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August 24, 2015 2 min read

A good workout is a great remedy for so many things that are harmful to us but are you doing everything you can to get the most from your sweat session? What you do outside the gym is every bit as important as what you do inside of it. Stress is one of the biggest things that can stand in your way. It produces cortisol which impacts everything from the immune system to digestion. It also leads to fat storage in the belly. All of this makes it more difficult for your body to recover after a workout. The good news is that you can combat stress. Have a look at the following practices in mindfullness and intentional living to get the most from your workout (Need a new workout? Choose from over 80 hours of on demand ideas with SweatFlix℠):

1. Sleep

Not getting enough sleep messes with your stress and hormone levels. Getting enough sleep might actually be one of the most important things you can do. When you don't get enough, growth hormones levels drop and muscle recovery becomes far more difficult. Lack of shut eye also changes the levels of leptin, ghrelin and cortisol, which can effect your appetite, blood sugar and metabolism. 7-9 hours a night is a good target. Naps are also a good idea. A 20 minute nap can help energy levels, keep all those hormones balanced and boost the effects of your workout.

2. Meditate

If you haven't yet adopted this practice, it is time to give it a go. It reduces stress and supports your wellness goals. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce psychological stresses like anxiety, depression and pain. It can also work physically to lower blood pressure, reduce joint inflammation, and improve skin. Set a timer, sit comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Look for a good teacher who can help you develop a practice that supports your aims.

3. Breathe

Breathing is something we all do and it is one of the most simple ways you can be mindful. Adding intention to your breathing can reduce stress and relieve a variety of other health troubles. It can help build muscle, decrease cortisol production, and improve anabolic response.

4. Laugh

Looking on the lighter side of things never hurt anyone! Laughing can help keep you healthy. It keeps hormone levels balanced and stable and helps relieve stress. Laughing can also increase your sense of well being, improve relationships and even make you smarter. Take a little time each day from something that gives you the giggles. It will help you reach your wellness goals and will just make you happier in general. Simple right? Simplify your life. Practice moments of stillness. If you can add these practices to your day, and you will not only see improvements in your workouts but improvements in your life! What do you do to be mindful in your day? Source: MindBodyGreen  

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