Baby, it’s cold outside. And if you’re like us, chances are you’re already tallying up those family gatherings, work parties and last minute shopping trips you have to do.
Indeed, winter time means gym time usually gets delayed or crossed off the schedule altogether.
But just because it’s chilly (and busy) out, doesn’t mean your fitness plans have to hibernate! Beat those winter blues with these smart strategies:
TAKE THE STAIRS
Sometimes it’s as simple as avoiding the elevator and taking the couple flights of stairs to your office or apartment. Five minutes of stair climbing burns up to 150 calories!
PARK FURTHER AWAY
We all know how overflowing parking lots can get during the holidays. Instead of waiting for a spot to clear up, why not park further and get some extra exercise in?
PACE & CLEAN WHILE ON THE PHONE
It’s not surprising for phone chats with family to last an hour or more. Take advantage of your catch-up time by throwing on your earphones or putting them on speaker as you free up your hands for sweeping, laundry folding or meal prepping. No one will be the wiser, and you can always put your feet up whenever you feel like it.
USE A BASKET INSTEAD OF A SHOPPING CART
If you’re only picking up a few necessities after work, grab a basket and make your grocery trip a mini weightlifting session too. Being a spontaneous shopper means checking out the pasta aisle can turn into quite the workout adventure.
SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE
Whether Christmas time or New Year’s resolution, there’s always interesting walk/run charities to support. Pick one close to your heart and dedicate your training motivation to someone you care about.
SET AN ALARM
Feeling the burn of pre-holiday projects at the office? If you’re constantly engrossed in spreadsheets and emails– set a timer on your iPhone or watch so you’ll remember to get up, walk, stretch or do some wall planks every hour or two.
FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY
Rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn to make your gym sesh is a lot harder to hit snooze on when you’re part of a dynamic duo! Enlist a fitness-minded friend this season and encourage each other to lace up those sneakers and go for it!
Swipe Away Stress — Best Meditation Apps 2016
Wishing you could really kick back and relax, but need some help doing it? “There’s an App” for that… App(s) in fact, and we’d love to share our top three Meditation favorites with you…
According to Mayo Clinic and Huffington Post – mediation swipes aside stress levels, anxious thoughts and most worries all together just by staying in a meditative state for two to ten minutes.
Restore peace and find your soothing inner voice. Try these ‘Calm’ ‘Headspace’ ‘Mind Body’ (free) apps and see how sleep disorders, chronic pain and anxiety in general can start falling away, lessen considerably with regular practice:
If calm is what you’re looking for – Calm’s the app you need to download. To start, this app puts you on a seven-day program, where you get to choose options for sound, length of time and beautifully serene scenes from nature – helping you focus visually while you meditate.
Multiple guided and unguided sessions are also available. And when you’re ready to come off the seven-day “Basics of Mindfulness” and “Pulling out of Autopilot” series you can try a 21-day program on an affordable subscription.
Fave Features: Great for people who have trouble sleeping at night, or need a dose of patience and inspiration to start to their hectic day.
Take 10, for free. Headspace makes learning the art of meditation super easy through everyday 10-minute sessions that come equipped with your own ‘personal trainer’. Once you’ve mastered level one, you can unlock the entire Headspace collection by purchasing a subscription that fits your mood and lifestyle so you can repeat your fave “how to apply mindfulness” habits whenever you’d like.
Fave Features: Focus-aspect reminders like foundation, performance and health care. Also comes with an awesome buddy system that encourages you and a friend cheer each other on during your meditation journey.
Book a Ying Yang meditation session at your closest yoga studio or head into that massage you’ve been craving to try. MindBody app gives quick, seamless access to finding (and booking) your fitness and health services all around your community, and the world. Yep. It’s really that easy. Look for deals on local classes, set your schedule and goals all via one convenient app.
Fave Features: Save your favorite places for next time. Plus you can also track all your Fitbit info so you can upkeep fitness goals.
How to Shrink Stress: 5 Science-backed Ways to Relax
Stress. The one (big or small) pressure that everyone comes across daily. Whether a sandpaper feeling disagreement with friends, emotions running high with family, or super-fast-paced demands at work – stress is such a genuine concern in our day-to-day that we often ask, how do we deal?
Well, don’t “worry”… Yet, because we’ve got some outside-the-box (and scientifically backed) ways to help you calm those woes. Next time you’re feeling that anxiety build try these techniques to get your endorphins going and solutions moving:
Progressive Relaxation: From the tip of your toes all the way up to your fingertips, simply sit and tense-up and release each muscle group in your body (chest, back, arms, stomach etc.). Naturally your brain will begin to let go of trouble-ridden thoughts once you start feeling those physical thank-yous from your joints and limbs. Remember: When the body relaxes the mind also clears.
Laugh it off: Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. And although a good sense of humor doesn’t cure all ailments – a good laugh does stimulate the organs, enriches oxygen intake and releases endorphins to the brain. Likewise, giggles and guffaws often soothe a rough day by fast-charging circulation and aiding in muscle tranquility. Next time you need a distraction, Youtube some ‘The Ellen Show’ or your favorite go-to funny person.
Chew gum: According to the ancient Mayans, Greeks and Native Americans – chewing tree sap is an age-old practice for keeping stress low. Studies at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension also show that (similarly) popping bubbles and chewing that Hubba Bubba helps you stay in and deal with stressful situations calmly instead of taking a “fight” or “flight” response like we so often do.
Hug it out: Yes, there you have it ladies. Hugging is healthy for you. Plus it ups “love hormone” oxytocin, which in turn has benefits for your heart, fights fatigue and boosts your immune system. Studies show a 20-second hug + 10 minutes of hand holding also drops the physical effects of stress altogether because it lowers hormone, cortisol.
Do an art project: Art therapy might just be the best therapy. Completely embracing of self-expression and creativity – tackling any type of painting, designing, drawing, photography, writing or crafting project immediately cranks up your awareness levels and helps your subconscious make room for “solutions” to take shape that haven’t yet had room to come to your surface-level thoughts.
How to Get in a Workout no Matter How Busy
Leading a Superwoman lifestyle naturally means you’re mindful about moving. After all, how else can we upkeep our energy levels to tackle the day-to-day?
But, even though everyday gyming certainly sounds ideal, we get how eventful juggling family movie nights, work meetings, date night and other social interests can beare.
Use these timing strategies to exercise whenever your heart desires (even if everything else seems to beg all your time):
Choose a beloved exercise like running or body weight workouts (wall sits, planks, push-ups, lunging) you can kick into gear from anywhere. Whether traveling Jamaica, at home or working late from the office – pick a form of muscle strengthening that doesn’t require a surfboard, a treadmill or very much prep time at all.
Can’t peal your eyes away from Game of Thrones? Don’t feel like you have to wait for those dreaded commercials to finish. Put your dumbbells or own body weight to good use and do a quick workout circuit… We don’t know about you, but leg lifts before, during or after a favorite show keep us feeling awake for whatever’s next on the to-do!
CATER TO YOUR LIKES AND DISLIKES
If you really can’t stand yoga stretches, or jogging isn’t your style – don’t sweat it. It’s okay. Select a form of fitness that fits with your personality and tastes. This way you’ll gravitate towards wanting to experiment with those ‘Twisters’ or ‘Hop with Arm Swings’ simply because you know you’ll have fun getting in some cardio or ab training.
COMPETITION = MOTIVATION
Let your competitive streak shine through and use that to self-motivate! Set intensity goals like bugging out to the ‘Inch Worm’ continuously for 4 to 6 reps, or sign up for a 30-day hot yoga challenge and pre-select the time slots you can go. Make your workout a game with yourself. See how far you can push for success and track your accomplishments.
Lastly, sketch out a rough schedule and stick to it! Remind yourself how good you feel after working out and keep it high on your list of self-happiness priorities.
5 Genius Meal Prep Tricks that Free up Time
… Because life’s too short to waste it all in the kitchen!
And because it just makes sense to pick up some no-brainer tips that eliminate stress and lower time it takes to whip up your hearty, homemade lunches. Meal planning made easy:
Hard-boiling your Eggs in the Oven V.S. a Pot
An egg-cellent source for protein and surge of vitamin A and B – eggs are often the tasty snack choice or side option great in salads, sandwiches or even on your pizza. The challenge? Your typical pot, usually only fits up to 5 eggs at a time… So, why not bulk up and bake your eggs instead? Place them in a muffin tin, put them in the oven for 30 minutes and, Voila! You’ll have a batch of 12 hard-boiled energy bites ready for your entire week. Recipe: The Lean Green Bean
Roast Different Veggies in the Same Cook Time
Bring out the natural flavors in your vegetables by roasting them in the oven! But instead of waiting 30 to 40 minutes for each pan of nutrients to start seeping in sweetness – prep a large batch by pairing veggies based on their cook time. Fast cooking asparagus and mushrooms can go hand-in-hand and so can slower-to-cook ones like carrots, potatoes and parsnips. Recipe: Picky Palate
Freeze Blended Smoothies in Muffin Tins
Don’t have time to measure out a ton of ingredients to get your morning juices flowing? Purchase your fruits and yogurts ahead of time, blend up your favorite bevy and then freeze your mixture in muffin tins. Next time you feel like an icy-cold shake, simply toss two or three “Smoothie Cups” in your blender and you’ll be ready to go! Recipe: The Kitchn
Pre-assemble Jarred Salads
Soggy salads are never fun. That’s why we like to keep greens fresh using glass Mason jars to super seal veggie lunches so they stay crunchy and refreshing. To make ‘em: layer dressing at the bottom before piling on sturdier produce like cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers in the center, then adding your choice of lettuce and grains at the very top. Recipe: BuzzFeed
Use Muffin Tins for Breakfast Frittatas
Instead of saving delectable breakfast frittatas for the weekend – have one every day for a week if it suits your fancy! How to? Make egg tart muffins with these delicious quinoa/feta/corn muffin recipes that keep in your fridge for up to 5 days. Never get sick of what’s for lunch with Recipes at: Food Network