LIFESTYLE NEWS - How can we achieve maximum results with minimal effort? Let’s face it, we’ve all tried to figure that one out!
But tackling smaller goals – like replacing that Diet Coke with a bottle of sparkling water, or going to the gym for 30 minutes instead of skipping it altogether – can really make a huge difference to your health and fitness in the long run.
It takes a while to change habits and routines that have been part of your life for a long time. Taking small steps could lead to big results in the goals department. Here are 16 small but significant changes you can make.
1. Keep active throughout the day
Sitting too much is not good for your muscles, which can eventually become weak, leaving you with lower back pain and other aches and pains. We recommend a break every 20 minutes! Just taking a walk around the office is 5-10 extra calories burnt (times that by 3 every hour and it’s working off almost an entire slice of bread).
2. Climb the stairs
Whether in the office, house or shopping mall, every flight will help you burn calories, use your leg muscles and increase your heart rate. Three major fitness benefits that will keep you on track towards your goals.
3. Posture tweaks Headaches, shoulder pains and creaking neck? Check your posture right now. Your shoulder blades should be back (touching the chair you are sitting in), your chin should be tucked in and your tummy should be sucked in. That is good sitting posture. Now see how you are standing – just suck your tummy in and you’ll feel taller.
4. Exercise while chair bound Sitting still for hours means your muscles and blood flow can get a little lazy. Wiggle your feet up and down like driving a car, lift and straighten each leg (one at a time) or sit on an exercise ball for core muscle activation.
5. Walk more Parking further away in parking lots, more trips back and forth unloading the car and even offering to do the occasional office coffee run will get you moving more during a busy work day. Ladies – pack a pair of flats each day just in case!
6. Add extra time Once your body starts getting used to your workout, it’s time to up the ante. Why not try extending your session by 15 minutes? Or add in an extra set of squats and lunges to your usual number?
7. More sleep Going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night will help give your brain a little more time to switch off, your quality of sleep will improve plus your body will get the rest it needs to regenerate, burn fat (yes this happens all the time if you’re active and have some muscles), and be ready to face a new day!
8. Stay hydrated Drinking more water not only rehydrates you after a hard workout, but it can sometimes hit those hunger pangs – which is often dehydration disguised. One more benefit if you’re in front of a computer most of the day? The more water you drink, the more you get to move around during the day (bathroom trips!).
9. Don’t drink your calories It’s simple: Eat fruits instead of fruit juice, order a small latte instead of a Grande and cut your sugar added to coffee and tea in half. Try one of these easy changes (or all three if you’re feeling brave!).
10. Eat smaller portions Use a smaller dinner plate or container to pack your lunch into. If you’re ordering takeout, choose a medium instead of large pizza. If you’re a movie fundi and love your popcorn and soda, try opting for the smaller sizes.
11. Go “Plain Jane” on the toppings Leave the cheese or toppings off your burger and eat a succulent steak without a creamy sauce to top it off. Toppings and sauces are full of unwanted calories plus they generally aren’t very healthy.
12. Ask for your dressing on the side Creamy Caesar and 1000 island dressing is lovely, but extremely calorie-dense. Opt for lemon juice and balsamic vinegar (and maybe some olive oil too).
13. Curb those post-work drinks Try limiting yourself to one or two drinks a week. Or, dedicate an entire day to being alcohol free, like booze-free Mondays. Post-work drinks don’t have to happen weekly – once a month would be way better for your waistline.
14. Eating out and ordering smart Banish the guilt of eating a calorie-heavy meal at a restaurant by opting for healthier options on the menu. Order the baked potato instead of the fries, share a table salad instead of the bread and go for the smaller portion of rump. Still amazing tastes, just less calories. Plus you’ll feel plenty satisfied!
15. Sweets as special treats not every day must-haves Parties, birthdays or date-night are the occasions to enjoy something sweet. Taking the refined sugar out of the daily mix will have great health and weight-loss benefits.
16. Pack your lunch Busy mom or office worker? Consider packing a sandwich or salad or wrap for lunch during the 9-5 hours. It takes the temptation away and keeps you filled without overdoing it. (Never mind the cash you’ll save!)
Kick start your health and fitness goals today! And the more little victories you achieve, the more motivation it will spark. All you have to do is be ready to make a small change and ride the wave!
Source: Virgin Active
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