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How to go from Being Sedentary to Exercising in 9 Easy Steps

How to go From Being Sedentary to Exercising in 9 Easy Steps

Are you a coach potato? If so, you aren’t alone. However, a sedentary lifestyle can have serious health repercussions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. There is good news if you have been sedentary, you too can get back into shape. However, you should do it slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself or cause injury. Not only will becoming more active make you feel better but you will improve your overall health.

Learn how to go from being sedentary to exercising in 9 easy steps. Use these 9 steps to transform your lifestyle and improve your overall health.

Have a Health Evaluation First

Before you start an exercise routine, you should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first. They can help you determine what type of activities that you can do safely. Plus, they can help support you and your goals to improve your overall health.

Start Slowly

If you have been inactive for several months or years, it is import that you start off slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself. You can start by walking at a slow pace for 10 minutes every other day and work your way to up to where you want to be. Health experts recommend exercising 3 to 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day.

Instead of starting off at the gym, I suggest that you start off by walking either outside or on a treadmill. Walking is low impact and will help keep you from injuring yourself. If you hit the gym until you are in shape, you increase your odds of injuring yourself. Many people often overdo it when they first start exercising.

Take at Least One Day Off to Rest per Week

Once you get an exercise routine started, make sure that you take at least one day off from exercising. This gives your body and mind time a chance to recover. Do something that takes your mind off reaching your goal.

Make Sure You Have Proper Footwear

Don’t start exercising until you have the proper footwear. You want to make sure that your shoes are made for exercising and provide your feet with proper support depending on your activity. Don’t just grab a pair of shoes because they are handy; instead, grab a shoe that is made for the activity that you plan on doing the most. If you plan on walking, you can grab a cross training shoe. However, if you are planning on running it is best to buy a running shoe.

Vary Your Intensity

If you have been walking or exercising for a few weeks and have established your routine, you should work towards varying the intensity of your workout. For example, instead of walking for 20 to 30 minutes try 1 minute of fast walking or light jogging and 4 minutes of walking. If you can’t jog, then try adding an incline.

Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine

Most people think of body builders when they hear the word strength training and think of huge bulk muscles. However, strength training has several benefits including:

  • protects bone health
  • makes you stronger
  • improves your body mechanics
  • helps prevent certain diseases
  • boosts energy
  • improves your mood
  • increases the number of calories burned
  • tones muscles
  • improve posture

Limit Watching Television

Do you enjoy watching television or sitting down at the computer after you get home from work? Don’t worry you aren’t alone but it is something that you can easily change. Instead, sitting down to engage in either of these activities you should replace it with physical activity, even if you worked out that evening. Here are a few examples to try: plant a garden, wash the car, do a few household chores, or try organized fitness class or sports.

I have another alternative for those individuals who are addicted to watching television. You can purchase a stationary bike, elpitical, or treadmill for your home so that you can work out while you watch your favorite show.

Opt for a Stand-Up or Treadmill Desk

If you have to be on the computer, you can opt for a stand up or a treadmill desk (if you have a desk job you can even ask your company for workplace alternatives). Can’t get a stand up or treadmill desk, there are a few things that you can do to curb the effects of sitting. You can try a few chair exercises and other exercises that you can do at the office.

Adapt Healthy Eating Habits

Eating healthy meals is just as important as exercising. As you are slowly making changes to your activity level, make sure that you are also working on your eating habits. Adapting healthy eat habits doesn’t have to be hard. Once you start eating healthy, you should start to notice the difference in your overall health. Don’t be overly concerned about your weight but you should focus on how your feeling in the very beginning.

A sedentary lifestyle can have serious health repercussions but it isn’t too late to make changes to your overall health and well being. Remember take it slow and easy when you first starting a exercise routine to avoid injury. Don’t forget to use these tips on how to go from being sedentary to exercising in 9 easy steps.

Image Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons

Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy? What are you doing to overcome it?

8 Easy Ways You Can Start Eating Healthy Now

8 Easy Ways You Can Start Eating Healthy Now

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t have to make a ton of unrealistic changes or strict dietary changes.  Instead, you want to focus on your long term efforts by making changes that are going to be easy to stick too. Most of those quick fix solutions or dieting only work for your short term goals.  Once you go back to your normal eating habits , most people find that they put the weight back on and sometimes even more.

I wanted to make it easy for you to start eating healthy and with these 8 easy ways you can start eating healthy now. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow or next week. Start implementing these changes today!

Plan your Meals

I found that planning my meals made it so much easier for me when it came time to pick what we would have for dinner. The great thing about meal planning is that you aren’t restricted to what you can eat. When you plan what you want to eat, you can make a detailed shopping list of things to pick up at the store. As you are planning your meals, don’t forget to account for busy evenings when you need a quick meal so that you aren’t stopping by the drive through on your way home from work.

Don’t forget to include items that you can pack for lunch too! Skip the frozen foods, they are misleading.

Cook More Meals at Home

Cooking meals allows you to have more control over the foods that you are preparing. Food that is prepared at home can be prepared in various ways or by making healthier options of your favorite recipes. Plus, you know exactly what you are eating when you take the time to prepare your own food.

Make the Right Changes to Your Diet

Many people often make the mistake of avoiding certain foods when they start making healthy changes. Instead of giving up your favorite guilty pleasure, you should come up with a healthy alternative to take its place. For example, instead of eating ice cream opt for low-fat yogurt. Start with simple changes that will accept your overall health.

Learn Proper Portion Sizes

Portion control is a constant struggle for many people. Did you know that your typical meal at a restaurant contains anywhere from 800 to 2,000 calories depending on what you order? Your typical restaurant meal is more than what the USDA recommends and most entrees don’t have foods for all of the food groups. Check out this useful portion control chart to learn about the proper portion sizes to help you reduce your portions.

If you do happen to eat out, you can either split a meal or immediately ask for a doggie bag so that can put half of your meal in it to go. Spliting or making a doggie bag immediately keeps you from over eating or consuming too many calories.

At home, I often will use a smaller plate to trick my mind into thinking I am eating a ton of food. A half empty plate will make you think that you aren’t getting enough to eat or it will cause you to go over the recommended serving size.

Make Simple Changes

Many people often focus on counting calories or points when they should focus on simplifying their food choices. You should pick a diet that is colorful (pick plenty of fruits and vegetables) and whole foods. Try to picture where the food source came from and try to determine if it was grown. If it is grown, it is better for you. Learn to skip the processed foods including fruits and vegetables (ie canned foods) and choose better options. For example, instead of eating pasta you could opt for zoodles (zucchini noodles) or find whole wheat pasta.

If you find that your produce is going bad before you get a chance to consume it, you can purchase fruit and vegetables from your freezer section. These are much healthier than purchasing canned goods.

Reduce Snacking

Snacking can easily add several hundred calories to your diet. I often find that I snack when I am bored or when I am really thirsty. Check out these ideas on how to reduce snacking throughout the day.

Read the Labels

I am guilty of not reading labels especially on foods that the manufacture has marketed as healthy. Most manufacture’s often use long complicated words to hide sugar, salt, and preservatives in the food that your eating. Experts recommend that if you can’t pronounce the word that you should avoid it. You can easily replace most of these foods with healthy alternatives.

Don’t Forget to Drink Plenty of Water

Instead of reaching for that glass of soda, juice, alcohol, or other calorie filled drinks, opt for a glass of ice water. Often times are body is signaling to our brain that it needs hydration but we mistake it for hunger. If you struggle with drinking enough water, try adding lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, or other fruits and vegetables. Plus, water helps flush out toxins and other waste products.

I hope that you find these 8 easy ways you can start eating healthy now simple and easy to follow. Just remember that you don’t have to put off making these changes, you can start implementing them today. Don’t forget if you slip up and have a bad day, that your next meal or tomorrow is a new day to start over.

Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos

What is your biggest hurdle when it comes to eating healthy?

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Snacking Under Control

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Snacking Under Control

You might think grabbing a few pieces of candy from the secretaries desk, samples at the grocery store on the way home from work, or even a snack from the snack machine every afternoon isn’t harmful but if you are constantly snacking throughout the day, all of those calories can add up to an alarming rate if you were to track everything that you eat. All of those snacks between meals can easily add several pounds to the scale pretty quick.

If you are constantly finding yourself snacking between meals, I wanted to share some 5 easy ways to keep your snacking under control.

Reach for Water Instead of Food

Did you know that your body often mistakes hunger signals when it is really trying to tell you that you need to grab something to drink? So when you start feeling hungry throughout the day reach for a glass of water instead. You should be drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. If you are unsure of how much you are actually drinking, I highly suggest getting a water bottle that measures how much your drinking or track it in an app such as MyFitnessPal.

Opt for Healthy Snacks

If you have a weakness for snacking in the middle of the afternoon, you should prepackage some healthy snack options that you can easily eat when your feeling hungry. You can keep these snacks at your desk or in the refrigerator at work. Try reaching for these snacks instead of empty calories:

  • celery and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • cucumbers
  • baby carrots
  • apple
  • 100 calories worth of almonds
  • grapes
  • bell pepper
  • cup of unbuttered/unsalted popcorn
  • dry fruit (be careful what you grab some are packed with sugar and watch your portion intake)
  • protein bar
  • string cheese
  •  low-fat yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • hard boiled egg
  • and there are countless other healthy snacks available.

Make Your Own 100 Calorie Packs

It is very tempting to buy the 100 calories snack options at the grocery store but those can easily cost you more in the long run. Instead, you should buy a bigger package and divide them immediately when you get home from the grocery store. Package them and keep them in the pantry. These are great if you are craving junk food because you are able to satisfy your cravings without going overboard or ruining your diet.

Keep Calories in Check with a Food Journal

I personally found that using a food journal helped me realize how many calories that I was really consuming. Plus, it was a great way to hold myself accountable. I was able to even use it to set goals. If I wanted a snack, I could easily look at my app and determine if that snack was worth it.

Avoid the Temptations

If you work outside of the home, it isn’t as easy to remove the temptations throughout the day. But you can do your best to avoid the temptations. For example, if your coworker brought in doughnuts for the entire office and you know that they are in the conference room. You can simply avoid this area unless you are in there for a reason.

I one time had to go to a work meeting where I knew donuts were being served, I would often grab a glass of water or some gum in order to help reduce the temptation. Doing this trick can easily save you several hundred calories.

Working at home can leaving you heading to the refrigerator or pantry several times a day, without anyone here to stop you or hold you accountable. If you know that you are vulnerable to snacking, you can find a selection of healthy snack options available to replace your unhealthy snacks. I have kids in my house so it is tough to prevent a few unhealthy things in my house but if they were not here, I would just avoid buying them. I just try to remember that those snacks are for my kids lunch and not for me.

Snacking no longer has to be unhealthy and pack on tons of extra calories in your day. Try these 5 easy ways to keep your snacking under control.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

What is your snacking pitfall? How did you overcome it?