A good sweat session may be your favorite daily ritual, but every now and again, a skipped workout is inevitable. To-do lists can overflow or the weather may grow unforgiving. Plus, an occasional physical and mental break is good for you.
Even fitness professionals skip a few workouts here and there (they're only human, after all). But there are some daily healthy rituals they like to follow even when a full-on workout isn't possible. Next time you find yourself skipping the gym, try one of these 10-minute rituals to feel well and stay healthy.
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1. Writing in a Journal
Whether she's able to hit the gym or not, D'Anette Stephens, certified personal trainer, loves to spend 10 minutes of every morning with a cup of coffee, overnight oats and a journal in hand.
When it comes to managing stress or anxiety, journaling is an excellent tool, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Journaling can also help you identify negative thoughts or behaviors, providing an opportunity and outlet for positive self-talk and goal setting.
"[Journaling] helps make the thoughts in your head more clear and concrete," Stephens says. "It helps you feel accomplished when you check or cross something off a list. It's freeing putting pen to paper."
She likes to keep two journals — one for prayers and diary entries and another for lists, goals and workout ideas. Though Stephens likes to spend some time with each journal every morning, a simple composition notebook will do the trick for those just starting out.
"Start with writing about your day or anything you faced that you wanted to address," she says. "Start by writing an introduction on what the journal means to you. It's your thoughts, your heart poured into one place. Be vulnerable with your journal and it will love you back."
2. Doing Stretches and Muscle Activation
When she's unable to do her regularly scheduled workout, Kirsty Godso, founder of Made Of Protein and Nike Master Trainer, prioritizes her list of micro-moments, (little daily tasks that have a macro-impact on her day). One of her top micro-moments is her daily stretch and muscle activation routine.
"I always take some time to stretch and glute and core activate," Godso says. "It might only be 10 minutes, but [this practice is] a positive signal to my body that I'm showing up for it and, as we know, the body loves routine, so keeping those small moments consistent can often have a bigger impact than crushing a big workout every other day."
3. Being Still and Grounded
Whether he has a day full of Zoom meetings to attend, back-to-back workout classes to teach or endless errands to run, Maillard Howell sets aside 10 minutes every day (preferably the morning) to be still and grounded.
Cup of coffee or tea in hand, Howell spends 10 minutes each morning barefoot in his grassy backyard. Howell uses this time to prioritize his mental health, focus on his breath and be a little footloose and fancy-free.
"These rituals seem to take my mind off the daily grind, the tasks, the goals, etc.," Howell says. "It helps me focus on just existing and breathing without an agenda. Sometimes agendas bring a lot of pressure. [This ritual] helps me connect with my natural being, almost childlike."
Howell recommends intentionally scheduling time each day to mentally unwind and focus on your breathing. You can even enter this 10-minute session into your calendar so that it doesn't get pushed back by your other tasks for the the day. Howell also loves to take additional 10-minute mental-clearing breaks between Zoom meetings.
4. Prioritizing Digestive Health
When she can't make it to the gym, Carolina Araujo, certified personal trainer, likes to make her digestive health a top priority. She starts her day with a cold kombucha before she puts any food in her stomach.
A fermented, fizzy tea, kombucha is best known for its probiotic content, which can help enhance gut health and may improve digestion, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
"I personally love it," Araujo says. "I always drink an organic variety with ginger added and I feel like it definitely gives me a little kick start in the morning."
Keep an eye on the nutrition label, though, as store-bought kombucha teas can be high in added sugar. As a good rule of thumb, look for a brand that adds no more than 5 grams of sugar, per Harvard Health Publishing.