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Holistic Approaches to Weight Loss

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The important role of the mind has been largely neglected in popular fitness and weight loss endeavors. This has led to a renewed interest in the integration of the mind into regular physical fitness activities and weight loss programs.

 

These holistic approaches to weight loss and exercise appeals to diverse people with different fitness levels and is appropriate in various life situations. The main aim is often to promote stress management and aid in the release of tension and discomfort caused by modern lifestyles.

 

Holistic Approaches to Weight Loss

To achieve the mind-body connection various traditional as well as innovative new exercise and weight loss programs have gained in popularity in recent times. Many of these programs are based on both modern fitness and diet methods and traditional disciplines and draw their inspiration from the following mind-body techniques and methods, scientific approaches and holistic approaches to weight loss:

  • Exercise - Physical exercise of any type aids in stress release. Regular participation in exercise activities provides a natural way to release accumulated tension in the body and it also leads to an automatic state of relaxation that naturally follows after a good workout. Stretching, especially, is a natural stress reliever. Properly stretching the muscles has numerous benefits, among them the achievement of a relaxed and peaceful state of mind.
  • Yoga - Although it has taken many years for this ancient art form to be recognised world-wide, recently much attention has been given to Yoga due to its various health and fitness benefits. Yoga is believed to be one of the most effective and wholesome forms of exercise, not only for the body but also for the relaxation of mind.
  • The Pilates Method - A popular mind-body conditioning method developed by Joseph Pilates. It combines Eastern and Western philosophies of physical and mental development and aims to promote neuro-muscular harmony, balance and co-ordination, while increasing strength and flexibility. The mostly full range of motion exercises can be done with or without special equipment and each movement is executed according to six basic principles: control, concentration, centering, focus, precision and breathing. The particpant is encouraged to master the mind in order to gain complete control over the body.
  • Meditation - Meditation has been practised by people in religious contexts for thousands of years, but it has also gained much scientific evidence in modern times. Unlike hypnosis, which is more of a passive experience, meditation is considered to be an active process in which the participant is mentally alert, while physically relaxed and the body passive. This mind-focusing technique is particularly useful in managing stress, as well as after physical activity.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - This field of practice attempts to change negative thought patterns and dysfunctional attitudes in order to promote healthy and well-adjusted thoughts, emotions, and actions. This form of therapy usually has four basic components: education, learning new skills, rehearsal, and generalisation and maintenance. Relaxation techniques are frequently included as a behavioural skills component.

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