Small Changes, Big Rewards: how to add activity in the morning, at work, and at home

Kim Larsen

Finding small ways to add activity and healthier choices into your daily routine can make big differences over time. Because small changes are easier to incorporate into your life than drastic ones, you will have a better chance of maintaining these changes over time. Challenge yourself to incorporate three small changes into your day throughout the week. Before you know it, you will have a few new healthy habits!

BEFORE GOING TO THE OFFICE

1. Improve your balance. Practice standing on one leg while brushing your teeth to improve balance. Don’t forget to alternate legs!

2. Stretch each day. Get up five minutes early and incorporate a stretching routine to your morning ritual. Stretching isn’t just for mornings, so go ahead and get your five minutes in at any time during the day!

3. Eat breakfast! Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Adding fruit, yogurt, egg whites, or smoothies to your morning are healthy options to help you get started especially if you are a breakfast skipper!

4. Drink more water. Bring a water bottle with you to work and finish drinking it by the end of your work day.

5. Take extra steps. Don’t search for the closest parking spot! Park farther away from your office entrance at work for easy extra steps.

OFFICE STRATEGIES

Enlist the support of co-workers and work together to create a healthier environment.

1. Walk. Incorporate walking lunch breaks with co-workers. Eating a healthy lunch and walking during your breaks does double duty for your health. You will reduce your unhealthy calorie intake and burn calories. It’s a win-win.

2. Build core strength. Use an exercise ball instead of a chair at your desk to build core strength.

3. Change your break room or office snacking habits. Bring healthy versions of favorite snacks to the office. If you have a candy jar (or drawer) at your desk, eliminate the snacks or replace them with healthier choices. Office break rooms filled with high sugar and high-fat snacks can be hazardous to your health! Fruits and veggies make great choices. You can even opt for a protein bar as a meal replacement or snack.

AT HOME

1. Family exercise. Whether you walk with your dog or you walk with your whole family, taking advantage of local trails and surrounding yourself in nature is an easy exercise option. It’s not about speed or distance. It’s about getting out there and moving. Enjoy the views!

2. Make a game of it. If you’re spending time in front of the television with your children, incorporate mini workouts during the commercials. Sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks – you choose the movements. A typical hour of television will contain approximately 15 minutes of commercials, so get off the couch and move!

3. Sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential to your health. Go to bed each night at the same time to develop a sleeping ritual. You will begin to train your body to recognize it’s your time to rest.

Kim Larsen is the Founder of FITNESS EXPO in Eau Claire (fitexpoec.com), which will be held this year on Sept. 15 at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center. Learn more about her at her blog, kimbentley.fitness.

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