As a Tai Chi instructor, I can’t stress enough the importance of physical activity to enrich your body and mind. However, when deciding to undertake an activity, the mantra that I tell all of my students to remember is the seemingly simple, “If it hurts, don’t do it!”
Exercise is meant to be mindfully enjoyed, not dreaded, and there are a variety of steps that you can take to feel more comfortable before and after physical activity.
Researching your activity, allowing yourself the proper time to warm up, and listening to your body are all ways to care for yourself and make your exercise regime one that you won’t want to quit 4 days later.
Have You Tried Massage Oil?
Another option that may surprise you is massage oil. Weleda Arnica Massage Oil may be just the tool you need to reduce soreness and promote relaxation before or after physical activity, or even just at the end of a stressful day. This oil contains plant oils, including sunflower and olive oil, mixed with the popularly medicinal arnica flower.
Arnica flowers are beautiful yellow flowers, related to sunflowers, that have traditionally been used for everything from pain relief to vision problems, including vision problems that occur post-stroke. This makes arnica a powerful flower that can potentially help alleviate complications from serious conditions. These special flowers have even been used to reduce bruising and help with the pain of arthritis. Weleda’s arnica oil combines these flowers with healthy plant oils to create a massage oil that is healing, soothing, and marvellously reinvigorating.
Mindfulness and Physical Activity
Exercise is often thought of as a completely physical activity, but this of course isn’t at all true. Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve mental health, giving you the overall full body wellness that you deserve. While any exercise will provide these benefits, there are certain exercises that seem more geared toward accomplishing both than others, simply by the very nature of the activity. Tai Chi, swimming, and walking are just a few examples of activities that encourage participants to slow down and focus on their bodies and their environments.
As the fitness magazines make clear, physical activity is so often viewed as something that should be taken to extremes. We’re told to run as fast as we can, for instance, and for as long as we can, without regard for how our minds and bodies are feeling. When performing any kind of activity, use it as an opportunity to also train your mind. Notice your breath and be present in the moment. Try to clear your mind, letting thoughts come and go as you focus on your exercise routine. My soon-to-be-released book will go into greater detail on mindfulness, but taking these steps now will allow you to be at peace in mind and body, giving you the maximum benefit from your workout routine.
Massage Oil: Beyond Pain Relief
Weleda’s Arnica Massage Oil isn’t simply healing. It’s also another way to relax and practise mindfulness. You’ll first want to warm the oil by placing a few drops into your hands and gently rubbing them together. Then, you’ll want to carefully massage the oil into the muscles impacted by your workout, or the parts of your body most impacted by workday (or general life) tension. Really pay attention as you massage, allowing your mind to breathe in the arnica, and using this as an opportunity to practise mindfulness. Note the feeling of the oil on your fingers, guiding yourself to be present in this moment.
Have you tried a massage oil like Weleda’s arnica oil as part of your exercise plan? How do you practise mindfulness during physical activity? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for tips, tricks, and updates on my upcoming book.