A fitness routine means different things to different people. Professional fighters will probably practice and spar more than five times a week and will complete at least a few strength and conditioning sessions between. Whereas casual hobbyists and fight fans are likely to have a more mild approach to their fitness routine, as other priorities like work and family life take precedence.
However, for professional athletes and regular joes alike, a holistic health strategy should underlie every decision you make, as a well-rounded approach to your health will ensure you meet your health goals and maintain health in the long term.
Here are a few ways that you can create a holistic approach by incorporating a few intentional habits and activities.
Your diet plays a crucial role in your overall health. Poor nutrition increases your chances of developing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and negatively affects eye health, which can lead to conditions like macular degeneration.
A poor diet will also leave you feeling sapped and ruin your chances of maintaining a good fitness routine, as you won’t have the necessary nutrients to get through difficult workouts. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your diet isn’t undermining your holistic health strategy.
Managing your caloric intake isn’t particularly fun, but it can ensure that you can fuel your fitness routine while maintaining a holistic approach to health. Recent research shows that a greater energy intake following high intensity is beneficial for your health and that increasing your food intake after resistance training leads to greater muscle mass and strength gains.
However, if you’re trying to lose weight for health reasons, then you may need to consider restricting the calories you consume. Research suggests replacing high-fat foods like processed meals with high-protein alternatives like lean meats, nuts, and beans is the best route to go, as you won’t feel hungry, and can still work towards your health goals. There are also herbs you can add to your diet to improve your overall health.
Staying well hydrated boosts cognitive function, reduces the risk of injury, and promotes recovery after a hard workout. However, chugging a bottle of water between rounds of sparring isn’t practical and can lead to sickness. Instead, you should ensure you are well hydrated before a workout or practice and should consider drinking electrolyte-rich liquids which are proven to boost recovery.
In a perfect world, very few of us would need to use supplements — we’d get everything we need from simple whole foods and water. However, in reality, tracking micronutrients like Vitamin A and Iron is almost impossible. You can make the process easier by supplementing your diet with the nutrition you’re missing like omega tablets and vitamin D drinks.
The exercise you do should suit your health goals. If you’re a fighter, then you should probably follow a tailored strength and conditioning program that improves your specific weakness without burning out your central nervous system. However, if you just exercise for long-term health, then a workout plan that is engaging and varied will be right for you.
Regardless of your health goals, here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your fitness routine.
Studies show that gentle yoga can help manage stress and improve your resilience. That’s because yoga forces you to slow down and become attuned to your body and its needs. Regular practice can also improve the quality of your sleep, and the improved mindfulness will improve your balance — a vital skill in all combat sports.
Swimming is a low-intensity activity that doesn’t put extra stress on your muscular-skeletal system. Instead, your body is supported by the water, meaning you can move through a full range of motion without causing strain or injury. This is particularly useful if you’re too sore after training but still need to get in some extra cardio.
Some hikes are brutal and certainly count as workouts in their own right. However, if you’re looking to add supplemental exercise into your current routine, low-intensity walking and hiking might be the answer. Taking to the hills is proven to improve your mental health, and the time outdoors might give you the time you need to think through any challenges you’re facing.
Fitness trackers and wearable technology are designed to keep track of your overall health and can help you set goals like lowering your blood pressure or heart rate. They are extremely convenient and work seamlessly with the rest of your life.
Wearable health trackers are also becoming more sophisticated and can help you and your family stay on top of your health strategy by setting reminders to move and suggesting workouts based on your recent activity. This means that you won’t lose track of your progress, and will feel great when you meet your health-related goals.
Of course, a health app alone isn’t enough to ensure that you are leading a healthy lifestyle. Instead, you should seriously consider checking in with professional health providers who can take your blood pressure, complete blood work to ensure you’re healthy, and can suggest the right kind of exercise for you and your overall health strategy.
Your fitness routine is entirely dependent upon your skill level, goals, current fitness, and access to equipment. If you’re a hobbyist kickboxer, you don’t need to risk your long-term health by cutting weight or restricting calories. But, if you are a professional athlete, you should seriously consider taking up a light yoga practice or taking a hike to fight stress and improve your holistic health.
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