It’s already spring, and I know a lot of us have fallen by the wayside on our New Year’s resolutions to be healthier this year. As a busy mom, I’m sure guilty of this (we are allfamiliar with the time commitment of the PTA). But with the coming warm weather, I have decided to get up and move forward with the process of getting my whole family and me healthier. A lot of us are too busy to go to the gym every day, but there are a lot of small changes we can implement to improve our well-being. So, together, let’s work toward using these fitness tips, the five S’s of spring health.
This is probably my number-one tip. You can’t get healthier by making massive changes all at once, especially with kids around. Rather, start small so as not to shock the family, or yourself. Rather than going on a crash diet, you can start by eliminating certain foods that you know you should avoid. Yahoo, like a lot of other great online sources, lists some foods to consider cutting out. For example, instead of having chips around, encourage the kids to eat more healthily by keeping carrots and celery in the fridge (maybe with some ranch dressing to make the veggies go down), and replacing soda with juice and water. Opt for healthier but equally indulgent desserts like watermelon, strawberries and dark chocolate, all of which are packed with antioxidants. Start a habit of going for a walk as a family after supper, or a short bike ride. My youngest loves his tricycle. I, for one, also love baking tasty treats, so in addition to baking carrot muffins instead of cupcakes, I’m going to invest in good non-stick pans to avoid using unnecessary oils or butter to grease the pan. With a little thought, these fitness tips are surprisingly easy to implement and can make a world of difference.
There are lots of statistics cycling around about how deadly stress can be. Undue stress can lead to heart disease, anxiety, depression, and is overall rather terrible for health and well-being. Thus, when trying to live healthier, it’s also important to pay attention to our mental stress levels. To lower heart rate, trying taking up hobbies. These can be invaluable. Some of my favorite birthday gifts this year included a water bottle and yoga bag fromthis page at Personal Creations, and I took that as a sign to start going back to yoga. Is even one exercise class too much for your busy schedule? Try to fit in at least a half an hour of time to yourself. Go for a walk when the kids are napping, or in your rare moments of peace, lose yourself in a good film or book.
I remember wistfully those days when I was able to sleep through the night, but with a young family, getting a full night’s rest is all but impossible. However, never underestimate the power of sleep. It’s what we need to restart and get us going. There are a number of things you can do to help yourself and your family sleep better, like exercise, but I also found this list of sleep-promoting and sleep-stealing foods to help guide my evening meals and pre-bedtime snacks. Maybe I’ll start making more banana-and-cherry smoothies for my kids to help them sleep better.
It is certainly possible to implement these changes to your lifestyle alone, but it is absolutely easier to do with a group. Make family projects, or get together with your friends to go on bike rides together, walk the neighborhood dogs, set up family game nights or plant a garden together to promote family time. Even just making the effort to sit down together to a family dinner most nights can help with stress and making sure you’re all eating healthy together.
Okay, I know I said “small changes” was my number-one tip, but this is my real number-one fitness tip: unless you implement structure, living more healthily will never stick, and you’ll slip back into your old habits. Yes, it was definitely easier to buy the chips and let the kids have at them. It was easier, after dinner, to sit and watch TV together. But if you fall back into these ways, there will be no benefit to reap. If you want to make major differences in your life, you’ve got to make it a full, concentrated, consistent effort. I’m planning to sit down with my kids and husband after dinner one night and talk it through together, and get everyone excited to live better: we can brainstorm together to make it as fun as we can!
Let’s Spring into Good Health—Together,