As we head into a new year and a new decade too, the YMCA of Greater Toledo offers these tips – many that you can easily incorporate into your life – for a healthy, happy 2010 and beyond:
1. Schedule your workouts – Each Sunday, sit down and plan your exercise schedule for the week.
2. Ride a bike when possible to work to improve your fitness.
3. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators.
4. Eat only when hungry.
5. Play racquetball to get your heart going and have a good time.
6. Drink a fruit smoothie instead of a milkshake.
7. Walk to a co-worker’s desk rather than using the intercom.
8. Jumping 30 times a day will make your bones stronger, but don’t do it cold. Warm up until you break a light sweat, then jump away.
9. When eating at home, take smaller portions than usual; go back for more if you are still hungry.
10. An interesting new way to make sure you are getting enough exercise to improve your health is to count the steps you take during the day with a pedometer. The target is 10,000. 11. Give your scale a vacation – learn to listen to your body instead of a number. Are your clothes fitting better?
Do you have more energy?
12. Get the kids involved – walking, bicycling, roller blading or just playing games outside with the kids are great ways to get exercise while spending quality time with the family.
13. Join a group exercise program – Working out with other people and having an instructor lead you will help keep you motivated.
14. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables washed, cut-up, chilled and readily available for post-exercise snacking.
15. If you decide to splurge on a donut or pastry, give or throw half of it away before you start eating.
16. Gardening is a great activity that can improve your functional strength and overall health.
17. Switch from potato chips to air-popped popcorn for weekend snacks.
18. Shovel the sidewalk instead of using the snowblower, if your health permits.
19. Try In-line skating for a great cardio workout.
20. Play tennis to get your heart going and have a good time.
21. Replace your candy bar with fruit.
22. Add five minutes to your regular workout each week for a month, and you will burn more calories easily.
23. Eat at home. Studies show that meals consumed at home are usually lower in calories than restaurant meals.
24. Mow the lawn.
25. A pound of muscle takes up 3/4 the space of a pound of fat, so strength training helps you slim down even if you don’t lose weight.
26. Make chores your chance to be active.
27. Eat soup for lunch instead of a sandwich.
28. Work out with a friend or coworker – Exercising with a buddy will keep up your drive and determination.
29. Don’t eat in front of the television. Studies show that people eat larger amounts and less-nutritious foods in front of the tube.
30. Play “Twister” or other indoor active games.
31. Carry items - such as book bags, groceries and picnic baskets to build strength.
32. Leave a bite or two of everything on your plate.
33. Walk your dog.
34. Trade your breakfast bran muffin for a bowl of bran flakes.
35. Build an obstacle course in the basement or garage on a rainy day.
36. Spend as much time outdoors as possible.
37. Eat smaller but more-frequent meals to avoid becoming ravenous between meals, which can lead to eating too
much too fast.
38. Devote a portion of your lunch break to physical activity (e.g., walking).
39. Eat only what your body calls for.
40. Park the car as far away from the entrance as possible.
41. Salsa is your friend if you’re cutting calories. Put it on baked potatoes, vegetables, meat or use as a dip. It only
has about five calories/tablespoon.
42. Organize a party at an indoor ice or roller skating rink.
43. Include at least one non-starchy fruit or vegetable serving in every meal or snack.
44. Bowl to your heart’s content.
45. Maintain perspective – If you have weak moments, and chances are you will, don’t get too upset. Just stick to your program.
46. Play soccer to get your heart going and have a good time.
47. Choose whole grains over refined grains (whole-grain bread versus white bread, for example) because whole
grains are more nutritious and satisfying.
48. Join a marching band for excellent exercise.
49. Sip water or non- caloric drinks while eating and you will be able to feel the satisfied feeling easier as well as
digest your food faster.
50. Rake leaves...then jump in them.
51. Avoid beverages with empty calories such as soft drinks and “juice drinks,” which are mostly sugar.
52. Build a snow sculpture; make snow angels; build a snow house.
53. Cut up your food in smaller bites.
54. Use physical activity rather than food as a reward (e.g. family goes in-line skating).
55. Avoid “fancy” blended, sweetened coffee drinks and instead choose a latte with nonfat or low-fat milk.
56. Chop and stack wood...end with a campfire and sing-along.
57. When dining in restaurants, only eat until you are satisfied.
58. Get plenty of sleep.
59. Use a compass to map out a course - then set out on a walk, jog or bike hike.
60. Only drink water or non-caloric beverages between meals.
61. Canoe or raft for an entire afternoon.
62. Replace spaghetti and meat sauce with beef stew once a week.
63. Play basketball to get your heart going and have a good time.
64. Instead of two glasses of wine a night, drink one.
65. Ice skate for a great winter workout.
66. Eat angel food cake instead of devil’s food.
67. Skiing always gives the family a lift.
68. Switch from 2 percent reduced-fat milk to nonfat (skim) milk.
69. Jump into water sports - enjoy water walking and aerobics.
70. Order the small fries instead of the extra-large size.
71. Play ‘hot potato’ with a Frisbee.
72. Switch from an iced coffee mocha drink to a nonfat iced cappuccino.
73. Play mixed-age water volleyball.
74. Create a family video of exercise routines.
75. Take a nature hike.
76. When you are really hungry, your food will taste great, but the taste will wane as fullness approaches. Learn to
sense the difference.
77. Exercise regularly. Working out can be simple, like walking at a fast speed for half an hour or salsa dancing.
Bring a friend!
78. Eat healthier foods. Once you know what’s good for you, eating healthy is easy. Having a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t mean you have to be hungry all the time.
79. Go up, up and away with a kite-flying day.
80. Go to a driving range or enjoy a game of miniature golf.
81. Don’t use food to comfort yourself when you’re angry or sad. Take a walk or call a friend instead.
82. Go camping where you can pitch a tent, gather firewood, fish, bike and walk.
83. Avoid fad diets. Losing weight and gaining it back, or “yo-yo dieting,” can be worse than not losing it in the first place. Talk to your doctor to find the right plan.
84. Visit farms throughout the year where you can pick your own strawberries, peaches and apples
85. Feel good about yourself. Magazine and television images tell you it’s normal to be very thin and they make
normal-sized people look extra-large. Find out what the right weight is for you. If you need to lose weight, don’t be
ashamed and stay away from fad diets.
86. Invent a new dance and name it after your family.
87. Avoid fast food and fried food.
88. Plan cycling trips on safe trails by calling your local bike shop or bike club.
89. Drink plenty of water and avoid sodas or fruit-flavored drinks. You should drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
90. Limit time spent watching television programs, videos, and playing computer games.
91. Read labels carefully – sometimes “light,” “lite,” “low cholesterol,” “low-fat,” and “fat-free” products may be high in sugar.
92. Don’t skip meals.
93. Toss around as many different-shaped balls/objects as you can find.
94. Break your meals up into 6 smaller meals every day.
95. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products like bread and rice.
96. Juggle with the entire family.
97. Eat only small, single servings of foods high in fat or calories.
98. Count hula-hoop rotations.
99. Eat less sugar and fewer sweets.
100. Jump rope - practice rhythms, rhymes and tricks.
101. Drink less alcohol or no alcohol.
102. Jump on Pogo stick and count bounces.
103. When possible, choose foods whose labels say low, light or reduced to describe calories or fat.
104. Ride on a skate board (with knee, wrist and elbow pads and helmets).
105. Choose 1 percent or skim milk products and reduced fat cheeses.
106. Replace ice cream with fat-free frozen yogurt.
107. Toss balls with friends.
108. Replace sour cream with fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt.
109. Play hopscotch and organize a family tournament.
110. Make sure fish, poultry and meat are lean. Trim skin and fat.
111. Run and dodge in a “Tag and You’re It” game.
112. Broil, roast or steam foods.
113. Wash the car...enjoy an active game with the hose.
114. Drink eight glasses of water a day to help lose weight.
115. Enter and walk in holiday parades, ethnic festivals and charity fund raisers.
116. When you go fat free or low fat, you also cut out much of the taste of the foods you eat. Add the flavor back with herbs and spices.
117. Walk or bike to a nearby playground – challenge family members to try their skills swinging, crossing a
118. Stretch your meals to, at least, 20 minutes or longer. Your stomach, mouth and brain are all connected and it
takes 20 minutes of chewing before your stomach signals your brain that you are full.
119. Take a historical (or architectural) walk or cycling tour.
120. Increase your metabolism by as much as 40 percent by using hot and spicy foods such as hot peppers of all varieties and mustards.
121. Plan a “block fitness festival” including relay races.
122. Exercise is probably the most important key to increasing your metabolism and burning off excess fat. Research shows that you burn more stored fat for energy when you do aerobic exercises on an empty stomach than on a full stomach.
123. Adopt a highway, park or beach, and keep it clean.
124. Enter a “Fun Run” or a “Bike-a-Thon.”
125. Clap to the music while listening to the radio.
126. If you have a pool, invite friends over and throw a beach ball back and forth to one another.
127. Swimming is a great way to exercise your whole body.
128. Play a game of badminton.
129. Have a game of softball in your back yard.
130. Play croquet.
131. Vary your workout – Don’t do the same workout routine each time you go to the gym. Adding variety will help keep you interested.
132. Work out to music – Listening to music you enjoy while working out will make exercise more enjoyable.
133. Surround yourself with supportive people. Decide what kind of support you need. Do you want them to remind you to exercise? Ask about your progress? Participate with you regularly or occasionally? Allow you time to exercise by yourself? Be understanding when you get up early to exercise? Spend time with the children while you exercise?
134. Don’t overdo it. Do low- to moderate-level activities, especially at first. You can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your activities as you become more fit. Over time, work up to exercising on most days of the week for
135. Set realistic goals – Before you start working out, set attainable goals for what you would like to accomplish.
Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
136. Invite friends and neighbors over for some country western line dancing.
137. Run, jog and walk in a family treasure hunt.
138. Create your own Olympic events at a family reunion or neighborhood block party.
139. Limit family television/video time – Less time on the couch means more time on your feet.
140. Join the YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo.