Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to uproot your life to become a meat head gym rat. There is no single method that works for everyone or transforms your body overnight. We all have different metabolisms, heights, skills, etc. And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not into serious commitments like gym membership. However, I am into ice cream. So how does one keep themselves in check while saving money and enjoying some treats? Here are my helpful tips:
1. Walking: It’s the easiest way to get started! Usually take the bus to class? Give yourself an extra 15 minutes and walk instead. Fresh air is good for the lungs and helps to get you out of the germ-y tin can that is public transit. Starting off with a walk a day will make it easier when you try other athletic ventures.
2. Running: Now that you’ve mastered the art of walking, it’s time to start running. Don’t think of distance or pace. Just get out for a jog to increase your heartrate. Depending on your local climate, this may be easier for some of you to do year-round. As a New England girl who now lives in New York, winter running isn’t always pleasant. Get a thick headband (pretty cheap at a department store in the athletic section) to cover your ears and some full-length spandex so your sweat doesn’t stick to cotton (which causes hypothermia). You’ll be huffing on through a couple miles in no time. Running after a night of drinking is also an amazing way to get rid of a hangover. Sweat out the booze baby!
3. Push ups: I am still working on my technique for these. I struggle with balance, so these provide me with a great core workout as well as toning my arms. By holding yourself steady, you get an ab workout. By pushing your weight off the floor with your arms, you keep arm jiggling to a minimum.
4. Free weights: I’m a weakling, so I can handle the 10-15 pound dumbbells. Easy to do while sitting at a desk or watching TV. There are YouTube videos to show different methods and pictures in every magazine.
5. Bicycles: Not the 2-wheeled machine, although I’m getting there. Bicycles are another core workout. You put your left elbow to right knee, then vice versa, and hold when they touch for a few seconds. You’ll feel the burn.
6. Bicycles 2.0: The two wheeled machine. I am jealous of everyone who has this skill. As I mentioned, my balance is atrocious. I will never understand the expression “it’s as easy as riding a bike” because it isn’t easy for us all. However, it’s an awesome way to squeeze in cardio while being efficient! You remember my first suggestion? To walk to your classes? Biking is another option that leaves you more time to chill or get work done before having to head out. But please be careful and stay in bike lanes.
7. Breakfast: Eat it! It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason! It kick starts your metabolism and whets your appetite. Having a protein-filled meal (eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter) keeps you full longer so you won’t feel the need to snack until lunch.
8. Substitutions: I love cream cheese and butter with cinnamon. I love marshmallows in my cereal. I love chocolate chip pancakes. But I eat those things maybe a couple of times a week. The world would suck if we never treated ourselves. But it’s still important to work on the concept of moderation. Have peanut butter on bagels instead, get honey nut cheerios with soy milk, have fruit on your pancakes. Fro-yo instead of dairy ice cream, salad with chicken instead of pasta with chicken. Get a wrap instead of a sub. All easy fixes that, if done a few times a week, can really get the ball rolling to a lifestyle change.
9. Salad: The fruits and veggies with the brightest colors are the best for you. Especially raw (I suggest farm stands or farmers markets for a good deal and you’ll be supporting your local community). Veggies are mostly water, so when you add all your fixings, not only are you getting a great meal, but it’s also a way to stay hydrated. I love ordering salads at restaurants because they have such great ingredients that I would never think to combine or necessarily have the money to buy. About five days of the week, I make my own side salad for lunch. By cooking veggies, you lose a lot of nutrients; so choose raw as often as possible.
10. Moderation: Everything in moderation is an important value for health and fitness. Cheat days or even a little cheating each day is all fine and dandy. Just do it in moderation. If you’ve had a great 2 meals so far, get dessert with dinner. If you went out last night and danced your butt off, give your muscles a day of rest.
All of this can be done from the comfort of your own neighborhood. Minus food and a few pieces of workout gear, it’s all free! No one needs to start a strict diet or weight routine the day after pigging out on turkey and potatoes, just take a step back and see what little changes you can make and work your way up.