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Habit Changes for Better Health

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Everyday Habit Changes

I thought staying in shape was hard enough in my twenties. Now I'm in my 30's with 2 kids, and it's like my body has shut down on me. Sadly, I fear we're not finished. I've always been a decent eater and a moderate exerciser- just enough to feel like I accomplished something, but not quite enough to make a significant difference in my appearance or overall health. It wasn't until recently that I started to care about my health outside of my size and weight. I wanted more energy and to just feel better from the start to the end of my day. After reading a bit and talking with people I trust, here are the habits I am building so that I can do both.

  • Exercise 3-4 times a weeks. Rather than fitting in an odd workout here and there, I started trying to schedule 3 to 4 solid workouts. In addition to good exercise, I started stretching before and after aerobic exercise. Also,I make sure to warm up and cool down during exercise- for example, if I'm running, start and finish at a brisk walk instead of running immediately. This gives your muscles a chance to warm up and cool down, and you're less likely to pull muscles. On a practical note, I have learned it's easiest for me to exercise before my small children get up. That way, I can be done and be on "mommy patrol" come 7am. I am a much better mother if I can work through my morning funk prior to seeing those sweet faces.
  • Limit caffeine intake. This is a hard one. Yet we all know that water is so much better for you. I have allowed myself a coke a day, but otherwise, I am trying to drink water.
  • Eat healthily. You know the drill: low fat and low calorie is best, without obsessing. I have friends who eat low fat and low calorie all week, but come Sunday, it's "free!" That way they are well-balanced 6 days of the week and still have 1 day to splurge. I am better at the moderation route, with few splurges. Do what works for you.
  • Develop good ergonomic posture. This one surprised me, but how I work affects how I feel. So, don't slouch, never bend or cock any part of you awkwardly. Usually this means you need to adjust your workstation to fit you better and move all essential items within easy reach. I love ergonomic desks and chairs that allow you lots of room for customization. This also means not straining your shoulder to reach in the back seat to retrieve a lost sippy cup while driving...ahem. Our shoulders are worth a few minutes of toddler impatience.

Just by treating my body better and practicing good ergonomics, my body already feels fewer aches and pains and much more energetic!