Winter is upon us here in the U.S. The days are getting shorter and the colds are getting meaner. This is commonly a time when we might start to pack on a few pounds or have trouble getting enough exercise.
Sometimes, switching up a daily routine or a common activity is enough keep from stagnating on our fitness and health journey. Here are a few life hacks – aka tricks, shortcuts, or novel methods to increase productivity and efficiency – that you can make to shake up those early winter blahs and have a healthier November.
1. Adopt a stair-only policy. For example, if there are 8 flights of stairs or less and you’re not lugging something particularly heavy, pretend elevators and escalators don’t exist.
2. Put a little less sugar in your morning coffee. If you’re a 2-packet cuppa joe kinda person, wean yourself down by half of a packet for a couple of weeks, and then a full after that. If you have a sweet spot for flavored lattes, ask for 1 or 2 less “pumps” of syrup. They’ll know what you mean. Over time your tastebuds will adapt and you’ll be able to enjoy your morning coffee with less added sugar.
3. Eat your veggies first. Of course we all immediately want to go for the slice of pizza, but if you get those veggies in first, you’re filling up on the most nutrient-dense foods before anything else and saving those delicious, less healthy foods for the end!
4. Order burritos with less rice and more beans. Beans offer more protein and fiber and will keep you feeling fuller, longer than rice!
5. Keep a glass of water on your desk and set a timer. It’s easy to get bogged down and dehydrated with work piled up on your desk. Setting a timer will serve as a reminder to take your last sip and refill your glass, and also give you a chance to get up, stretch your legs and log your water intake in MyFitnessPal.
6. Find a new fitness gadget like a Fitbug, Fitbit or JawboneUp. Trackers can help you keep track of your exercise and can even influence physical activity–for the better. You’ll be surprised when you learn it takes thousands of steps to go to the coffee shop three times before lunch.
7. Take public transportation this month. Walking to the bus stop to your office and back, up and down the subway stairs, and even standing on the subway will all burn additional calories and activate your leg muscles.
8. Pick up a motion control video game. Games that get you moving and grooving, like Nike Kinect and Wii Fit, may not be super high-intensity but they can be a decent alternative when the weather is bad, or there’s not enough daylight to exercise outside. Include the kids for some fun, quality family time.
9. Set a time to turn off your electronic devices. Getting enough sleep is crucial to overall well-being but being connected until bedtime can interfere with sleep. Turn off your TV, computer, or mobile device at least one hour before closing your eyes.
10. Walk & talk, or watch TV. On days when you just don’t have the energy to go for full-blown workout, take a walk while you catch up on phone calls, or cruise on a treadmill while watching a tv show on your mobile device. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to crank out a 60-minute inclined hike while binge-watching your favorite series. This is one of the best ways of being active while feeling lazy.
So bundle up, batten down, and bust these moves to take the ‘No’ out of November!
The MyFitnessPal Team
Do you have any helpful tips to make the most out of November? Tell us about them in the comments below and on our Facebook page!