Affordable Ways to Improve Your Health on a Daily Basis

Adding new healthy habits can feel daunting. Being inundated with the latest eating plans, the newest organic superfood drink, trendy gym classes — it can all be a lot. On top of being overwhelming in general, these things can add up in price. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that way, and today I’m including seven ways that you can improve your health for little to no cost at all.

Be Physically Active
You don’t need a gym membership or personal trainer to move your body. There are loads of free resources on the internet for workouts that you can do at home with no equipment at all. You can also go for a walk or run outside when the weather is nice. If you wish, you can invest in minimal equipment, such as resistance bands, to increase the intensity of your at home workouts without breaking the bank.

Intermittent Fasting
Lately, many scientific studies have been demonstrating that intermittent fasting can give you tremendous health benefits. You can choose a split that works best for you and your schedule, but the most common breakdown is an 8-hour eating frame and a 12-hour fast. This isn’t just great for weight and fat loss; studies have shown that it can improve cell regeneration and help prevent illness. Check with your medical professional to make sure fasting is right for you.

Take Cold Showers
Cold showers can stimulate your nervous system and improve your heart rate. Try to take a cold shower first thing in the morning—not only will it really wake you up, but it can also improve heart health.

Meditating is good for both the body and mind. Take time to meditate each day, and you will notice a dramatic decrease in your stress levels, which not only makes you feel happier and more relaxed but also improves your physical health. When we are stressed out, our bodies release too much cortisol— our stress hormone— which can increase inflammation and have negative effects on our physical health. By de-stressing, you can take care of your mental and physical health.

Practice Your Breathing
Take some time each day to completely clear your mind and focus solely on your breathing. Practice taking slow, deep breaths instead of the short and shallow breathing that we often unconsciously do when we’re feeling stressed. This can also be part of your meditation practice.

Drink Enough Water
Water is the healthiest thing you can drink —and it is free. Make sure you’re drinking half of your body weight in oz of water each day and make it a habit to drink a big glass first thing in the morning. If you want to do a little extra, you can have a cup of warm lemon water in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and make you feel like you started your day on a healthy note. That way, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to keep up the healthy habits for the rest of the day.

Spend Time in Nature
You don’t need to exercise outside every day, but you should spend at least 30 minutes in nature, whether you’re moving your body or just sitting in the park. Spending time in nature is fantastic for reducing stress and clearing our minds. The fresh air is good for waking you up if you feel groggy or unmotivated.

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 is your biggest goal for 2018?

Are you finally going to train for that 5k you’ve had your eye on?

Do you finally want to finish renovating your basement?

Do you hope to take a class to learn something new?

What is it?  What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

I can’t wait to read each of your goals!

My top 3 goals for 2018 are:

  1.  Running my first marathon
  2.  Decluttering my home
  3.  Completing the Horrible Hundred bike ride

Remember, goals are inspiring and wonderful to have, but if you don’t have a plan to implement them – you may end up a statistic that sputters out by the end of January.  So not only do I want you to dream up your goals for 2018, be sure you think of ways to make these goals manageable and sustainable… so that you can achieve success and reach your goals this time around.  Best of luck!

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,



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,



God’s Power, Not Willpower

Daniel Plan Essentials Series Faith Week 3

daniel plan essentials cover Faith

The topic for week 3 is God’s power, not willpower.  We learn from our mistakes and struggles.  The video was discussed our need to not just ask God for help with difficult tasks, but to also do the work.  I see this in my fitness journey.  While God has given me strength to run longer distances than I ever thought possible, I’ve had to make running part of my routine.  I cannot expect to get better at something that I don’t work on at all.  I go running to help improve my ability in this area.

The video also included 3 steps to harness God’s power:

  1. Ask for God’s help
  2. Believe He will meet your needs
  3. Make it an ongoing process

By asking God for help we are admitting that we cannot do it alone.  We must also have faith that he will provide for us.  By asking for his help frequently throughout the day we are building our relationship with Him.  This isn’t something to do once a day or once a week.  This should be done many times throughout the day.

week 3 dpThe Bible verse I am studying this week is “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-19

The food tip of the week is something I feel is very important-rainbow eating.  We need to eat a variety of colors to get different nutrients.  The recipe that was shared was for a quinoa salad, something I have made a few times.  It is a dish that you can adjust to suit what vegetables are in season and is delicious.

The fitness move of the week was meant to help with an afternoon slump.  I cannot wait to try this stretching routine and see how much it perks me up.

I hope you all have an amazing week.  Be Daniel Strong!

Health and happiness,


Decluttering week 5 (or not)

Last week I didn’t do any of the declutter assignments.  There were many reasons, primarily illness and other priorities.  I was able to keep up with most of the progress I’ve made just didn’t work through any more. Sometimes things do come up in life and we must decide what is more important.  For me last week’s focus wasn’t decluttering.

Every day, really every hour and every minute, we must decide what is the best use of our time. It isn’t always easy to make that choice and we must live with the consequences. As I look back maybe I could have taken 15 minutes and work on a kitchen or bathroom cabinet.  I could have ventured into my closet again.  But I didn’t.  It will be okay.  I will live with my decision to do other things and get back to decluttering.

I did start doing ChaLEAN Extreme again and ran a 5k on 3/7.

I started setting up and advertising a new challenge group called Fit and Lean 30 Day Challenge and was busy adding new members to the Daniel Plan group.  I accomplished a lot even if I didn’t stick to my plan.