Give Your Sleep Habits a Spring Makeover

With the arrival of Spring finally among us, most of us are also dealing with daylight savings time and the change that that brings. The longer days and waking up while it’s still dark outside can take a toll on our sleep cycle. This makes Spring the perfect time to take a good look at your sleeping habits and nighttime routine to see where some tweaks can be made to improve your sleep this Spring and beyond.

So take note: are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night? Do you toss and turn or do you sleep peacefully during the night? Do you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning?

Sleep deprivation and sleep problems are incredibly common, so chances are you struggle with at least one of those. Here are a few ways you can overhaul your sleep patterns and habits this spring and beyond:

Implement a calming bedtime routine 30 minutes to an hour before you hop into bed. Try going tech-free at least 30 minutes before bed and see what a difference it makes on calming your mind and how you sleep more peacefully.

Try stretching before bed, even just a few stretches on the floor beside your bed before you settle in for the night. Small stretches to stretch through your muscles and help them relax the stress from the day away. This also enables you to get back in your body and keep your mind from floating around from thought to thought as you try to drift away to sleep.

Aside from ways to help you get to sleep, ideas to help you wake up refreshed are also great to implement right now. Start by looking up some healthy morning tonics or smoothies on Pinterest and finding one that piques your interest. Try that starting this week in the morning and use that as afew minutes to yourself to wake up and start your day. If possible, incorporate some movement for 10-15 minutes to get your blood pumping. This could be a walk around the block, doing a few yoga poses, or something more vigorous, if you’re up to it in the mornings.

The new year brings resolutions to finally go to the gym regularly and to get your health in order.  It’s no surprise to you to hear that the vast majority of those resolutions are dropped by spring (or even late January, early February!) — but why?

I truly believe it is planning.  It’s the exact reason why my exercise routine goes dormant, and it’s probably why yours does too.  It’s tough to change our habits and routines, and most of all, it’s hard to fit one more thing into our schedule.  Don’t you agree?

That’s the thing.  If it’s not on your schedule, it’s not going to get done.  Do you have your exercise, whether it be walking, jogging, yoga, dance, a workout at the gym — is it on your schedule?  Is there a time for it, where you know that time is carved out?

If not, fit it into your schedule this week.  Make it achievable — if you’re slammed at work this week, write in a 15-minute walk on your lunch break.  Don’t give up altogether because you don’t have an hour and a half to hit the gym.  Good luck!

What’s your favorite type of exercise?

Do you love yoga, Pilates, running, walking, swimming?

Have you found an exercise you don’t dread doing, and that you actually enjoy?

My favorite form of exercise is:  running.  I love cycling and yoga too 🙂

When I finally realized I didn’t have to do all the other kinds I dreaded, I stopped making excuses and actually looked forward to my exercise time.  Eliminating the exercise types you don’t enjoy and focusing on the ones you love shifts your perspective of working out altogether.

There are so many options to choose from, you are bound to like at least a few.  It’s perfectly okay if you aren’t a cross-country runner, or you just haven’t gotten into yoga like everyone else has.

My least favorite type of exercise is: lifting weights in the gym.

Finding what works for you is as simple as trial and error.

Which exercises have you tried that just absolutely aren’t for you?

The sun goes down before 6 pm, it’s cold and grey, and it can really mess up our groove.  Does this happen to you, too?

This is a huge reason New Year Resolutions are so popular.  It can be quite difficult during the coldest months when we naturally go into hibernation mode.  The Winter Blues are very real, and chances are you’ve dealt with them yourself.

Instead of letting the blues get you this year, try these tips to stay on top of them until the sun comes back out this Spring.

  • Find some sort of exercise.  Even if it’s a stroll around your apartment building or a 10-minute workout on YouTube.  Keeping your endorphins happy a few times a week will help with the slump.
  • Find a way to give back.  Helping people in need is a heart-swelling opportunity to shift our perspective and do something great with our time.
  • Be mindful of the season.  If you know you get the blues this time of year, make decisions with that in mind so that you can set yourself up for success.

What have you noticed that helps you crawl out of the winter blues slump?  Let me know in the comments below.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bloating

Even with all those holiday meals

The comforting food of the holidays is something most of us look forward to every year. Those same meals are typically very filling and bloating, leaving you feeling sluggish. But there are ways to beat that bloat for the holidays. Here’s how to win the battle with the bloat!

Stay hydrated. Part of the problem when you feel bloated is that you’re not flushing out your body with water. On top of that, it’s tough to tell the difference between hungry and thirsty. If you drink enough water, you’ll be less likely to overeat.

Walk it off. Before you fall into that food coma, get up and go for a walk around the neighborhood. It helps you digest your food plus the fresh air will do you some good!

Eat with mindfulness. Another advantage to drinking enough water is that when the holiday meal is served, you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Coupled with chewing slowly and taking your time during the meal, you won’t feel that post-meal bloat.

Choose fruit. Between meals, it’s tempting to dig into the holiday platters and other goodies. But if you truly want to save room for Mom’s special apple pie at the big dinner, snack on fruit when you feel hungry. Fruits with more potassium are best to battle the bloat. Think bananas — yum!

Go pro. Probiotics that is. Start ahead of the holiday season by eating foods that are naturally probiotic. Try Greek yogurt, or if you like to spice things up, give Korea’s famous side dish, kimchi, a try. Probiotics help your natural gut bacteria do what it’s supposed to do. Getting it ready for the big meals ahead will help keep you from puffing up. Fill up on these holiday eating tips and you should find that this time around, you won’t feel more stuffed than the holiday turkey!

Do you have a natural tip to help with bloating?  What do you do?

Ways to Finally Create an Exercise Habit That Lasts

Our New Year’s Resolutions — we say them with the best of intentions. We may even begin delving into them, trying to better our lives. Then it happens. Somewhere around February or March, everything peters out, and you realize you’ve yet again fumbled your resolutions. So before your resolution to prioritize your health gets put on the back burner again, let’s talk about some ways to make your resolution to exercise more stick this year!

You need a ritual. It is said it takes three weeks to make or break a habit. So for the next three weeks, create a routine that is ritualistic around that exercise. Do it at the same time every single day. For example, maybe every day after you eat lunch, take a 10-minute walk around your office building. You can build from there but creating that good exercise habit is what’s going to make it stick. Also, who doesn’t want to get away from their desk for 10 minutes, right?

Start simple. If you focus on something smaller, chances are you’ll be more willing to take more significant steps toward your goal. So say you decide you’ll do 2 minutes of squats at your desk while you’re on hold. Guess what? You’ll be more likely to exceed 2 minutes. And you’ll be even more likely to keep doing it every day. Keep coming back. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. This is the law of kinetic energy. By this logic, if you keep yourself moving and driving yourself to stay active without missing your exercise, you will keep doing it.

Build your exercise habit. Once you make it as necessary in your mind as those other habits you have, you’ll find that you can’t miss it. Developing a lasting exercise habit is so vital for our health and well-being. If you take the time to nurture this ritual each day, you’ll find that you won’t want to miss your exercise.

What’s your favorite type of exercise? I love to run, walk, ride my bicycle, and do yoga.

Start Your Day Right This Fall

There’s just something magical about the autumn breeze that ignites a desire to enjoy life a little deeper — do you agree? It’s a perfect time to make some changes you’ve meant to make, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite morning habits to implement as fall begins — ones that I may have been a bit lackluster with during the summer months.

Starting off the day with movement. A morning jog or walk in the cool air is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and fill up your energy reserves for the day. There’s a short window of time to enjoy this before the weather gets too cold, so don’t miss out! You can work-out indoors if it’s too cold already, but doing so outdoors has quite a magical tone this time of year.

A warm breakfast. When you come back in from your morning run or walk, nothing is more soothing that preparing yourself a hot, healthy breakfast to enjoy. This can warm you back up from being outside and allows yourself a healthy breakfast to keep you satisfied until lunch.

Sleep in just a little longer. Hopefully, you’re getting enough sleep at night already, which is incredibly important for your well-being. But as the temperature drops and the sun rises a little later in the mornings, get a few extra minutes of sleep as well, if possible.

Drink your water. Begin your day with a big glass of warm water and some lemon to give your metabolism a boost and feel energized instantly. Doing so also starts the habit of drinking water, so you’ll continue to drink throughout the day.

What are your current morning habits, if any? I start my day feeding and walking my Boxers, then I read a few devotionals.  I really love the First 5 app.  A few days a week I go for a run with a friend.  I also like doing Yoga at home in the morning – Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials is my favorite.  I cannot wait for the temperatures to get a bit cooler and enjoy more time time outside in the morning. Florida summers are brutal.

Give your morning routine a refresh this fall, and kick-start your new healthy habits to gear you up for an incredible rest of your year. Being intentional with your time is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Get a Metabolic Makeover

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Fitness Week 3

daniel plan essentials cover fitness

4 factors that influence metabolismThe topic for session 3 is Get a Metabolic Makeover.  Metabolism is how your body turns what you eat and drink into energy.  There are 4 factors that influence metabolism :

  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Lifestyle
  • Exercise
  • Specific dynamic effect (how much food you eat)

Your basal metabolic rate is basically how many calories you burn carrying out basic life functions.  It is made up of several factors including your size, how muscular you are, your sex, and your age.  Increasing muscle increases your basal metabolic rate.

Lifestyle refers to how active you are.  Do you sit all day at work?  Can you take stretch breaks every hour or so or maybe a short walk?  Even a minute or 2 of standing every hour or 2 will help burn more calories.  I like to walk during my breaks at work and try to get up and stretch every hour or so.

You should try it fit in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.  I usually follow a workout DVD and run.  You could walk, swim, bike-anything that gets your heart rate up.  Aerobic activity is a great way to burn fat.  I especially like interval training.  That is the method I follow when I run:  2 minutes of running followed by a minute of walking.  Running is high intensity and walking is lower intensity.  Interval training is also part of some of the other workouts I do like 21 Day Fix & Insanity Max 30.  It can also be something as simple as walking fast for a minute then slowly for a minute.  You could also bike quickly for a minute then slowing down to a normal pace for a minute.  I am using 1 minute intervals for the examples but you could do longer or shorter intervals and do different activities.

Resistance training builds muscle and will lead to a higher metabolism.  Muscle burns energy.  You can lift weights, use resistance tubing, or do body weight exercises.  This is a great 30 minute routine that you can do at home a few days a week with no equipment.

Skipping meals affects your metabolism.  I try to eat every few hours during the day.  That helps keep my body burning calories 🙂

The fitness tip of the week is shadow boxing.  This actually reminded me of some of my workouts in Insanity Max 30.    What a fun way to burn calories!  It can be done almost anywhere.

The food tip of the week is a post workout smoothie made with superfoods.  I have never tried adding coconut water to a smoothie.  I drink coconut water after my long runs and really like it.  I cannot eat Greek yogurt due to my dairy sensitivity and would need to skip that ingredient.  I use vegan Shakeology in my smoothies.  What are some of your favorite fruits to add to smoothies?  I always add a banana and love adding strawberries and blueberries 🙂

Ephesians 5_29

The Bible verse I am memorizing this week is “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.” – Ephesians 5:29

Have you made any changes to your fitness routine since you started studying the Fitness essential?  I decided to end the year doing 21 Day Fix so I would be well prepared to start The Master’s Hammer and Chisel in January.  I am going to keep running and am signing up for a few more half marathons in 2016.

Health & happiness,

Kim

 

Discover Movement You Enjoy

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Fitness Week 2

daniel plan essentials cover fitness

sittingThe topic for session 2 is Discover Movement You Enjoy.  This is very important because if you don’t like the exercise you are doing then you probably won’t continue to do it.  It should be part of your lifestyle, not just something to do to help you lose weight.   In the past people were more active and didn’t need to schedule exercise.  They moved a lot while working and caring for their families.  Now many are sedentary.  Sitting has become the new smoking.  For those that have sedentary jobs, myself included, we need to get up and move every hour or so.  Setting a reminder on your computer or phone can help you remember to get up and move for a few minutes.  You can stand up & stretch for a minute or 2 then sit back down.  Taking the stairs, not the elevator & parking further away and walking can help lessen the effects of sitting a lot during the day.  These steps will add up!  I also like to use my breaks and lunch do walk some and walk my dogs a few times a day.  That movement is in addition to my regular workout of running or dancing to CIZE in the morning.   I am trying to decide what workout to start in January.  I think I will get back to adding strength training with running–maybe ChaLEAN Extreme or a new program The Master’s Hammer & Chisel.  That program will be available next week…I might be buying an early Christmas gift for myself 🙂

Exercise can be fun!  It should be considered PLAY 🙂  Below is an acronym that was mentioned in the reading and video.

  • Isaiah 40_31Prayerful movements.  Ask for strength during your workout or to start a workout.  You can even reflect on a verse while walking, running, or doing another exercise.
  • Lengthening.  Hold different stretches for 30 seconds.
  • Aerobic Activity.  Do jumping jacks or another movement that raises your heart rate.
  • Youthful Strength Training.  Do a bodyweight exercise.  There are many that can be done in the workplace.  This is one I found on Pinterest that has several options.

Set a goals for yourself this week.  Make sure it is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound.  We all have different abilities and interests.  What are your goals?

The food tip of the week was to make spa water by adding in fruit and ice to a pitcher of water.  I drink a lot of water plain but this can be helpful when you want something a little different.  What fruits do you add to your water?  Do you have any recipes to share?

The fitness move of the week was to use the stairs to get more fit.  A few examples of workouts included pumping arms while going up the stairs, going up the stairs laterally  and squatting at each step, and lunging up the stairs.  Think about how much stronger your legs will be by adding in a few of these recommendations each day.

The Bible verse I am memorizing this week is “You made my body, Lord; now gPsalm 119_73ive me sense to heed your laws.” – Psalm 119:73

Share the exercises you are doing this week and if you’ve tried anything new.

Health & happiness,

Kim