This time of year is all about resolutions… and then breaking them. I think it’s human nature. Really – can we be expected to leave ALL our bad habits behind with the dropping of a ball or a change of calendar? The fact is – if you made a health or fitness resolution for 2011, chances are you’ve already broken it. What I’m here to say is – that’s okay.
Rather than thinking of resolutions as a yearly affair, in which we create standards too high to live up to; I prefer to think on them as a sort of weekly, or even daily mantra.
“I will drink at least 2 liters of water today.”
“ I will do at least 3 workouts this week.”
“ I will cook healthful food at home this weekend.”
Whatever your goal or resolution, it’s best to break it down into manageable pieces. Breaking it down by time (days and weeks rather than years) and by method (more water every day rather than bigger goals like ‘eat healthy’) can really help us achieve those larger, loftier goals. After all – that’s what it's really all about isn’t it? Oh – and looking hot in that little red dress doesn’t hurt!
To help keep you on the path to hotness this year, here are a few of my favorite tips. Try to incorporate a new one every week to see real progress towards your health and fitness related goals:
1. Stretch in the morning. Stretching regularly helps keep you active and injury resistant. By getting in an early morning routine, you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you. It only takes a few minutes – try to incorporate a trunk extensor stretch, a hamstring stretch and a pelvic tilt.
2. Drink tea. Green or black teas are jammed with heart-healthy antioxidants that provide more than just caffeine. As well as contributing to healthier arteries, they may also help to prevent cancer.
3. Work out with a friend. Ask a friend to meet you at the gym when you want to shake things up a bit. You can share stories and encourage each other while walking on the treadmill. Your friend may also make it easier to approach unfamiliar gym equipment, as it’s easier to laugh off your mistakes when you have a trusted companion nearby.
4. Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket. That’s where you’ll find the fresh foods in most stores. Rather than wandering down every aisle and convincing yourself that you need those cookies or chips, just dip into the aisles to get the staples you need. Your shopping trip (and you) will be healthier for it.
5. Eat veggies like fruit. A handful of cherry tomatoes, a half a cucumber or a fresh carrot are as enjoyable to crunch on as a piece of fruit. A whole vegetable makes a terrific snack.
6. Count to 10. The Canada Food Guide tells us we need eight to ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day. This is easier to achieve than it sounds – just make sure to reach for fresh produce, dried fruits, and frozen or canned items during every meal. Have fruit with your morning coffee, put frozen berries in your mid-morning smoothie and sneak chopped up veggies into your spaghetti sauce. You’ll be happy you did!
7. Walk. Walk with a friend. Walk for entertainment– around your neighbourhood or through a beautiful park. Take your dog/spouse/child for a walk. Research has shown that a regular walking program is just as beneficial to your waist line as a running program. And, it is clearly documented that people are far more likely to stick with a walking, than a running program.
8. Clean with vinegar. Studies find that a 5 per cent solution of vinegar kills 99 per cent of bacteria, 82 per cent of mould and 80 per cent of viruses. It’s natural and safe for you and your children; unlike bleach which contains chemical compounds known to cause cancer in animals – among other serious health problems.
9. Go chores free. Once a week - order in, eat on paper plates or leave the dishes for tomorrow. Don’t look at the laundry and don’t you dare wipe down that counter! This is your night to enjoy being as lazy as you like. Don’t let anything – especially your own guilt – get in the way.
10. Go to bed early. Most of us are sleep deprived. So – every now and then, pretend you’re six years old, put on your pajamas, brush your teeth and get into bed at 8 p.m. Allow yourself to read a calming book for 30 minutes and then – lights out!
Happy 2011 everyone. Wishing you a great year!