of sound sleep is required for an adult person and ironically, sleep is the one thing we compromise on the most.

One cannot undertake a rigorous fitness activity unless one wakes up mint fresh after adequate rest. So focus on sleeping well and following a regular pattern as a health goal in 2023. During sleep, our body repairs, regenerates and supports healthy brain function. Once the body has undergone adequate rest, it is alert, energetic and ready to take on tasks for the day.

Focus on endurance and flexibility

Whenever I see my 7-year-old daughter doing summersaults or the most difficult yoga poses with ease, I feel a pang of yearning. We lose flexibility, an exceptional quality of human body, while growing up. For me, building endurance and flexibility will remain on top of the charts in 2023.

Flexibility is enhanced by muscle strength and endurance one can achieve through yoga or any balanced fitness program that includes cardiovascular exercises. Consciously choose an activity that enhances these two pre-requisites of fitness.

Walk a mile

Walking comes naturally to humans as opposed to sitting. Snatch every opportunity out of your schedule to walk. For me, the sunshine-soaked garden or any long clean stretch is enough to swing my feet into action. Walking is therapeutic, brings focus, increases cardiovascular health, bones and muscles strength. And it is absolutely free! Once you start to enjoy your daily walks, it becomes a healthy habit for a lifetime. It gives you a downtime too, away from the hustle-bustle.

While walking, I like to keep the devices away even though we have the technology to count steps now. Choose whatever keeps you going, be it music, technology or a walking partner and take a step forward. For 2023, simply take out sometime each day to walk a mile.

Sip that water

Our body is 60% water, crucial for most physiological processes. Water is most essential yet we take it for granted. When we get entangled in our daily schedules, we forget to drink water and sometimes even choose other unhealthy drinks over it. We go for long stretches without water just because we may have not felt thirsty. Remember that no fitness goal can be achieved without consuming enough water. Replacing it with artificial energy drinks, aerated drinks or any other fancy drink is a big mistake. For 2023, take a vow to gulp water before the brain signals you through thirst.

Consuming a significant amount of water keeps the body hydrated during rigorous fitness activities. Lemonade, sattu drink, herbal teas and soups should be a part of our diet to fulfil fluid requirements. Seasonal fruits and vegetables that are naturally rich in water should be consumed as much as possible.

But don’t forget to sip that precious water and see yourself more energized and glowing in 2023!

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