Yup, it’s fast approaching. The trees will be turning before you know it and that cold north wind will start blowing. While this sounds like an episode of the Game of Thrones, in reality it is what is starting to occur across much of the United States. Once football season hits, you know it’s around the corner.
This time of year can also lead to a vastly reduced activity level, weight gain and even seasonal depression. Things turn darker, colder, and dismal… it’s no wonder this can occur. Don’t let Old Man Winter keep you down. Here are a few tips and activity choices we highly recommend to help you get through the colder weather in great shape.
Home is Where the Heart Is
I’m like a broken record here on a home workout fitness kick, but it’s because it can be so incredibly beneficial! Nothing can lift your spirits more than breaking a sweat and getting those endorphins rushing after a solid, heart-pumping workout. Obviously, if you plan on being inside during the majority of the time inactive, then you are bound to gain a few pounds. A simple “3 workout a week regime” can help you stay in shape, improve your mood, and save on a gym membership as well!
For many of us we have a mandatory one hour lunch break, but if you’re like me you wolf it down in 10 minutes and then have to find something else to do – this is where the office workout comes in great. From squats to pushups to lunges, there are dozens of bodyweight exercises you can do while in the office during your lunch to bust calories!
Scared of a little jog when it’s freezing outside? Me too! Obviously, you want to be smart in your decision to work/exercise outside first of all! But if you are going to get out there and battle the elements then you better gear up!
Here’s a few of our favorite winter outside activities to help you stay active this winter! It definitely doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out! In an article by Kacey Mya Bradley on DIYactive.com, a few easy ways to get started were laid out:
1. Take a Hike
Once again, don’t get me started on walking… I love it and think it is one of the best ways to start to get in shape when you are a beginner! Walking increases blood flow, gives your heart and lungs a needed boost, builds muscle, is a great social tool and is a stress reliever. Hiking is like walking with a view. You can walk through the woods, up steep hills or just along a peaceful river. Both activities require a good pair of shoes and some warm clothes. So bundle up and hit the trail.
2. Engage in a Winter Sport or Two
Skiing, snowboarding and ice skating (or curling or anything to get you active) are great winter sports that can really warm up your workout routine. These activities offer a fun way to enjoy winter weather while still getting your sport on. Including a new type of workout in your routine can also help work muscles you didn’t even know you had. So head to the slopes or rink, your body will thank you for it.
3. Try a New Activity
Whether you get involved in a gym class, engage in a private session or join a group to enhance your wintertime exercise routine. Heck, you can even join a dodgeball, volleyball, bowling league or take a Pilates reformer class, in any case finding a new activity can mix up the dullness of your predictable training. There is always something fun and awesome to try!
We all know it… winter is right around the corner but that doesn’t mean you have to quit being active. Give these SIMPLE tips a try to stay active and stay healthy, all year long!
Looking for more at home fitness tips? Then check out DIY Active: “Fit.Food.Life.” and join the DIY Nation!
walk for health
Taking Your Fitness Back
Idolized gym memberships, incredible fitness trackers that let you know when to walk, bottles that tell you when to drink water, apps that show you exactly how you sleep, stationary bikes that mimic open road topography, nutrition plans calculated down to the calorie… what do all of these have in common? They all take fitness and free will out of your hands and make you depend on them. It’s the 21st century, so of course we have all of this brand new technology that can help us get fit and healthy in so many ways… uhh so why is obesity at an all-time high?
The Dependent Exerciser
From a practicality stand point you would think that since we have so much tech at our disposal we should be healthy as ever! While that seems obvious it definitely isn’t the case. We depend so much on this stuff that we simply can’t function without it.
Many people simply don’t exercise if they can’t it make it to the gym. They can’t workout unless it’s in that atmosphere. Or many forget to drink water unless an app or bottle tell them to. Heck, many people don’t even walk unless their tracker tells them to get up and move around. In fact, many people freak out when they forget to wear their fitness tracker because “Their steps won’t be counted”.
When we need to be reminded to walk and drink water it’s time to rethink our perspective.
So that’s why this Spring we challenge you to live life on your own terms and forget about being tied to the trackers, apps, and apparel.
Getting Back To Your Roots
Remember when you drank water because you were thirsty? Well keep that up! Or remember when you actually did things outside like walking… gardening… golfing? It’s time to get back to these simple, yet highly-effective movements to get back in shape. Let’s make a pact:
Simply get outside walking 45+ minutes a day.
This can help you in so many ways like helping to reduce stress and depression as Dr. Sara Warber put it in an issue of the journal Ecopsychology, “Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster. Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”
This doesn’t just go for walking either. You can plant a garden or herb patch. Go nature hiking. Walk the dog. Push mow the lawn (yeah, right). Walk 18 holes of golf. Go swimming. Play baseball or softball. Just get outside and exercising. The point isn’t that you have to be outside, the point is that you don’t have to be in a gym to get fit… you can do it at home or outside as well.
Once we start breaking through that mentality that you can only exercise or lift in a gym, the world opens up and the opportunities are endless. No longer will you be tied to a brick and mortar structure that helps you get fit. Instead you can get healthy, love life and take in nature anywhere you want to go!
Don’t stop there! Get more of the best at home fitness tips and great recipes at DIYactive.com!
More Fast Food Blues
More bad news for those of you out there that just love fast food! Don’t get me wrong, from time to time we all break down and grab a quick bite due to convenience, hunger, or just because we frankly like it, but it can have some seriously bad side effects. I’m sure you’ve heard it before about obesity, Trans fat, diabetes…etc. Well, we have another negative to add to the list: phthalates! Good luck saying that – I had trouble typing it correctly. Let’s look at the research.
The Chemical Called Phthalates
Well it seems the more fast food you consume the more likely you will be exposed to a chemical called phthalates. This was determined by a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, and is one of the first to look at the link between phthalates and fast food consumption.
So what exactly are phthalates? They are an industrial chemical that is commonly used to make food packaging materials and other items used in the fast food industry. Many have researched the fact that they leach out of these packaging materials right into this yummy, albeit highly processed foods! The foods that were most likely to be contaminated were grains and meats.
Phthalates have been linked to birth defects, pregnancy loss, even high blood pressure in children and teens…etc. It’s no wonder that they need to be avoided but that’s easier said than done when they leach into our food sources! So what’s the correlation between fast food and phthalates? Lead author Ami Zota explained, “People who ate the most fast food had phthalate levels that were as much as 40 percent higher. Our findings raise concerns because phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems in children and adults.”
Fast Food Alternatives
If fast food is so bad for us, why do we eat it in the first place? For many people it’s because it is so convenient. It’s easier to grab a double cheeseburger with fries (supersized of course) than it is to pack some healthy snacks or even a full meal.
Make sure to have handy foods in the pantry or refrigerator that you can easily grab before heading out on a road trip. Better yet, make sure to have a few snack packs in your car or gym bag. For instance, fruit, dried fruit (raisins are great), beef jerky, whey protein shakes, and various other dietary supplements (choose with caution)…etc. all make for great food alternatives!
These types of food can hold you over until you reach your destination or you find a better alternative. It really is that simple when it comes to avoiding fast food! When it comes down to it, it’s all common sense.
Are you worried that fast food is causing obesity and other harmful effects on your body? Well stop eating fast food then! As Zota suggested, “People concerned about this issue can’t go wrong by eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food. A diet filled with whole foods offers a variety of health benefits that go far beyond the question of phthalates.”
Looking for more nutritional tips and fitness tricks to help you get in shape and make fitness enjoyable again? Well then head over to DIY Active: “Fit.Food.Life,” and join the DIY Nation!