This year I felt my overall wellness progress in multiple areas of my life. This included how I exercised. It didn’t mean the year was without challenges, but if anything, the challenges helped my personal growth.
In this post, however, I’m going to focus on the area of fitness and physical activity. Although I’ve been a part of a gym since I was 16, this year my mentality changed alongside my workouts, and I felt greater joy, happiness, and emotion from my workouts.
So I wanted to share today my top 3 favourite things that have happened and that I’ve done this year in the world of fitness.
3 ways I exercised to improve my wellbeing this year
I started taking exercise classes
As I mentioned above, I’ve been attending this gym since I was 16. I’ve done the odd boot-camp here and there, and also took dance classes when I was younger.
I’ve wanted to try something new for a while now, and this year I did 3 things in particular:
- Pilates class
- Barre & HIIT combo class
- Hip hop dance class
I found a lovely local studio that had a range of classes consisting of both pilates machines and mat workouts.
I found working out with a group of women in Pilates and barre made me feel more social, as well as feeling like a fit, strong, kind woman. Those feelings in turn generated more confidence in myself.
I also returned to dancing by taking a few hip hop dance classes. This is something I used to be SO passionate about. It felt good to get out of my comfort zone by taking dance classes after all these years. Not to mention, dancing makes me happy and I was proud that I took initiative during stressful times by doing something that brought me joy.
I exercised solo during my overseas travels
Travelling is a time to relax, have fun, and refresh. I’m fortunate to have had multiple travelling experiences throughout my life. As I’ve grown, I have a developed an interest (more of an urge) to travel independently and seek out nature as an explorative and healing means.
I recently travelled across the world to America for 10 days during my short uni break. Although I went with a friend from uni (and we had a blast!) I devoted some time where appropriate to exercise alone. It’s the first time I’ve been old enough and independent enough whilst travelling to be able to do so. And I loved it!
In Hawaii, I hiked up Diamond Head, and I was able to compare my experience to the last time I did it when I was around 14 and with family. My older, now independent self loved this time to myself overseas. As a first time doing solo exercise overseas, Diamond Head was a reliable place to start (given its accessibility from Waikiki as well as popularity).
I felt calm and happy from the moment I hopped on the bus from Waikiki to the bottom of the trail. I was able to breathe, think, take in my surroundings, and then set my pace for the trail. I also made a friend during the hike, and we ended up walking back to the Waikiki centre together. Two solo travellers becoming friends is a first for me!
I also signed up for a sunrise yoga class by the hotel pool. The instructor and students all turned out to be Japanese but I was joyous and fully invested in this spontaneous and fun 1 hour class.
These experiences reminded me that I don’t just need to exercise solo overseas, but that I can incorporate nature walks and outdoor fitness in my everyday life too.
I incorporated daily morning movement
At some point during the second half of the year, I vowed to incorporate physical activity into my morning routine. Now, this didn’t mean I exercised by going for a run or doing a tough workout at the gym. Contrary, I wanted to do more self-care by just moving my body even a little bit.
I ended up stretching every morning for a few months, and still stretch most mornings of the week. It is gentle, awakening, improves circulation around the body and helps increase flexibility. All the while, it is also calming, nurturing and fulfilling. I play some soft background music, light a candle and sip on a tea.
It’s a great way to wake up and get moving even if you’re very tired – because it doesn’t require intense effort. A lot of times, I watch Blogilates YouTube stretching videos. I really do want to emphasise the word nurture. Like meditation, stretching in the morning increases my positivity and productivity, ultimately continuing throughout the day.
Overall, my fitness this year has been much more mental than it was physical. It’s been great to not only push my body and get stronger, but to also feel happier and grow my self-love.
I hope to bring what I’ve learnt and how i’ve exercised this year, to the new year that is 2020.