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Natalie Ross Pilates

Make an Appointment to Focus on Your Overall Health

By guest Pilates instructor, Natalie Ross

This Wellness Wednesday, make a date with yourself. Jot down in your planner or your iPhone or whatever keeps you organized a dedicated time to focus on your physical state, ideally every day. We tend to have a more success committing to things when the time set aside is pre-determined and reserved; it’s important try to set aside time each day to focus on physical and mental wellness.

There are many types of exercise easily practiced at home without the use of much or any equipment at all. Mat Pilates is an accessible form of mind-body exercise for almost everyone, especially at home. Yoga is also a wonderful and calming way to move the body in a non-stressful way while focusing the mind and connecting to the breath. If you’re up for something a little more energetic, body-weight conditioning is a great option. This may include squats, lunges, leg lifts, planks, push-ups – any movement that involves the resistance of your own body. 

But there’s more to health at home than just the physical. We are multi-faceted beings with varied wellness needs. Here are some ways to care for your whole self while sheltering in place.

Stay Connected, Stay Active

Social connection is vital for mental and physical wellness. Staying social and participating in an activity with friends and/or a community helps us remain committed. There are many options online for fitness communities and “live” group classes. Did you have a fitness trainer, yoga or Pilates instructor that you enjoyed working with before the shelter-in-place came into effect? Try reaching out to them now, as many are offering live or recorded classes and instruction on online platforms. There are also wonderful fitness apps for your Smartphone and/or computer that will keep you engaged in a fitness routine for virtually every style and level of ability.

You can also make an “active” date with a friend or family member to meet for a video chat. Try spending an hour taking turns offering different exercise ideas to one another and practicing them together, encouraging each other.

Make Your To-Do List Work for You

Productivity of any kind is a wonderful way to stay stimulated and mentally and physically active without a formal workout. How about a vigorous round of vacuuming and dusting, every room in the house, enough to work up a sweat? Perhaps a little extra elbow grease of the tub, tiles and floors? How about that big home project we’ve all been procrastinating? Now is the time. Just remember to bend at the knees and engage the core when moving, lifting and carrying anything heavy, beginning each dynamic movement with a self reminder “abdominals in and up”!

Get Outside

This may look different now than it normally does, but connecting with nature, the sun and wind is invigorating. It can instill extra energy and rejuvenate not only the physical state but also refresh and reset out thoughts. Even if our daily step counts are a bit lower for now, a few laps around your neighborhood can do wonders for your metabolism and your mood.

Whether you are a distance runner with a lively playlist of music or prefer to walk while listening to your favorite podcast (like Crystal Storytellers) or audio books, this is a wonderful way to blend physical and mental stimulation.

Fuel Your Body the Right Way

In order to be motivated to stay consistently active, we must be well fueled. To keep our immune systems strong we need nutrients obtained from whole foods like vitamins A, D, and C and minerals like zinc and iron. Many of us have extra time to focus on cooking now that many of our favorite restaurants are closed, which means paying extra attention to what goes into our meals. Simple, whole ingredients are a great place to start. Slow-cooker meals, switching it up with breakfast foods for dinner, finding new recipes for ingredients you already have in your pantry or freezer – these are all ways to make the process of cooking different and delicious. However you approach meal preparation, let go of your preconceived notions and make sure you’re feeding your body’s current needs.

All of these efforts toward physical and mental activity and proper nutrition will help keep preserve wellness during this challenging time. They also aid in one of the most important elements of wellness – sleep. Quality, regular sleep will help ensure that you are at your best, and it works this way in tandem with exercise and nutrition. Exhaust the body, exhaust the mind, so that they then crave rest and restoration. This healthy cycle is key to quality self-care in quarantine.

As we seek new ways to find wellness in our everyday lives, I am happy to be part of the Crystal@Home Virtual Cruise Experience.

Natalie Ross is a New York City based Pilates and Yoga Instructor where she specializes in holistic movement that aids and heals the physical and mental state. She has been guest teaching Pilates aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony since 2016. Natalie is not a licensed medical doctor or dietitian and the comments above are suggestions and may not be appropriate for all individuals. 

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