What It Really Means to Exercise the Mind, Body, and Spirit—and Why It Matters
Eat well. Meditate. Exercise. Get a good night’s sleep. We know what we’re supposed to do in the name of physical and mental health, but doing it on a consistent basis in the midst of a busy life is another story. But now, thanks to a newly holistic approach from exercise and nutrition professionals, women are committing and connecting to their routines in a whole new way. “When you’re strength-training and moving well, your body composition changes,” says Jason Walsh, a Los Angeles–based celebrity trainer who works with Alison Brie for the Netflix series GLOW. He stresses that the goal for her is not just to be physically competent for her role as a pro wrestler (though “pound for pound, she’s one of the strongest girls in the gym”) but confident. “Strength doesn’t always mean bulk and muscle and heavy weights,” Walsh says.
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His training philosophy—which focuses as much on mental clarity and overall well-being as it does on physical toughness and fortitude—is now being echoed across the country in a slew of in-demand workouts. Taryn Toomey’s cult workout the Class, favored by fashion folk on both coasts, holds an intensive 10-day seasonal cleanse called the Layer, which combines her stress-relieving, mountain-climber–heavy classes with an anti-inflammatory ayurvedic diet and mindfulness training. Fitness stars like AKT’s Anna Kaiser and Tracy Anderson also offer healthy-lifestyle retreats to complement their gym workouts, and SoulCycle’s new offshoot, SoulAnnex, emphasizes yoga and meditation as well as cardio.
“Think of it as physical integrity: the ability to handle everything life throws at you.”
These days, fitness pros aren’t the only experts advocating hyper-specialized exercise routines. Nutritionist Brooke Alpert wrote The Diet Detox to help women get off the yo-yo-diet train for good, but her suggested plan also includes 10 workouts designed by the pros at New York studio Fhitting Room, which focuses on HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. “There is a tremendous amount of research showing that HIIT workouts are helpful in controlling blood sugar,” says Alpert, who relied on the exercise regimen after the birth of her second daughter.
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“I was obsessed with losing the weight, but because the workouts are so focused on strength, reps, and goals, my mind shifted and I started to focus more on what my body could do. The better I got at achieving the goals set by the trainers, the better I felt, and eventually the scale started to agree as well.” The new book How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life, by Frank Lipman, M.D., stresses the importance of building strength as well. “Think of [it] as physical integrity: the ability to handle everything life throws at you,” Lipman writes. For those who aren’t ready to commit to a strengthening routine, he suggests a “lazy, loaded walk”: a daily 45- to 60-minute walk while wearing a weighted, close-fitting vest (you can find them on Amazon). “It cues the entire trunk to ‘fire up’ and hold you up straight,”which can help improve your posture over time.
“Aging is not preventable, but we can live longer and healthier lives.”
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This summer, Six Senses Kaplankaya resort in Bodrum, Turkey, will offer an even more immersive wellness experience. The new three- and five-day Anti-Aging programs, developed with the California-based neuroscientist Claudia Aguirre, are meant to hit the reset button on clients’ daily habits, from diet to sleep to exercise and skin care. “Aging is not preventable, but we can live longer and healthier lives,” Aguirre says, adding that while societal concepts of beauty change over time, our brains have an innate response to beauty that goes back thousands of years.
She wants to help people to redefine beauty for themselves, which can mean everything from shifting thoughts on body image to learning how to eat more healthfully over a long period of time. In order to “improve their sense of beauty from within,” each person is put on a specialized program targeted to his or her needs. They all begin with a “mind cleanse,” which is designed to break up negative thought patterns; a skin cleanse, with manual cleansing followed by a galvanic-current facial; a food cleanse, which may consist of a one-day semiliquid diet of detox teas, bone broths, or smoothies; and a fitness cleanse, in the form of a hike to reconnect with nature.
“Just ask yourself, upon waking, ‘How can I move more today?'”
Aguirre, like most of the experts we consulted, believes that even small lifestyle changes, like taking a walk in a park once a day, can make a big difference in our long-term wellness. As Lipman writes, “Just ask yourself, upon waking, ‘How can I move more today?’”
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Lead image: Max Mara swimsuit; Model: Hana Jirickova; Hair: Ali Pirzadeh for Oribe; Makeup: Wendy Rowe for Burberry Beauty; Manicure: Whitney Gibson for Tom Ford; Local Production: Paul Preiss at Preiss Creative; Set Design: Evan Jourden.
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