I started writing this blog as “Making time for exercise”, but stalled with the thought that if we do not have a true “intention” to exercise, all of our plans and wish lists fall by the wayside because we will not follow through on them. I questioned myself how do I do it?
To set in my mind a true intention to exercise, I must mentally pre-program myself, so I see it happening and set it in my mind and commit myself to it. Once I have done that my next step is to plan and decide on the time and place and the how and record it, write it down, text someone my intent.
Better still I invite a buddy along as an extra driving force as insurance.
Exercising for 20 minutes a day will add to your longevity. Adding 20 minutes of light exercise a day adds up to 2+ hours of exercise a week this has benefits not only for burning calories but in increasing our body’s overall health and agility.
Plan time for exercise and make it a regular daily routine habit is even better. It helps to exercise around the same time each day. The key is to build exercise into your life style so that it is not disruptive. Chose times of the day that work best for you. Is it early morning before work or just before supper? or while watching TV? Use those 5-minute advertising sections to put in some body strengthening exercises like squats and lunges. My father, now 93 years old, swears by the arm curls with a couple of cans of beans he has practiced over the years since retirement while watching T.V. as a major reason for his good health.
Start with something simple, Walking is the simplest exercise, it costs nothing to get started. It is easy, safe and can be done anywhere and anytime. Walk around the block in your neighborhood, around the local parks, meet the neighbors. Walk to the corner store instead of driving, walk in the sunlight and get the bonus effect of melatonin stimulation to aid in better quality sleep.
Even at home you can move more through some simple changes to regular household duties, get creative and involve the whole family.
- Do housework to fast music, get the heart rate up, dance for 60 seconds in between chores- feeling a little crazy is good for the soul! (Vacuuming to the sound of the rolling stones cranked up is a great stress reliever.)
- Work in the garden, mow the grass. Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash.
- Stand up while talking on the telephone and exercise on the spot –try high leg lifts , high knee bends or lunges.
- Walk the dog or borrow the neighbors’ dog and take it for a walk.
- Plan family time for exercise involve the kids or other family members, make it a friendly playful competition- volleyball before dinner or simple catching a ball.
- if you are lucky enough to have home exercise equipment intend to use it, make yourself a schedule.
If you think you don’t have the time to take a walk, think about how much time you spend after work on the following activities- watching TV, binge watching TV shows on Netflix, catching up on your social media accounts, talking about how tired you are.
Can you change some of the couch potato time into exercise time? Make the change today, intend to move more, then actually do it!
Plan and intend to complete 20 minutes exercise in your daily routine.
Keep track of your activity for one week and let us know how you did.
Eat more Vegetables
It can be challenging to eat more vegetables than the one serving we have with our main meal of the day. If we are eating to meet dietary recommendations, we have to find ways to get up to 5 servings of vegetables into our diet every day. There are many ways to do this, but it takes preparation and planning.
We have already made the commitment to eating foods that are healthier and have more fiber, eating vegetables is the best way to achieve this. It comes down to planning and pre-preparation.
Grocery shopping should be done on a day when you have an extra half hour to wash and prepare the vegetables that you have bought. Having a container of pre-washed broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumber, peppers and tomatoes in the refrigerator gives you so many more options to add vegetables to every meal. You are ready to get creative like adding chopped vegetables to your pasta sauces, if you get objections from family members because they can see the vegetables, use a blender and blitz the vegetable before you add them so that they blend into the sauce.
Make soups. A truly rich vegetable soup can use up all the odds and ends left over at the end of the week with the addition of some shredded cabbage or fresh herbs. If you feel you do not have time to make soup, again blitz the vegetable first in a blender and the soup will cook much quicker. Add beans like black beans or chick peas for added fiber.
Serve vegetables and dip as a starter before every meal, stick to low calorie dressings or hummus or make them yourself e.g.- parmesan cheese, pressed garlic and lite mayonnaise. Find the flavours that suit your family.
Have one day a week which is a meatless main meal such as a veggie chili using 3 types of beans such as kidney beans, black beans and chick peas or a Veggie lasagna made with auberge and tomatoes.
Get creative with baking – substitute shredded vegetables for fruit in muffins, use whole grain flour and shredded carrot in cake.
Fresh Vegetables are always the best option but seasonal prices may affect your choices. When vegetable prices are high consider frozen vegetables. These are convenient and can be quickly heated up in the microwave.
The health benefits of eating higher fiber food is the lowering of blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and helping to avoid constipation and inflammation in the digestive tract.
Try a new meatless dish this week that uses more than one vegetable
Pre-prepare vegetables in your refrigerator and add them to your packed lunch and serve them before every meal.