If you have a spring vacation planned, will attend a summer wedding, or have another short-term fitness goal, you may be like most other people who find it easy to stay motivated for a short time but falter with maintaining healthy habits year-round. It’s perfectly normal to stay on track for a short amount of time and then struggle to keep up your healthy eating and working out habits. But, it also can be the norm to continue those habits throughout the year if you follow our tips.
- Continue to Set Short-Term Goals
It may seem counterintuitive to set short-term goals when you want to be healthy year-round, but short-term goals serve as steps to reaching your long-term goals of a healthier lifestyle, fitter body, and better health. Short-term goals are much more manageable and give you the opportunity to celebrate progress and success rather than getting discouraged when it takes a long time to reach your ultimate health and fitness goals. The key to setting short-term goals is to continue to set them as you reach each milestone and to make them as specific, realistic, measurable, and attainable as possible.
- Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine
The best way to develop and maintain an exercise routine is to make it a habit. Some researchers believe it takes 21 days, or three weeks, to develop a habit, while others claim it takes 66 days. Either way, you need to stick to a daily exercise routine to create healthy habits and stick to them. This means taking the stairs in lieu of the elevator at work, walking during work breaks, doing lunges while watching your favorite television show, and taking your dog or kids for walks around the block each night.
Simple daily activities such as these will add up, but it’s also a good idea to get into a workout routine for at least 30 minutes per day four or five days per week. To stay motivated enough to stick to your exercise routine, make it fun by changing your activities to match the seasons. During the summer, swim and play in the pool with your kids, set up neighborhood badminton and baseball tournaments, and go kayaking and canoeing. In fall, go for hikes to search for leaves and acorns and go for long bike rides with friends and family. In winter, join an indoor volleyball, basketball, dodgeball league at a fitness center or YMCA. Get into nature by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter, too. When spring begins, start walking the neighborhood and look for buds on trees, robins, and other signs of the season.
- Improve Your Nutrition
It’s easy to eat fresh vegetables and fruits during the summer and fall when they are in season, but it’s harder to find good produce during the offseason. One way to remedy this situation is to join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm share program. Local farmers will supply you with produce for as long as possible throughout the year, and many have greenhouses and use other farming methods that allow them to produce fresh food nearly year-round. Eating fresh produce from local farmers is one of the best ways to improve your nutrition, and you’ll be able to rest a little easier knowing who is growing your food, where they grow it, and how they grow it. CSAs also are incredibly convenient, as most farm groups deliver boxes of seasonal produce directly to you.
If you find that you continually fall off the nutrition wagon, help yourself by ridding your home of junk food and having healthy snacks on hand at all times. Keep crisp, crunchy celery and carrot sticks in the refrigerator and grab them when you crave potato chips. Have Greek yogurt and frozen fruit on hand to make smoothies when you crave a milkshake, or blend frozen bananas with dark chocolate and coconut milk to make flavored banana ice cream or milkshakes when you crave a sweet treat.
Staying healthy year-round is within your grasp if you continually set short-term health and fitness goals, add exercise to your daily routine, and improve your nutrition.
Image via Pixabay by Alexas_Fotos
Guest post written by Paige Johnson from LearnFit.org