Here is a quick leg workout you can do anywhere. Start out with 8 repetitions of each move and increase the number of reps after a few weeks or as soon as you don't feel the last rep of each exercise is challenging.
Squat - Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, turned slightly outward. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Try to prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals engaged and try to keep your back flat (do not tuck the tail or arch the low back). Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Keep the knees aligned with the second toe and body weight evenly distributed between the balls and heels of both feet. Exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels.
Reverse Lunge - With the feet about hip-width apart, slowly step backwards with the left leg. After the left foot hits the ground push back into the right hip to slowly lower the left knee towards the floor while keeping the chest raised towards the ceiling. Press the right foot into the ground and think about pulling the right knee backwards while swinging the left leg forward to return to standing.
Sumo Squat - Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders, toes are pointed outward about 45 degrees. Lower your upper body, with abs engaged and a flat back, bending your knees.
Standing Side Leg Lifts - Stand with your abs engaged and transfer your weight to your right leg (keep knee soft) then lift your left leg out to the side as high as possible. Slowly return to the starting position. Complete the desired number of repetitions, then repeat the exercise with your right leg.
Maybe you don't need to lose weight so you don't workout. Or maybe you are thinking of stopping exercising because you aren't seeing the weight loss you desire. I have even heard of people that stop working out once they drop the extra pounds. But working out is essential for your health in many ways, it isn't just to lose weight!
Here are just a few important benefits of regular exercise:
Reduces the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems - read more here
Boosts memory and keeps your brain sharp - read more here
Helps ease depression and anxiety - read more here
Reduces inflammation in the body - read more here
Reduces blood pressure - read more here
Improves sleep quality - read more here
Increases your life span - read more here
These are just a few things that could happen if you workout regularly. Any of these sound good?
HealthyOut - It can be difficult to know the healthier choices when eating out. This app lets you search through many restaurant menus by type like heart healthy, gluten free etc. It will show the nutrition info for many restaurant meals.
MyFitnessPal - I recommend MyFitnessPal for any of my clients who are looking to lose weight. It is an easy way to keep a food journal and calculates how many calories you are taking in. It also will tell you how many calories you need daily to stay at your weight or to lose weight. Track your exercise here too! You can even link it to your Fitbit.
Fooducate - New to reading food labels? This app lets you scan packaged foods and gives them a letter grade. You will get nutritional information about the item broken down into the good and bad. Their website also has great information.
Healthy Habits - Starting something new and getting it to become a habit is hard! There are a few apps out there where you can select your new habit (i.e. drinking more water, eating more vegetables, exercising, getting more sleep) and track the activity in the app. You can then look at your progress, get reminders and motivation to continue. I have not personally used this particular app but I love the idea!
What are your favorite apps for health and fitness?
They say the most popular New Year Resolution is somehow related to health and fitness. Lose weight, exercise more or eat better are all pretty common things to resolve to do at the start of the year. I love that people are talking more about healthly habits and hope that the stats are wrong and more than 50% of resolutioners are still working toward their goals in three months.
I do get it though, it isn't always pleasant to exercise (it is all out hard some days) and eating healthy is confusing with all the changing and contridictory information out there plus choosing a healthy meal over a burger and fries isn't easy in the beginning. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
For example, if you said you would workout 5 days a week starting January 1 and you haven't done it, that is ok. Do some form of exercise as often as you can. It doesn't have to be at a gym to count or a certain number of days. Do what you can to make it a habit most days of the week. Find something you enjoy doing and figure out ways to make it easier. Didn't make it to that morning spin class because you couldn't get out of bed earlier than usual? What could help you get up? Getting to bed earlier or making sure you have all of your clothes out and ready might make it easier to workout early. Whatever it is, look for the obsticles and ways to remove those blocks. Think of the reasons you want to be healthier...eliminating health issues, living longer for your kids...whatever it is.
Healthier eating doesn't have to be an all out cleanse, or diet, or 30 day thing (but it can if that works for you...except the diet thing...but that's a whole other post). Just start cutting back on the bad stuff and adding in some good stuff. A great place to start is what I consider one of the worst offenders, pop. For the love of pete, pop has no nutritional value and is bad for you. Period. (read more here) If you are drinking it, cut back to eventually not having any or cut it old cold turkey, whichever works best for you. Just making that one change will make a difference.
Bottom line, small changes do add up and are worth making. Making your life healthier can be done in many ways. Find what works for you and keep at it. These should be lifestyle changes, results/benefits won't happen or last if healthier habits are abandoned at the end of January (or Febuary or March...). January 1 isn't the only day to begin living better, any day is a great time to start.