Overcoming Barriers to practice : Anxiety

– Feeling too anxious to practice –

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When we feel anxious, we tend to avoid doing certain things. Yoga, meditation and exercise can be one of them, even though there are so many benefits to practicing.

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Physical activity is known to help with reducing symptoms of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress

However, when we are struggling it can be difficult to engage in physical activity. Here are some tips and pointers to overcome those barriers and get moving to help with physical and mental wellbeing.

– Anxiety has a crippling effect on our motivation –

Stress, anxiety and depression are often reported as barriers to exercise. For those who have mental and physical health challenges, it is one of the driving factors, affecting 61% of people wishing to attend classes.

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Anxiety can have such an impact on our lives, people often disengage with day-to-day tasks and have challenges with exercise and joining classes. Yoga, Gentle Exercise and Meditation lessons have a myriad of benefits for those suffering with anxiety. For example, you can learn how to control your breathing and learn relaxation techniques which can be used on and off the mat. However, anxiety can be a barrier to us attending classes.

Some of the common anxieties around attending classes are feeling uncomfortable with being a beginner and worrying about what others in the class may think of their practice. The truth is, even the most experienced teachers are constantly learning and adapting their practice. Allow yourself the space to grow. People who come to yoga, gentle exercise and meditation classes share a common goal of improving their well-being.

– What are the common barriers associated with anxiety? –

– Low Energy & Low Mood –

Stress, lack of sleep and diet can cause us to feel anxious and contribute to feeling low on energy.

What can we do to help with low mood?

It is worth examining some of these things and addressing them to help lift our mood and energy.

  • Are you getting enough sleep at night?
    Spend some time before bed unwinding, have a nice relaxing bath. Read a book and ensure that there is no screen time before bed.
  • Are you eating too much sugar?
    Sugar can cause a whole host of problems for our mood, sugar spikes can cause highs in our mood, then when they wear off lows. To combat this, try to avoid having too much sugar in our diets. Perhaps, replacing sugar with healthy alternatives.
  • Are you eating healthily?
    We literally are what we eat. Our bodies build new cells from what we consume. Our bodies reactions and functions rely on vitamins and minerals gained from our diet. Ensure to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid processed foods where possible.
  • Are you setting aside time in your day to relax and enjoy some you-time?
    To reduce stress and anxiety within your life, set aside time for you. Do what sets your soul alight, or soothes the soul.
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– Anxiety around causing or making a pre-existing injury worse –

– Pain and discomfort –

Pain and discomfort can be a barrier to practicing and exercising. From back pain, to stiff joints – sometimes it can seem that exercising will make a pre-existing condition worse. Challenges with circulation and breathing can also make movement and exercise seem like it will be too difficult.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

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It is best to discuss exercise routines with a doctor or healthcare professional initially before starting a new routine. However, move it or lose it chair exercise classes and chair yoga classes are designed to be gentle on joints, done seated or standing. Another good way to get moving with exercise that is low impact is joining a local aqua-aerobics class.

The more you move, the more you are able to move…

It’s always beneficial to move the body in a safe way as much as we can. Starting out small and building up our routine is a wonderful way to do this. Break exercise down into small manageable chunks and work your way up to doing half an hour a day. Every movement and step counts.

A focus on losing weight can also help…

Being overweight can make pain in knees, back and legs worse. But, lose just 1lb and that would equate to a reduction of 4lb in knee joint pressure.

Getting more active can seem daunting, but find something you love doing and it won’t be a chore!

-Fear of injury –

Many people worry about injury and how it might affect their day-to-day life if they become injured or aggravate a pre-existing condition.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

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Again, check with your doctor before starting any new routine. However, with a gentle routine, the right instructor and the right equipment – you can get active in a safe and supported way! Exercise and physical activity often helps the rehabilitation process. Start slowly and build on your practice.

– Cognitive Decline –

Those who are experiencing challenges with memory, cognitive decline or dementia can still get many mental and physiical benefits from practice. Exercise and movement helps maintain healthy blood flow to the brain and helps the body produce new cells.  It helps with proprioception, keeping the mind active. It also helps with balance and hand-eye co-ordination.

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What can we do to overcome this barrier?

To overcome cognitive decline, we need to make exercise part of our daily routine. Mental hygiene is as important as physical hygiene and we should do things to stimulate our minds daily. Keeping exercises simple, such as walking, climbing stairs, or simple stretching can really help us maintain a simple daily routine. Joining a class locally or online can help you to learn the ropes and start to practice a daily routine at home.

– Feeling Isolated –

Many of us have been feeling isolated during lockdown. This has an effect on our motivation to practice. Most people are more likely to work-out with a friend, loved one or at a local class. If someone has lost someone close to them, or if their partner has mobility challenges, they are less likely to be motivated to stay active.

Walking alone can make people feel vulnerable, especially as darker nights set in. Isolation can also make people feel scared or shy of joining group classes.

What can we do to overcome this barrier?

There are lots of local classes that people can join both online and in person.
AMALAwellness – Teesside offers a range of classes to help people stay active and mobile. As well as aiding physical and mental well-being. The key is to find something that sets your soul alight, that you enjoy. That way, as well as joining a class doing something you enjoy, you will make new friends with similar outlooks and hobbies. Family and friends can be wonderful for helping you stay active. Tell them about your goals and maybe you can encourage them to be more active too, or join them in activities.

– Set Smart Goals –

Sometimes things can seem daunting, but setting smart small attainable daily goals can really help us improve both out physical and mental wellbeing.

Try setting a goal of walking so many steps a day, or for a set amount of time a day. Join a local gentle exercise class, then progress from there. Even small attainable goals like drinking more water can help us improve our health and work towards bigger goals.

Hopefully some of these pointers will help you to get more active during and after lockdown.

AMALAwellness specialize in gentle movement and exercise. Aimee is trained as a Move it or Lose it! fitness instructor. These classes are available both online and in person and Aimee can advise you on the best route to getting you active again!

We would love to hear from you, please get in touch if you would be interested in any of our classes.

Please subscribe to our blog for up-to date information on all our classes and advice on practice!

About The author:

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Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Barriers to Practice & Exercise…

Many of us experience barriers that affect our ability to practice Yoga, Meditation and Exercise. We can overcome them using these tips and pointers.

Often with our busy lives and schedules, we can feel like we don’t have time for practice. Sometimes, exercise can seem boring. However, if we look at and reflect on our potential barriers, we can find ways to make practice a priority. In this article, we will reflect on some potential barriers and how to overcome them, making our mental and physical wellbeing a priority and a healthy, sustainable daily routine.

1. Time

We often have a busy work schedule, on top of household chores, children to look after, errands to run and an array of other things we have to complete day-to-day. Sometimes fitting sleep in can seem like a challenge! This can be a barrier to our practice.

We need to create space for our practice and make time for exercise. We owe it to ourselves to have calm periods of time in every day, as well as times of the day where we move our bodies. Not only will we benefit, but others in our lives will too.

It is ESSENTIAL to create space to facilitate practice and exercise.

Facilitating time into our days and into our lives to switch off for our physical and mental wellbeing is really important.

Allow yourself some calming time, every day, with no phone, no laptop and no distractions. Just you, facilitating relaxation in your day.

How to overcome this?

1. Allow yourself some calming time, every day, with no phone, no laptop and no distractions. Just you, facilitating relaxation in your day. Perhaps, start to set aside half an hour a day for meditation.

Two people that come highly recommended include Jason Stephenson and Michael Sealey. These are good ways to initiate a regular meditation practice.

I would also recommend a meditation teacher called Burgs. Or perhaps, practice some gentle breathwork.

2. Reduce the amount of time you practice, so it doesn’t seem as daunting initially. Perhaps start off with 10-20 minutes, a few times a week. Then, you can gradually build up to longer sessions.

3. Are there things you could reduce, to make time for practice? Things such as spending time on the internet and watching TV can become time-consuming. Half an hour less a day can make time for practice and exercise.

4. Make a schedule and plan time within your week for the goals you wish to achieve.

2. Boredom

Sometimes, if we practice the same things practice can become monotonous and boring. try practicing a range of different styles that you enjoy and resonate with you. Practicing with friends, or finding a local class or a zoom class can help with this. Also, looking for local community classes can help you make friends with similar interests.

3. Weather

Outdoor exercise has many health benefits, but sometimes the weather can be a barrier to exercise. Find practices you can do from home to compliment your outdoor exercise routine.

4. Covid-19 , lockdowns and restrictions to classes and gyms.

Covid-19 has really affected our ability to go to regular classes, gyms leaving many feeling stuck or uninspired to practice. However, there are many wonderful classes available online now to see us through to the other side. Many may also choose to stay online for the ease of joining a community from their homes. So, if you feel lockdown is a barrier, it might be an idea to look into classes you can attend from home. I run classes VIA zoom, if you need assistance getting online, please contact me.

5. Stress and anxiety

Sometimes, feeling stressed and anxious can affect our motivation.
Yoga, meditation and exercise are a wonderful tool to help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety and help us heal from the effects.

Finding a way to practice, even when it feels really challenging, is really good for our physical and mental wellbeing.

6. Injury, illness and chronic conditions

When we injure ourselves, or have challenges to practice through illness, it can feel impossible to exercise. There are many classes to facilitate this, such as Chair Yoga or gentle exercise (Move It or Lose It!) classes. It is important to stay active. These gentle exercise classes are taught with those who have certain challenges in mind, making them accessible and adaptable, so that anyone can enjoy and get the physical and mental benefits from a class.

The more you move, the more you’re able to move.

Movement helps us stay independent and able to do day-to-day things, like shopping, housework etc.
Setting time aside on a daily basis to practice can help us stay active and even help the body to heal.

Hopefully some of these tips to overcoming barriers to practice will help you to find time within your day for Yoga, Meditation and Exercise.

What are your barriers to exercise? How do you overcome your barriers?
I’d love to hear from you!

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

Find AMALAwellness yoga and meditation classes in Teesside and online.