I know what you are thinking: it’s cold outside, it gets dark early, and that all makes it difficult to be active, eat nutritious and try to stay fit and healthy during these long winter months. That is why I want to take this opportunity to revitalize your desire to be well with some easy tips to keep you going through these harsh winter months. Doing so will not only keep you in a better mood, but it will keep your immune system functioning at high speed, helping to prevent you from getting sick.
First, remember it’s not just being active and it’s not just eating right; both are important in combination with each other.
For fitness, if joining the gym is in your budget and motivates you to exercise on a regular basis, that is awesome. Bring your friend or spouse along to keep it fun and to keep you committed. It’s warm indoors, plus it’s an opportunity to get out of the house and around others who share your passion for fitness and health. There are usually fun classes offered to mix it up or you can use the equipment.
Keep in mind even just walking or biking is excellent exercise; even if just for 20 minutes, it really is better than nothing. Don’t forget your iPod with your favorite music! That is sure to amp up your energy level! If you are still struggling like I am, and I am really struggling with this one personally because I don’t have the motivation myself, I will definitely be recruiting one of my friends. When I lived with my cousin, we would go to the gym every night, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I honestly looked forward to it. It was a way to unwind and have some girl time. We would walk alongside each other or ride bikes and just chat about our day and before you know it, there went an hour. Try to spend your time doing “mindless” exercise… rather than “mindless” eating. It doesn’t have to be “typical” ways of working out at the gym, either. What about playing tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, or swimming at your gym? Sometimes all it takes is getting a new workout outfit, or new gym shoes, or even just a fun water bottle or gym bag!
Okay maybe the gym isn’t your thing, then be active in other ways. This is where the “living an active lifestyle” comes in. These are all the tips, such as: taking the stairs, parking father away from the building, walking some extra laps around the mall when running errands, or having a family outing at the bowling alley or the roller-skating place instead of going out to eat.
Or how about embracing the winter and playing winter sports such as skiing, sledding, ice skating, hockey, or snowshoeing?
Maybe you feel like staying in the house. Okay then, how about lifting soup cans, doing sit ups and pushups during commercials, or putting in a workout DVD? How about jump roping in your living room or buying a treadmill and setting it in front of the TV? O you can play an active Wii game with your kids! Guess what? Cleaning your house is even considered a form of activity! Did you know you can burn nearly 200 calories in an hour?!
Now for the eating right part…
First and foremost, don’t engage in another one of those fad diets. Just eat real food. Here are some basics to healthy eating:
- Eat enough fruits and vegetables – at least one of each with every meal – and add more at snacks! Remember, all forms count: Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice.
- Consume healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, Smude’s sunflower oil, and nuts and seeds.
- Incorporate lean proteins. But don’t OD on the protein part. The average adult really only needs about 50 grams per day.
- Substitute refined grains for whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal, to name a few.
- Limit added sugars to 25 grams per day; this does NOT include whole fruits or 100% juice. However, this does include honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and raw cane sugar.
- Reduce sodium intake to 2300mg/day.
- Be aware of your portions.
Keeping track of your progress really seems to work for a lot of people. It makes them aware of their daily needs, they can make goals based on that, and then track their progress. If you start to track, be sure to reward yourself when you reach those goals.
Good luck! Please reach out anytime you have a question or would like to learn more. I always offer grocery tours; it’s a perfect environment to learn, hands on, more in depth about healthy eating.
Be sure to pick up a few of these tips from each category and you will be on the track to better overall health and wellness.
Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Dietitian
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