In this month’s Fit Tip, our contributor Jen reminds us how important it is to clear our mind of all the stuff that fills our days as parents–juggling kids, school, shopping, cooking, home, and work. Since my mind tends to wander more when I try to sit still and relax, I like the “Progressive Relaxation” technique she recommends because it forces me to concentrate on relaxing each part of my body one by one–which prevents me from thinking about what didn’t get done that day or what I am making for dinner.
Here is what Jen has to say: â€¨Taking a few moments to clear your mind does wonders for your overall health. Whether you choose to meditate or prefer a different method of relaxation, this time will allow you to think more clearly, sleep better, and be more productive throughout your day.
In addition, practicing relaxation techniques can improve how you respond physically to stress by slowing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing your breathing rate, reducing your body’s need for oxygen, increasing blood flow to major muscle groups, and reducing muscle tension.
In terms of overall health and lifestyle, relaxation techniques can reduce physical symptoms such as headaches and less back pain, as well as emotional responses such as anger and frustration. You stand to benefit from increased energy, improved concentration, a greater ability to handle problems, and more efficiency in daily activities. What parent doesn’t need this?
One relaxation technique that works for many people is called Progressive Relaxation (it’s helpful to tape the instructions before starting your practice). Read how this method works and about other techniques that help quiet the mind and relax the body on the University of Maryland’s website.
Contributed by Jen Morin, Pilates/Corporate Fitness Director at EVOLUTION bodywork & nutrition in Bristol.