You don’t have to run 26.2 miles to get fit— make small changes each day and you will find that you are living your best life yet. A healthy body is a happy body.
Here are 26.2 things in NO particular order that you can do to get more fit and healthy this year!
1. Make a goal, not a resolution.
Resolutions like get fit, go to the gym every day, eat only good food – rarely last longer than a month or two. Make a goal that you can achieve and set out a plan of how you are going to do it. Want to lose 10 pounds? Set a schedule of how to lose one pound every two weeks and go about working towards that goal.
2. Don’t diet – make life style changes.
Diets rarely last, but lifestyle changes do. Don’t starve yourself to lose weight – change what you eat to get lasting results.
3. Drink more water.
The body often mistakes hunger for thirst. Next time you feel hungry in between a meal, drink a glass of water first, and then ask yourself if you are still hungry.
4. Find a parking spot far away.
Don’t search for the closest parking spot when you go to the store, find one farther away. Walking an extra ½ mile each day adds up to 185+ miles each year.
5. Take the stairs.
For some it’s not always easy to find stairs – make do with what you have. If you are at the mall and there is an escalator – get on it and walk up even though you could just stand still.
6. Shop the outside of the grocery store first.
The outside isles of the grocery store usually house the freshest, non-processed food. Only venture into the middle aisles if there is something specific you need. Remember fruits and eggs for breakfast are better than a processed pop-tart.
7. Eat whole foods.
Eat foods as close to their natural form as possible. Like applesauce – find one that is just apples, with no added sugar. Ask yourself if the food you are eating is in its natural form or does it have a bunch of other things added to it.
Quinoa is a complete protein source and is gluten free.
9. Go to the grocery store more often.
You don’t need to spend more money at the grocery store, just go more often. Foods in their whole state like fruits and vegetables go bad quicker than foods that are shelf stable for years. Instead of wasting money on food that you might not eat in time, buy a little at a time, and go back for more when you have finished eating it. Wasting less will make you feel better about eating healthy.
10. Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
Not only does eating breakfast kick start your metabolism each morning, but it sets the tone for the whole day. Eat sticky buns for breakfast and you are more likely to eat junk the rest of the day. Eat a banana smoothie with chia seeds in it and you are more likely to make better, healthier decisions throughout the day.
There are over 7,500 different types of apples, which means there is bound to be one variety that you enjoy eating. When hungry in between meals, instead of reaching for a low-fat processed snack, eat an apple and drink a glass of water.
Dance. Walk. Run. Skip. You name it – just move. Moving more and sitting less means that we burn more calories throughout the day, it also means that you use your body. When it comes to staying or getting fit – it’s a use it or lose it scenario. Whenever you can, try to incorporate moving into what you are doing. Drying your hair – do air squats. Playing with your kids, turn it into a dance party. Going out to get the mail – do a quick little sprint to the mailbox.
13. Instead of going to a local bar with your girlfriends or for a guy’s night out – do something active together.
Make plans to meet friends on a Saturday morning for a run. Running with friends makes you more accountable – meaning you will actually show up. Friends can also help push your farther and faster with a little friendly competition.
Having a goal to work towards also helps you stay accountable. Sign up for a distance that is challenging for you personally but not one that will break you and make you give up. If you have only ever run a 5K – sign up for a 10 miler – don’t jump to the marathon distance. Baby steps will get you some where faster than taking giant steps and getting injured.
15. If you already consider yourself a runner, mix up your routine.
The human body quickly adapts to whatever it is doing. In order to keep burning more calories and making fitness gains you want to keep it guessing. Don’t do the same routine week after week and expect great results. Move out of your comfort zone and try a tempo, a track workout, a fartlek, or mile repeats.
16. Don’t get down on yourself.
If you eat too much – workout too little, don’t chastise yourself and give up. We don’t need a new year or even a new day to start right now making changes. Each and every moment during a day is a chance for you to decide from this moment on to make better choices.
17. Cardio junkie? Lift weights.
Most women are worried lifting weights will bulk you up – this isn’t true. Lifting weights will increase your lean muscle mass thus helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
18. Beat boredom by signing up for a class at your local gym or YMCA.
No one said you had to be a runner to work out and get fit. Find a form of exercise that you like.
There are always excuses why you can’t work out. No sitter? Trade babysitting with a friend. Too tired – remind yourself you GET to work out – you don’t HAVE to.
20. Work your abs all day.
Sitting in traffic and your abs come to mind. Tense them and hold. Repeat as many times as you would like. Throughout the day repeat this whenever you think about it. Visualize your abs getting stronger and they likely will.
21. Stand tall.
Over time our bodies start to naturally slump over. Focus on standing tall throughout the day to help improve your posture. Standing tall also helps open up your lungs when you are running making it easier to breathe.
22. Meal plan.
Meal planning isn’t just about saving money it’s about making sure that you have a healthy dinner ready to go for when you get home from work. It’s easy when you are tired to dial up your local pizza joint and even easier to overeat when you feel those feel good chemicals from the cheese and carbs take over your willpower.
23. Make an effort to eliminate stress.
The hormone cortisol that is released in your body when you are stressed also contributes to weight gain. Emails stressing you out – unsubscribe from every email that isn’t from a real person as it comes in.
24. Choose your friends wisely.
You know that friend that is loads of fun – who always convinces you to have more than you should to drink and keeps you out till 4am, only to then suggest you pick up take out on the way home and eat it at 5am. Not the best person to be hanging out with if you want to get fitter and feel better. Find a friend who has the same life goals that you do and encourage each other to stay on track. Don’t have a friend like that? Make one. It’s never too late to try to find someone who will lift you up rather than bring you down.
25. Work standing up.
This one isn’t for the faint of heart BUT if you sit on your bum all day in front of a computer consider raising your desk and working standing up for a couple of hours.
26. BELIEVE in yourself.
If you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to? What the mind believes the body can achieve. Set a goal and tell yourself it is possible – it’s not whether you will achieve your goal it is a matter of when.
26.2 DREAM BIG.
Dream about the body and life you want and go after it – step by step, day by day. Focus on the small picture, bit by bit; before you know it you will have achieved your dream!
How do you plan to get fit this year? What is a tip you would give for someone who wants to make this their healthiest year yet?
This is a guest post by Dorothy Beal.
Dorothy is a runner, published writer, certified running coach, and mother of three; proof positive that with hard work anyone can lose weight, get in shape and become a runner. She has completed 18 marathons with her slowest being a 4:56 and her fastest a 3:13:14 at the Columbus Marathon 2011. She blogs at Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal and can be found on Twitter @mileposts.