Holistic has become a buzz-worthy and trending word. Everything is holistic. From cosmetics, food, homes, cleaning products, facials, and now fitness. Before you roll your eyes and count me as another one of those people that hop on a trend because it’s cool or hip allow me an opportunity to redeem myself. I want to show you how and why creating a holistic approach to your fitness is integral to your overall health and well-being.
What the Heck is Holistic Anyway?
Holistic isn’t a new concept it’s been around since 1926 when Gen. J.C. Smuts created this word to describe the theory of holism where nature was considered to be consisting of wholes that were interconnected. (1) The definition of this word has been adapted to fit a variety of different areas. Yet, the general idea is the same. A holistic approach involves the belief that all things are connected and in order to fix one part you must, in essence, treat the root issue while simultaneously addressing the other areas that have become out of balance. This moves us into the foundation of modern holistic medicine, and holistic wellness. The idea is to address the body on a physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional level. To achieve well-balanced health all of these things must be in harmony.
Now, let me explain my approach to holistic wellness and what it means for me. For me, I have found that to achieve optimal balanced health you must address all key levels of health and wellness which include nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, and creating good wellness habits. Following this approach allows you to improve your health and achieve a relatively balanced foundation of health. This leads me to why exercise is an important part of holistic health.
Why Exercise Matters for Overall Well-Being
There is no part of the body that exercise doesn’t have an effect on. Various studies show that exercise can improve mental health and is key in helping those with depression. Exercise is also beneficial for improving mood and general outlook by affecting the emotions. Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits associated with exercise are the changes that take place within the body on a physiological level. From altering body composition to improving the body’s insulin sensitivity, as well as improving muscle coordination and stability. There are so many benefits associated with regular exercise. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even have to be anything spectacular. Following a simple routine such as participating in strength training 2 times per week, and cardio 30 minutes every day is beneficial for weight management as well as general health. (2)
Creating A Holistic Approach to Fitness
When it comes to holistic fitness the focus is placed on taking an integrated approach to health and well-being through movement and exercise selection. Exercises are chosen depending upon what your body needs at that particular time. For example, if you are working to improve digestive health chances are you are going to be following a specialty diet that focuses on healing the digestive system and rebuilding the gut flora. Making modifications to your lifestyle including what types of exercises you are doing when you’re in the gym can greatly increase your body’s ability to heal the digestive system and rebuild healthy gut flora. It is important to note that there are specific forms of exercise that can contribute to increasing and helping rebuild the gut flora when done on a consistent and regular basis. (3) The same could be said for a variety of other health conditions and specific health needs. Nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle work cohesively to achieve a common goal. Which in this case would be digestive health.
As you can see this type of approach is great for those that are working on specific health and wellness goals or that are actively trying to improve their health due to chronic illness or an autoimmune disease. It can also be utilized for those that are seeking to focus on general health and well-being and want to bring more purpose and meaning to their workout sessions as well as their overall healthy lifestyle. Working with a coach or trainer that focuses not just on what you’re doing in the gym but also what needs to occur outside the gym in order for you to achieve these goals is an integral part of the process.
What Holistic Exercise Looks Like
Now, I’m pretty sure you’re convinced that I’m going to list yoga or pilates as a form of holistic exercise. But I’m not. While both of these forms of exercise are great and have tons of benefits. It’s not the backbone of holistic fitness. In all honesty, there is no set exercise regimen or approach that is the one and true way to achieve a holistic fitness regimen. Anyone that tells you otherwise is secretly pushing their own agenda. The beauty of holistic fitness is that it offers each person individuality. What might be right for one person is probably going to be all wrong for the next person. Since we all have our own unique needs that are determined by our body, gender, age, genetic makeup and preferences it would be quite difficult to find a one size fits all approach to holistic fitness.
In general holistic fitness focuses on the basics which are implementing basic movement through cardio and resistance training to encourage a balanced and healthy body. Sticking to a general fitness regimen where you are following a resistance based workout a minimum of 2 times per week and spending at least 30-45 minutes on cardio 4 times a week while maintaining an active lifestyle is enough to start with. You can make changes and adjust as needed.
While it is tempting to get caught up in the latest fitness craze or wanting to achieve and do what everyone else is doing on social media. Going with the popular consensus isn’t always the best idea. Failing to take into account your current state of health, lifestyle, nutrition, as well as overall health goals can lead you following a trend that isn’t truly designed for where you are in current health journey. So, before embarking on your holistic fitness journey take note of your current health, and lifestyle needs. Perhaps you are moving forward on the path to fertility or you are looking to heal your PCOS symptoms. These are important factors to consider and shouldn’t be overlooked. Remember you want to work with your body and not against your body.
Wellness Habits To Implement
There are healthy habits that you can create that support holistic fitness and will support a holistic lifestyle.
Implementing a holistic approach to nutrition works hand in hand with holistic fitness. You will be implementing nutritional changes that will support an overall goal such as increasing fertility, managing PCOS symptoms or improving gut health. Your nutrition plays a major role in supporting the work you’re doing in the gym. You will also learn more about becoming more conscious of what you’re eating and how it affects your body. As well as why it’s important to make sure you’re following a diet that is full of whole, minimally processed foods.
Becoming more in tune with your body and practicing the art of intuitive eating will help you learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food while becoming more skilled at mindful eating and learning when to identify true authentic hunger and when you’re not hungry. This can help with emotional eating as well as issues with disordered eating.
Keeping a wellness journal where you track and log important processes that occur within your body can alert you to changes in your body and let you know if something is working or if something is not working. Ideas for things to track in your wellness journal are:
- Fertility- Using the fertility awareness method to track your fertility and chart your cycles can indeed let you know more about your overall health and well-being
- Bowel Movements- the quality and frequency of your bowel movements are also a good indicator of your health.
- Food Log- keeping track of what you eat and how it affects your body can clue you into food intolerances, and food sensitivities.
- Personal Care Products- Tracking personal care products and how they affect you by what particular reactions they cause within your body can help you identify potential ingredients that don’t work well for you and cause adverse reactions.
- Supplements- Know what supplements you’re taking and keep track of how they affect you.
Annual Check-Ups and Doctor Visits
Having regularly scheduled check-ups and visiting with your doctor can be helpful in you identifying health issues or complications before they arise. This also allows you to track and monitor any current and pre-existing health conditions or issues so that proper adjustments and modifications can be made if and when necessary.
Things to Keep In Mind
While holistic health and fitness may be popular and trendy. It is one trend that you can implement into your daily lifestyle to improve your health and well-being utilizing simple, and easy to implement modifications to your lifestyle. That focus on addressing your specific and unique health needs and creating a suitable exercise regimen that supports those health and goals.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Kathleen but you can call me Kat. I am an Anti-Aging Coach and I am super passionate about empowering women. I encourage women like you to take charge of their feminine health and anti-aging wellness. You can accomplish this holistically and naturally by creating healthy habits with your nutrition, fitness, wellness, and beauty. I create awareness and provide educational content here on my blog, as well as Â YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
My intention is to provide you with education and awareness about women’s health, nutrition, fitness, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle. I primarily help women that are seeking holistic and natural solutions to common feminine health and wellness issues. From infertility to inflammatory acne, from endometriosis to minimalism.Â I aim to arm you with the tools necessary to speak up and speak out about your issues until you get the answers and solutions you need. If you want to learn more about how you can redefine your health click here and schedule a FREE Discovery session with me and get empowered!