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The holidays bring about a lot of resolutions for the coming year. Most tend to be the idea of weight loss and better overall health. Here is my healthy lifestyle holiday gift guide for those looking for some fitness and food items, including some apps that can help whether you’re young, mature, physically fit, or just ready to start.
Fitness Gift guide
You don’t need to aim to be an athlete. Moving 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise is recommended by the American Heart Association. Even 10 minute intervals of activity have been shown to be effective. Here are some suggestions:
Good shoes are essential. I got my feet measured at a running store and they suggested Asics. They work well for me and I periodically check out Amazon to find last year’s model for a lower price. Shoes should be replaced after 500 miles of use.
Jumping Rope is considered to be the first form of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a great piece of equipment that can be used anywhere, even shoved in your luggage when you travel. Getting your first Double Under is empowering and you can brag to your friends.
Resistance bands can be tossed in your luggage as well. They look innocent, yet once you get moving with them, you realize you’re getting a decent workout and your muscles will thank you when the soreness goes away.
I love kettle bells! They’re a great way to get strength training and with kettle bell swings you can do cardio as well. I have two at home. You don’t need a lot of space to use them.
nutrition gift guide
You can’t outrun a bad diet. You can burn hundreds of calories in exercise, but if your diet isn’t healthy, you’re not going to see the results you want. Here are a couple of ideas to get your started on some good nutritional habits.
Water. Your overall health depends on being properly hydrated. It helps your tissues and organs, as well as joints. The suggested intake is one half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs., you’d want to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. A good water bottle will help you get into that habit.
Portion control can help you with eating the recommended servings. It’s hard to look at food and know how much it weighs by sight alone. A food scale that measures in grams and ounces can help you learn to be more accurate in seeing the proper serving sizes. I recommend using one at least long enough to get better at eyeballing the size/weight of the food you want to eat, then periodically using it again for a few days to reinforce what you learned.
In addition to the food scale, measuring spoons and cups will help ensure you’re eating the correct portion size. The rule of thumb is to measure liquids and weigh solids.
Meal prep containers are great for batch cooking on the weekend. I used to make my lunches for the work week, in addition to saving money by not eating as much takeout, it’s stress free to simply pop one of these into your lunch bag in the morning. I use ones that have two compartments but there are others with more.
healthy lifestyle apps
There are hundreds of fitness and nutrition apps that can help you with your health journey.
My favorite is My Fitness Pal. Here you can log your food, count your calories, track your water intake, track your exercise calories, join groups and make friends. I haven’t missed a day of logging since the end of 2012 – yes, this was a New Year’s resolution. Probably the only one I’ve ever kept past the first month.
A few years ago, I decided to do more running. A lot of people run where I live and I wanted to be a part of that. The Couch to 5K app, aka C25K will get you running thirty minutes straight in nine weeks, using it three times a week. This free app starts with short intervals of running and walking and gradually increases the running time. You can still listen to your music and it will just chime in on when to run or walk.
This is the time of year when people decide to make some lifestyle changes to exercise and eat healthy. Make one small step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be making some great changes for yourself and will see the differences. Let me know in the comments below what you think is a good first step.
Happy Holidays and enjoy food and family!