Week 0 of 12 Weeks to a Healthy New Year
Awareness is half the battle. Not just awareness that there is a problem, but also awareness of what is causing the problem. This time of year in the northern hemisphere, we face the triple threat:
- inclement weather
- lack of daylight hours
Not only that, but as we age, we tend to get colder more easily, need more sleep, and don’t burn calories as efficiently. What to do?
This is definitely a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, if you will pardon the pun. For instance, putting on extra pounds makes us feel lethargic. Instead of feeling like holiday weight gain is inevitable or even possibly fun for the moment, we need to think how much more fun we will have and how much better we will feel if we don’t binge eat during this season.
Here are 12 steps to help stay fit during this time of year. I will explore each of them in the coming weeks.
- Have a few different activity options for staying active.
- Invest in gear that will make activity possible in spite of the weather.
- Monitor the weather ahead of time for activity opportunities.
- Have a plan for balanced eating on a daily basis.
- Have specific long term activity goals.
- Be creative about mixing social events and activities.
- Plan for good things to listen to or companionship while exercising.
- Have a specific plan for each activity/workout.
- Keep routines fresh and creative.
- Have at least a semi-dedicated workout area.
- Have a reasonably consistent sleep and rest schedule.
- Focus on the positive.
Our bodies are designed to be active. We feel better if we can move, plus we are less prone to injury if we move regularly. All of our body systems benefit if we move.
- we breathe more deeply, clearing out our lungs
- we strengthen muscles that support our joints
- we circulate our blood more, providing what our cells need and moving away waste products
- we apply force to our skeletal system, stimulating it to be more dense
- we get stronger overall, enabling us to respond better to unexpected physical demands
- we feel less stress because physical activity helps dissipate tension
- we sleep better, because a physically used body rests better
It is not just vanity to want to stay fit, although there is nothing wrong with using the motivation of wanting to look as nice as you can. As pointed out in the examples above, it is deeply practical to stay fit.
Besides that, you will have a choice of whether or not you want to sit on the sidelines while other people are having active fun. You will be better able to keep up with any children in your life. You will be better able to help those in need.
Join me as we delve into each of these areas more thoroughly in the coming weeks. Even if you know all of these basics, you will be encouraged and you can offer encouragement in the comments.
Drop me a line if there is another step you would suggest or have a preference about which order we address this steps.