by Rebecca Alwine
Depending on where you currently call home, winter may be well in the past or still very much a part of your life. As you look ahead to Spring and think of all the plans you have, you may want to take a look at what’s in your kitchen and what’s on your schedule.
When the days start to get longer, you may find your energy starts to kick it up a notch. Take advantage of this feeling with some exercise tips that are easy to incorporate into your busy lifestyle.
1 Make the decision to do a little more.
Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator and park as far from the door as possible. Start small. Park a row or two beyond where you normally would and increase it gradually. Or walk up one flight of stairs and then take the elevator. Decisions like these help you move more each day, even in small bursts, which can help boost your metabolism.
2 Drink more water.
Yes, everyone says this, all the time. Like it is some magical prescription for a healthier life. Well, that’s because it is. Drinking enough water does a few things. First of all, it requires you to get up more frequently throughout the day for bathroom breaks, thus adding short bursts of exercise throughout the day. Being well hydrated can also reduce the feeling of being hungry, limiting the number of times you snack Finally, water has no calories and no added sugar. Once you kick the soda, sweet tea, or juice habit, you’ll be consuming fewer calories daily.
3 Use a pedometer.
There are so many varieties of pedometers, ranging from simple ones that just count your steps and display them on the device to FitBits and Garmins. The beauty of tracking your steps is that you can make a challenge of it. FitBit encourages weekly and daily group challenges as well as personal step goals. For those who have even the slightest competitive nature, a pedometer can really help increase activity. While there is no set recommended step goal for people, the general goal is to move more than you did last week.
4 Add vegetables.
Vegetable can be a quick addition to any meal. Steamed broccoli takes just a few minutes in the microwave or stovetop and pairs well with meals ranging from hamburgers to a casserole. Shred some carrots and zucchini and add it to your spaghetti sauce. Substitute half the white potatoes for butternut squash in your next pot roast. The possibilities are endless.
5 Meatless Meals.
Try a meatless meal once a week. This can not only help you eat healthy, but can help reduce your grocery budget. Salads don’t have to be boring. You could even strain leftover soup and put it on a bed of spinach. If you’re worried about protein, look at all the other foods that have protein sources in them: eggs, hummus, quinoa, spinach, and beans. Work this into your meal planning and you’ll be glad for the extra variety.
6 Prepare in advance.
There is nothing more frustrating than planning a healthy meal and then having life get in the way. With meetings, school pickup, volunteer commitments, and a family, something can always go wrong. Preparing meals and snacks in advance will help eliminate those last minute trips through the drive thru. Double batches of easy meals when you cook them and freeze the second half. Put leftovers directly into containers easy to grab for lunch the next day. Hard-boil some eggs, cut and wash veggies, and make trail mix on the weekends for easy-to-grab snacks throughout the week.
Consciously making just one new change a week will help you on your path to fitness. There are so many great programs and tools, but the implementation starts with you. Pick something to start today and help your family start on a path to fitness that you can enjoy year-round.