Shaping Up For Spring
By Susan Epstein MS, RD, CDN
The Surgical Weight Loss Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, NY
Over the cold months, most of us tend to hibernate. We put on our cozy sweatshirts and curl up on the couch with our favorite, rich comfort foods. Well Spring is around the corner and it's the time to get up and spruce up your lifestyle! The following 10 tips will help you get into shape for the Spring Season.
While at Work or at Home:
1. Don't just sit for eight hours straight, try to move while you work. If you are taking a phone call, stand up, pace around the room or walk up a few flights of stairs. In general, choose stairs over elevators whenever possible.
2. On the hour, try to take a short walk (5 minutes) or at least stand up and stretch your muscles.
3. Try tightening your abdominal muscles for a period of time every hour.
4. If you are watching t.v., walk or do jumping jacks during the commercials.
5. If you have exercise equipment, get into the habit of riding a stationary bike or walking on the treadmill while watching television.
If you want a more substantial workout, but are bored of going to the gym, try these fun activities. You won't even realize the calories you are burning:
6. Get up and walk. This is the easiest, most convenient activity. With the beautiful weather around the corner, walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors.
7. Try Tennis. Anyone can play tennis. All you need are some balls and a racquet. If you can't find a friend or family member to play with, just find a wall and have fun.
8. Biking. It's easy to find bike paths or trails if you'd like to bike for pleasure. Alternatively, you can bike for transportation, going to work or running errands.
9. Enjoy gardening/yard work. If you have a green thumb this is a great way to enjoy nature while improving your home's curb appeal and burning some calories.
10. Consider a 5K race. Join a local running group or use a 5k walking/running app to help you train. Look for a charity walk/race. This can help motivate you to stick to your training while at the same time help a worthy cause.
Now that you have some ideas for getting moving, it's time to spring clean your diets.
● Stock up on brightly colored fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen). This is the perfect time of year to look out for apricots, plums, berries, and melons. Try sugar snap peas, spinach, asparagus, and colorful peppers. Be adventurous and try something new and unfamiliar. Pick up some zucchini and make “noodles”, try some yellow squash or baby peppers for a crisp sweet flavor.
● Short on time? Purchase precut vegetables and couple it with hummus or homemade guacamole.
● Remember to shop the perimeter of your grocery store. This is where you'll find your produce (colorful fruits and vegetables), lean proteins (chicken, turkey, fish), and low fat dairy products (Greek yogurt with < 10 grams sugar, string cheese, cottage cheese, and low fat milk).
● Cook at Home. You know exactly how the meals are prepared and you can ensure a nutritious meal for you and your family.
● Watch your portions of foods. 1/4 of your plate should be a lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish), 1/4 of your plate should be a healthy carbohydrate (quinoa, sweet potato, lentils) and fill the rest of your plate with brightly colored salad/cooked vegetables. Add in some healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts) and your meal is complete.
● Remember to hydrate. This is a good time to eliminate the hot chocolate, apple cider, and lattes. Avoid high sugar juice and soda as well. Water is your best choice. Try adding slices of lemon, berries, or even cucumbers to give it a refreshing, new flavor. Remember water helps you stay hydrated, controls your appetite, and flushes out toxins.
Take advantage of today's technology to help you live a more healthful lifestyle. There are many free apps that can be very helpful in helping you reach your goals. There are water trackers that can remind you to drink, food journal and diet tracker apps, as well as exercise trackers. There are apps to help you buy healthy groceries, track your healthy habits, and even a meditation app which reminds a person to take out time for yourself and meditate.
Using these tools, choosing healthy foods, and being more active, are all great ways to spring into a healthier lifestyle! To learn more, visit: www.goodsamhosp.org