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Health/Wellness

7 smart ways to keep health goals progressing all winter long

(BPT) - Summer seems to inspire people to work on their health and fitness goals, yet progress toward wellness objectives doesn’t have to pause when the weather turns cooler. Registered dietitian Amy Gorin and lifestyle expert Chassie Post offer some tips for staying on track with health goals throughout fall and winter:

1. Get on your feet.

“You may have heard that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ in terms of a lifestyle habit that is not good for your health,” Post says. “Studies show just a 10-minute walk per day can help combat the ill effects of the prolonged sitting that is so common for many office workers.” Set smartphone alarms to remind you to take a small break every hour or so to stand up and do a few laps around the office. Or, devote 10 minutes of your lunch break to a walk around the block. Park at the farthest end of the lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator or get a standing desk for your work space.

2. Exercise at your desk.

Having a desk job doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in exercise throughout the day. Multi-task while you work. “During a conference call, stand up and walk in place, or do a few sets of squats or lunges,” Gorin says. “And take a few minutes for yourself. Keep a yoga mat in your office for a relaxing stretch break. If you have time, squeeze in a set of crunches.” Exercise around the office, too: Do calf raises while waiting at the printer, and walk to a far-away bathroom or even one on a different floor so you can get in a mini workout on the stairs.

3. Hold yourself accountable.

Inconsistency in sticking to a health plan can be one of the biggest obstacles to reaching your goals. Making yourself accountable by keeping a food and fitness diary can be a great way to combat inconsistency. “Simply chronicling your efforts in writing can bring new awareness to habits you want to change, plus it can also be a source of pride and motivation,” Post says.

4. Use the buddy system.

Exercising with a friend can be an excellent way to inspire you to stay on track, and give your exercise a burst of fun. “Make an appointment with a friend to take a walk together, set up a gym date, or take a Zumba, Pilates or other workout class,” Gorin says. “Exercising with friends gives you a built-in support system — and allows you to catch up while doing something beneficial for your health.”

5. Plan ahead.

“When you’re on the run, it’s easy to make poor food choices because you lack better options,” Post says. “I plan ahead so that I’ll always have more healthful food choices available. For example, Muuna Cottage Cheese cups are one of my favorite staples for snacks or a light meal. Each of the five rich and creamy varieties with real fruit on the bottom packs 15 grams of protein and only 9 grams of sugar. Muuna comes in delicious flavors like strawberry, blueberry and pineapple. Plus, plain Muuna has 19 grams of protein in each single-serve cup, and is a great way to protein-boost recipes in place of mayo, cream cheese and sour cream.”

6. Set realistic goals.

Lofty goals can be great, but not if they undermine your confidence and ability to succeed. “Setting attainable goals sets you up for success,” Post says. “Be gentle with yourself and create goals that you will look forward to achieving. For example, instead of getting up at 6:30 a.m. for an exercise boot camp every day, try exercising three times a week. Once you meet that goal, you can always add another more challenging one to your daily roster.”

7. Try something new.

If you’re getting bored with your daily workout routine, you may be more tempted to put it on pause. Instead, try something new that can energize your routine, such as a dance class, spin class, surfboard yoga, rock climbing, trapezing and more.

 
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