by Alice Lucette
Who says the road to a fitter, healthier you must be painful? Experts tell us that with a positive attitude and a few small (some of these are even fun!) lifestyle changes, we can put momentum into our fitness routine, improve our health and even enhance our sense of well-being.
We’ve scoured the fitness and health pages and have come up with seven small, easy life-changing habits that have big benefits!
Make your a.m. coffee at home
If your morning routine includes a daily trip to the coffee shop, try brewing it at home instead! Set the coffeemaker to start automatically a few minutes before your alarm — then wake up to the smell of fresh coffee from your own kitchen. Not only will you save dollars that quickly add up, you’ll also avoid those irresistible, high-calorie sweet treats.
Sleep in your Yoga pants
This one sounded crazy until I thought about how a t-shirt and yoga pants double nicely as jogging gear and pajamas! Just hop out of bed in the morning and you’re nearly ready to head out the door — the time you save searching for workout clothes means less time to change your mind!
Wear a pedometer
Personal trainer Helena Collins of Boston, MA refers to the pedometer as the world’s most effective fitness tool! Why? Because not only is it super-affordable, when you see how many steps you take in a day you’ll be motivated to move even more. Get one for your spouse or grandkids and challenge each other — soon you’ll all be stepping up your fitness by at least a notch!
Use a smaller dinner plate
In a study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, author Brian Wansink writes that we are likely to serve ourselves 22 percent fewer calories when we use a 10-inch plate rather than a 12-inch dinner plate. Try filling at least half your plate with fruits and veggies instead of the higher calorie foods, the fiber will keep you feeling satisfied longer.
A dunk in the pool will cool you off in summer and get you warmed up in a chilly Canadian winter. We’re buoyant and therefore lighter in the water, and it’s providing resistance to our every move. An aerobic workout is easier in the water plus we’re strengthening and toning our muscles including the heart. The American Heart Association reports that with 30 minutes of daily exercise such as swimming, we can lower our risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent!
Eat at 2 to 3 hour intervals
You read that right! Eating smaller more frequent meals each day will keep you satisfied and help you resist the urge to binge at dinnertime or worse yet, late in the evening. The trick is to eat healthy balanced meals and snacks — the body will know to burn the calories you’re regularly consuming rather than going into ‘survival’ mode. Your metabolism will level out and you’ll have the energy to get through the day — while feeling good about it!
Tell yourself you’re awesome — and focus on what your amazing body does for you. Stacey Rosenfeld, Psychologist and PhD practicing in New York and California tells us that the best thing we can do for ourselves is learn to marvel at the body and it’s abilities. Rather than focusing on how we look, think about all that our bodies do for us daily. Stand in front of the mirror and remind yourself of 10 things you like about you! Our bodies allow us to dance and swim, to play with our grandkids and hike with our friends. The key is to feel confident in our abilities and in ourselves.