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It's the New Year, Are You Up for the Challenge?

By Hannah Alderfer, BA, CPT, FMSC, Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist

My challenge to you in 2024 - 5 things you CAN do for a healthier year:

  1. Be consistent - Focus on one workout at a time, whether it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour, 3x a week or every day, just be consistent. Commit to showing up and doing the work. When you have the time, do more, when you don’t, work hard in the time you have and be efficient. And remember, something is always better than nothing, but consistency is key!

  2. Have an active lifestyle - We all enjoy comfort but an having an active lifestyle is “N.E.A.T!” which stands for non-exercise related thermogenesis: “It is basically all of the movement and activity that you do throughout the day when not officially “exercising” – including standing, walking, even fidgeting. In fact, research suggests that individuals who move more throughout their day are more likely to reach, or maintain, weight-loss goals than those who engage in a vigorous exercise session, but are sedentary throughout the rest of their day.” (ACE, 2014) Remind yourself it’s okay to be “inconvenienced” or uncomfortable. Choose to look at it positively: “I’m going to move more today!,” instead of something that’s more work. There are lots of ways to add in movement throughout the day. Find ways to increase your daily step count, add in a set of simple bodyweight exercises during a work break, tackle household chores more frequently, or work on some mobility during your evening TV show.

  3. Choose real, nourishing food and cook as much of it as you can - Is it more work, oftentimes? Yes, but your health and the health of your family is worth it! If a diet overhaul doesn’t feel doable, try starting with one part. Many times we focus on taking away the unhealthy things, but a simple way to work on improving your diet is by adding more of the good. Start by making one more meal a week at home, doing one meal’s worth of food prep for the week, adding in more vegetables at one meal, or tracking one macronutrient such as protein intake. 

  4. Don’t forget that good sleep and recovery is just as critical to good health and improved fitness as being active is. It’s that simple, and sometimes challenging.

  5. Find ways to reduce stress. A constant increased level of cortisol is detrimental to good health. Journal, talk to someone, go out in nature, move, do some deep breathing or yoga. And if you want to know how cortisol impacts your health, check out my other blog called Hormones and Gut Health.

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