R's Health & Lifestyle

Exercise Transforms Everything

While I was in college, I tried to prevent the “freshmen 15” by going to the gym more and more. Anything I could do to prevent my body from going backward, after years of hard work as a cheerleader in high school I couldn’t just let it all go to waste once college started. Even though I was an Exercise Science student and had regular lab days, I still went to the gym. But, also because a lot of my classmates were always going to the gym, I felt that I had to keep up and go as well (even if we just ran 2 miles, I’d go and work out again…)

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Senior year of high school as a cheerleader: me on the left, my cheer captain on right

Not the best of plans, but sometimes working out got rid of my extra stress and let me be in my own space for a while. I did this for about 2 years, with little knowledge of how to exercise correctly for my body type. I would wake up with my back so sore it hurt to bend forward when brushing my teeth in the morning. With the constant exercising, my body never got a rest day which led me to get sick pretty often and my energy was always depleted by the afternoon.

I came back home one summer and got back into gymnastics and stretching, and surprisingly my body started feeling much looser and leaner. Growing up I was a gymnast and dabbled in ballet for a while, so heavy weight lifting and intense running was not what my body was used to. And that summer I found that body-weight exercises were what my body liked and reacted best to. That little pouch of fat around my stomach started going away and my thighs were no longer rubbing against each other during the hot weather. Even my Grandma complemented my lean looking legs! (Which to me is a pretty big praise because you know grandmothers…they tend to share their honest opinion even if you don’t want it)

Going back to school that Fall, I took advantage of the classes our campus offered for free for students and started going to yoga, pilates, and foam rolling classes. And with a change in diet, slowing removing gluten and dairy, my acne cleared up like crazy, I was no longer having intense gut problems, my anxiety wasn’t acting up, and I was living a much more positive lifestyle.

From talking to friends and family, yoga isn’t something most people think of when they think exercise, but I love it! I’ve been doing yoga for 3 years now and I can honestly say that when I keep my yoga practice constant everything in my life is just better. Whether it’s going to a yoga class or setting up my tablet and watching my favorite yoga YouTuber Adriene keeping up my practice has helped my mental and physical health so much!

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If you are someone that has never tried yoga before, I suggest you try Adriene’s yoga practice on YouTube. First, because she has such a soothing voice and the best attitude towards yoga, second, because doing yoga in the comfort of your own home makes it very easy to ease into the practice, and lastly, because I love how she makes her videos, you don’t have to constantly look at the video. You can close your eyes and let her voice guide you through the practice. And if you are looking for something new to do, I suggest you try her 30 Days of Yoga. Some videos are 30 mins, some as little as 15 minutes, which I love since it keeps your body and mind in check.

This past month, my yoga practice has been strong and constant, giving me my own time and space to relax and just feel my body. Between job hunting and interviews, setting time aside for yoga has done wonders for everything! And even if you think yoga isn’t your thing, give it another try, or set time aside to find the exercise that works for you. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

Every day, Lai day! Have you ever used deep breathing techniques outside of yoga? I have!

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