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Yoga For Busy Moms

Since yoga has migrated to the West from the East over fifty years ago, the research has shown that it can improve ones health drastically. Now that the trend has caught on, you can see studios opening up everywhere like a Starbucks. But for busy moms, it can be quite challenging trying to balance home life and personal time. So is there a way for busy moms to still gain benefits from the power of yoga?

Making It To A Yoga Class Can Be Tough

While in an ideal world you would be able to make your way to a yoga class, the truth is that you just may not be able to find that time. Depending on where you live the travel time can drastically reduce your ability to make it there. For those living in major cities, one yoga class can take up to three hours of their day when you consider all the time spent. So are there any alternatives to having to physically go to a yoga class?

Online Yoga Videos

With our Internet technology constantly improving, more companies are now offering their yoga classes online. This is a great way to be able to take a guided class without having to deal with all the traffic of getting to the physical studio. Many of the world-renowned teachers are now using the Internet as a way to connect with students and because it has become less expensive to film these classes, they now offer high quality programs online. If you just do a search for “online yoga classes” you can find a plethora available there.

15 Minutes A Day

Because yoga is generally a one-hour class (or longer) mentally speaking it can get you to think that you just can’t squeeze it in to the day. Most busy parents will have the intention of doing it and then all of a sudden the day goes by and you will think to yourself “I just can’t fit an hour of it into my schedule”. But the truth is that even 15-minutes of yoga can literally change your life.

Stress is the accumulation of improper short breathing and when you take 15-minutes to just stop and do a few asanas with proper breathing, it can break the pattern of your stress building up and is enough to at least reduce the amount you take on. While of course it would be ideal to take a full class, something is better then nothing.

Yoga Is More Then Just Asana Practice

Here in the West people associate yoga with just the actual physical practice and poses. They see someone in a “pretzel” and think, “this is yoga.” But the truth is that it is a philosophy and lifestyle. It’s about proper breathing, nutrition, and thinking which translates into a better state of health and well-being. You can still practice it without doing any of the physical asana practice just by eating properly, thinking positive, and focusing on your breathing.

The Truth About Stress

Busy moms run around with so many items on their to-do list while taking care of their child and subsequently forget to breathe! We take it for granted that we breathe automatically but when you do not breathe correctly, this is what causes stress. As noted above, short breathing is one of the major reasons we take on stress because it does not allow the oxygen to fill our lungs. If you feel stress coming on you can do a yoga technique called “fire breath” which is where you breathe deep into your diaphragm and exhale rapidly. This will help to bring oxygen back into your body and into your blood stream so that it can work its magic.

Unfortunately there is no magic bullet for busy moms who want to practice yoga. Just remember that being conscious of your breath and doing a few poses and stretches for a mere 15 minutes a day can make all the difference in the world.

About The Author

Sergio Diazgranados is the founder of Yoga Training Guide that supports students interested in taking a yoga teacher training course. The site offers aspiring teachers all the tools they need to delve deeper into their practice and become successful instructors.

*Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Scuba Diving – Fitness & Fun for the Whole Family

Planning a family vacation with kids can be difficult, as identifying activities that both parent and kids enjoy is almost impossible. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the leading scuba diving training organization, offers family-friendly vacation options so the entire clan can experience one of the most extraordinary memories together — underwater exploration!

Learning to scuba dive presents an opportunity for kids and their parents to discover things such as sunken ships, beautiful fish and reefs. They also get to build companionship, character, self-esteem, and fitness while developing a deep (pun intended) appreciation for the planet.

This Spring, introduce your family to the wonders of family scuba diving through the following fun options:

Learn anywhere there is water. With over 5,000 PADI dive centers and resorts worldwide, you can learn to dive wherever you travel. Adults can enjoy the wonders of learning to dive while children swim with dolphins!

Get certified together. While adults get their feet wet with PADI’s Discover Scuba programs, kids can learn how to breathe underwater during a Bubblemaker class and then dive into The Seal Team for action-packed fun such as underwater photography, environmental awareness and more.

Send kids on their own adventure with Kids Sea Camp. A full week of diving activities, educational programs, and PADI courses for kids at exotic locales all over the world! Click here to check out the exciting destinations that PADI has in store for 2012.

There are more than 6,000 PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) Dive centers and resorts globally, so the entire family can learn how to scuba dive virtually anywhere in the world!

*Image: think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

How Exercise Can Lead to Marital and Family Bliss in 2012

It is quite likely that you – or someone you know – decided to make getting more exercise their New Year’s resolution for 2012, either to lose weight or increase their level of fitness. But did you know that there are more than a handful or reasons as to why being more active can be beneficial to your relationship and family life?

Read on to find out more…

Exercise to Keep the Spark in Your Marriage

Exercising with your partner does not necessarily mean that you have to hit the treadmills at the gym together (“Thank God!” I hear you couch potatoes cry). Simply walking more often can be very beneficial for your health. Simply taking walks might not be enough to rekindle the closeness between you and your partner but when they are combined with seeing new places or indulging in unique experiences, exercise will help to keep your relationship fresh and away from the rocks.

Think about it; taking a long walk together through a town or district that neither of you have previously explored, or walking around a large them park for the day to ride the looping ‘coasters within is going to create far more stimulating memories for you both than watching yet another episode of The X Factor will! Boredom is one of the most regularly cited reasons a person will give for cheating on their life-partner and so keeping things interesting is imperative for the survival of your marriage.

And because exercise actually provides people with more energy (thanks to endorphins) and will improve the fitness levels of you both over time, you can almost guarantee that sparks will begin to fly – or fly more often – in the bedroom too.

More Exercise Means Less Arguments

As previously mentioned, exercise sees endogenous opiod peptides called endorphins released into the body. Endorphins are produced by the brain’s pituitary gland and act like a natural morphine, producing a feeling of well-being in both the mind and body. It should be obvious then, that those who exercise regularly tend to happier individuals. When people do not exert enough energy – and become unhappy as a result – they are less open to the viewpoints of other people and this can cause friction between them and their spouses, friends and/or family members.

When a person is low in endorphins, their brain can actually force them to be moody and argumentative in order to help their body realise extra feel-good chemicals. Endorphins are also released when pain is felt; whether this pain is physical or emotional. Although some endorphins will be released into the bodies of those involved in a full-blown – and probably loud – row, obviously exercise is far healthier option.

If everyone in your family takes more time to attend to their fitness levels each week, rowdy disagreements are likely to occur far less often.

Exercise for Stronger Immune Systems

There are plenty of medical research papers which conclude that regular exercise is fantastic for ensuring that a person has a strong immune system. You may be wondering how this fact relates to the happiness of your family and partner. Well; people are generally quite unhappy when they are feeling unwell and so by making sure that your family members are not prone to coughs and sneezes using exercise is ideal for encouraging a jovial atmosphere in your household. Having a forever-poorly partner is hardly attractive either – humans are designed to be drawn to healthy members of the opposite sex.

Think of poor mom too – she is sure to get stressed should she have to deal with work/the household chores and a sick child or husband!

It should be noted however, that excessive exercise can actually be detrimental to the strength of your immune system so be careful not to overdo it. The recommended amount of exercise for adults is a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, whilst children should have an hour of aerobic activity every single day.

Exercise Creates Happier Children

Since children should be getting an hour of significant exercise every single day, it is hardly a wonder that the behaviour and attitude of the western world’s youth is getting progressively worse as time goes on and kids become lazier! Obviously, forcing your child to run endless laps around a field is hardly going to make them happy (unless they are actually aficionados of running) but this does not mean that you cannot introduce more activity into their lives with ease.

Setting up some play equipment in your back garden – such as a Swing-Ball set, a slide, climbing frame and/or swing sets – can see a child become more active without too much encouragement. Another good idea is to check out the after-school clubs that are on offer from your child’s school. Not only are sporting clubs great for your child’s fitness – and in many cases; their self-esteem also – but they can also provide an excellent opportunity for your child to make some new friends.

This in turn will make them happier individuals and the chances that they will get into trouble at school and/or be bullied or become a bully (read as; bring any drama from school into your otherwise-pleasant home with them) will drop greatly.

About the Author

Katrina-Beth Green – a wife and the mother of two children – is the author of this guest post. Katrina always ensures to fit plenty of exercise into her day either through hitting the gym or running around the cubby house in her garden with her kids.

*Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

New Year, New Start

If like thousands of other people across the country your New Year’s resolution was to get fitter and lose a few pounds in the New Year, but you have still not managed to make a start implementing your fitness regime, then check out these tips on how to be successful:

• Goal setting – in order to achieve success in any fitness plan there must be clear aims and goals. You can use the SMART term to help you organize these goals and make sure they are effective.

• Specific – They need to be clear and simple, such as ‘I want to lose 2 stone by the end of the year’.

• Measured – you need to be able to quantify them, so that you can accurately track your success. ‘I want to be fitter’ is not very useful.

• Achievable – there is no point in setting goals that are not possible.

• Realistic – you have to be realistic about what you will be able to complete. If your goals are too hard, you will feel like you have failed when you do not have success.

• Time Specific – making the goals time specific ensures that you are working to a timetable, and this will help to motivate you. Saying ‘I want to lose 2 stone’ is not very helpful unless you state when you hope to achieve this goal.

• Time management – time management is the most important thing to plan for each day. The best way of doing this is by setting goals for each day at the start of each week. This way you can focus on what needs to be done and you will have a clear idea of what you are doing each day. This subsequently prevents a lot of wasted time each day. It is important to have a purpose.

• Discipline and attitude – for success when following a fitness program, it is very important that you are self motivated and maintain a positive attitude; otherwise you will quickly lose interest in your goals making them a lot harder to attain. If you have a bad day or week, it is important to draw a line underneath it and try to regain a positive attitude as soon as possible. You are doing it for your own benefit and focusing on this will help you to eventually achieve your end goal.

• Fun – enjoying your fitness activities is essential to long term success. When planning your fitness regime, try to include activities that you really enjoy doing as then it will not seem like hard work.

About the Author

Abigail is a freelance writer and has written on many different subjects including Gold Prices and Britania Gold Coin.

*Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

How to Lose Weight By Setting Resolutions – 3 Tips to Get You Started Today

No matter who you are, everyone likes to set resolutions in the New Year. It gives everyone a fresh view of sorts. It gives a rebirth to make new goals with the dreams of hitting them. If the previous year wasn’t a good one, you’ll be able to look past it now. One of the biggest goals people set is to lose weight and get in shape. Most people are willing to do anything to lose weight and look great at first.

However, once it comes time to doing it by taking action it’s a lot harder. It’s one thing to keep a mental note or to grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down a goal or two. It’s another thing get on a treadmill and run for 30 minutes per day. Today you’re going to learn about what you need to do set resolutions for losing weight and how to stick to them.

Step #1:

The first thing you need to do is to create a mental picture of what you want your ideal body to look like. Go ahead and close your eyes and really think about what you’d like to look like. Picture yourself at the beach in a swimsuit. Picture yourself wearing a new wardrobe with your new figure.

You need to get emotionally involved in setting your goals so it’s important to paint the picture as vivid as possible. Think of the feelings that come with looking slender and having more confidence. Think of how people will react to you differently and how you’ll think about yourself in a new light.

By doing this, you allow yourself to really get involved with your goal. It’s almost like you can feel the new you. Once you clear your mind and come back to reality, your mind will want to do anything possible to get back there. This is when you have to take action and make it happen.

Step #2:

You need to ask yourself a few questions before you get started.

1. Do you know exactly what you want?
2. How bad do you really want it?
3. Are you willing to pay the price to get it?

These are questions that separate the “girls from the women” or the “men from the boys”. Once it comes time to really taking action you might find yourself getting a few knots in your stomach. It’s “go time” as they say. Once you’ve committed to living a healthier life it will be hard to turn back.

Because if you turn back, you’ll be going against yourself and the commitment you made. No one wants to lie to themselves. No one wants to break a commitment they made. By taking this approach you’ll really see what you need to do and if you’re really up to the challenge

Step #3:

The last step is to remember not to go too hard on yourself. When you set goals, it’s great to shoot for the stars. However, always understand that you’ll have setback along the way. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your progress and other times you’ll be upset with yourself.

Understand that you’re going on a journey. You’re making a drastic lifestyle change. It won’t always be easy but it’ll be worth it in the end. Once you understand your body and the amount of progress you can make in a specified amount of time, you’ll then be able to change things up and modify your goals.

If you follow these 3 tips you’ll see a lot of success for the New Year. You’ll be well on your way to living a happier, healthier, life. Before you know it, summer will be here again so it’s time to go take action!

About the Author

Grace Pamer is known as the love letters lady and runs a popular section called love letters for him on her Romantic Frugal Mom blog, a guide which helps couples to compose love letters for their nearest and dearest.

*Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Get Fit in 2012: 4 Tips for Keeping Your Fitness New Year’s Resolution

Numerous people usually start the New Year with good intentions. Too often the resolutions they resolved to keep hardly make it past the first week. The New Year’s tradition has been an advantage to others, in that every 365 days, they start their life anew by kicking bad habits.

What resolutions did you make last year? Are you satisfied with the way you kept them? Approximately one in five was successful; forty-five percent failed within two months of setting their New Year’s resolutions. Are you committed to getting fit during 2012? Do you know where to start? Here are four tips for keeping your New Year’s resolution:

I. Spend Some Time in Retrospect

Most of those who fail to keep their New Year’s resolution waited until the last minute and quickly decided what they would choose. As a result, their heart was not in the goal. Try starting a few weeks before New Year’s day to begin contemplating a bad habit you want to break, or good habit that you want to start.

A. Be Practical

Make your goal attainable. Breaking a bad habit means avoiding not only the habit, but also the situation, in which your bad habit surfaces. Are you inactive? Plan to work out at the gym, ride a bike or walk. Eating more nutritiously could be as simple as planning your meals more carefully.

B. Plan Toward the Future

1. Hastily made decisions will be established on your perspective at the moment. It may not be the best goal this time. If it is too late for planning this year, pick another date — the first of next month, your birthday or another meaningful date.

2. Plan of Action: Put your plan on paper. A small notebook can be kept with you at all times for note taking. Jot down all the resolutions that come to mind. The one from last year that you could not keep is probably not a good one for this year. Think about the main goal that you want to achieve during this New Year.

Instead of “getting fit,” break the goal down and concentrate on changing that one habit. Resolve to spend more time in healthy activities, or to eat more nutritiously. Do not attempt to do too many things at one time. A small goal overcame is a start on a large one.

Make a list of pros and cons

This list can be developing all year long. Make it a part of your journal and bring it up to date often, even nightly. A visual list of details will help keep your motivation dynamic.

Keep the list with you, preferably in the small aforementioned notebook, to help you keep your resolve. This is important because wintertime is often a time of languor, when we all are waiting for spring to arrive so we can get outside and enjoy outdoor activities. Winter is a rough time to make drastic changes in life-changing behavior, so keep that list of ambition handy.

Plan to avoid temptation

Decide ahead of time how you will handle the temptation to break your resolution. Determine how you will not put yourself in the situation in which temptation could win out. Jot it down in your notebook. Perhaps calling on an understanding friend or reminding yourself how your bad habit affects your health and/or well-being will strengthen your resolve. Another idea is to practice self-talk or positive thinking.

II. Resources

Sometimes we fail because we lack knowledge of the problem that we are trying to overcome. Do you know how to get fit? You can find resources to help you reach your goal. There are books at the library, e-books and articles online and you can always talk to the manager/owner of any fitness center. You can also talk to friends who have attained their goal of getting fit.

Take advantage of free resources. Get weight loss tips online for advice on how to get fit and use a weight loss calculator to find out exactly what you need to do to lose your target weight.

III. Talk or Do Not Talk About Your Goals

A. Talk about your goals with your close friends, relatives and co-workers. This way you can stay motivated because they will help you by reminding you of your goals. You may find it more comfortable to choose just one good friend to tell — someone who shares your resolution and you can support and motivate one-another.

On the other hand, if your close friends, relatives and co-workers are antagonistic, you may prefer not to tell them so that they will not harass you about your fitness regime or goal. Choose wisely those that you confide in, lest they sabotage your resolution.

IV. Do Not Get Discouraged

Sixty-seven percent of people make more than three resolutions. They are probably in the group that fails to keep their resolve. To have more than one resolution increases the chances of failure. More people make resolutions to start a new habit than to break an old habit. Whatever your fitness resolution, you must find the motivation to overcome a bad habit, or to instill a good one, through to 2013’s New Year’s Day. With the proper mind set and planning, you can get fit in 2013!

About the Author

Theresa M. loves helping people get and stay fit. She uses online recourses to find great new workout plans that help her stay fit and motivated.

Baby Boomers: 7 Ways to Exercise on the Cheap

Baby Boomer-supreme Jane Fonda started it all with her slinky leotard and goofy leg warmers. The one-time workout fad soon became a way of life for a generation that plans on living longer and better. Aging has its disadvantages, however, including the inability to perform high-impact aerobics or scale mountains in several bounds.

And so was born an entire industry designed to keep Baby Boomers in shape without eliminating precious cartilage or boring us stiff. As added advantages, exercisealso reduces our arthritic pain, depression and anxiety.

My personal mantra is “Pain means no gain,” so I’m always looking for low-impact workouts that don’t hurt my wallet. Fortunately, there always seems to be a newexercise trend designed specifically for my generation. Here are a few healthy yet money-saving tips I’ve learned on my journey to physical fitness (which isn’t by any means complete).

1. Go It Alone

It takes discipline to maintain your own workout schedule, but joining an expensive health club isn’t really a necessity. We tell ourselves paying for membership will force us to exercise, but the thinning crowds after January attest to the fallacy of this concept.

2. Bring It Home

More than 10 million Americans use elliptical trainers as they’re a knee-friendly cross between cross-country skiing and stair climbing. An equal number prefer a reclining stationary bike, according to Charlene Laino of WebMD. Both machines reduce stress on joints while eliminating the aching-back syndrome.

Fortunately, a lot of people buy such equipment and then use them as expensive clothes hangers. That means you should never have to buy a new machine. Craigslistis just filled with ads for home exercise equipment and some dealers offer refurbished machines. The key is to give it a whirl before handing over your cash or you, too, might end up with a pricey coat rack.

If you don’t already have an MP3 player, this should be your second investment. Nothing impels you through a home workout like hot tunes or an hour-long podcastof “Car Talk.” You can find free shipping codes for Best Buy and other retailers on such sites as FreeShipping.org, allowing you to skip the stuffy retail outlet and avoid paying for delivery charges.

3. Stay Limber

Stress is not only the province of youth; nor is muscle elasticity. Yoga helps sooth frayed nerves, improves flexibility and, not incidentally, provides a great aerobic workout. Pilates has many of the same advantages, but without all that Nirvana stuff.

There are countless DVDs and CDs to lead you through these exercises at home, but it’s important to be selective. You want an instructor who gives detailed instructions, like “keep your stomach flat,” “push away from the floor,” etc. You don’t want to fall into sloppy habits as this can lead to strained muscleswithout the desired impact.

4. Get Outside

Recumbent road bikes are fairly expensive, but you can always pick up a traditional bike for cheap at garage sales, thrift stores, FreeCycle.org or the inevitable Craigslist. If you have shoulder or back problems, invest in high-rise handlebars and have a professional adjust the bike to your body shape and size.

Naturally this is a fair-weather exercise, but there’s an added advantage in that you can save on gas by biking to work.

5. Walk It Off

It costs nothing to cruise the neighborhood, checking out houses for sale while listening to music that moves you. Walking regularly with a friend is a great motivator and maintaining a conversation while keeping a steady pace allows you to monitor the amount of exercise youe actually getting. An article in AARP reports overweight people who walk 30 minutes perday, five days per week, can reduce their risk of diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

For bad weather, a second-hand treadmill is a good investment and, according to the Mayo Clinic, exerts about the same force as an elliptical machine.

6. Pump It Up

My girlfriends and I used to play a garage sale game to see who could first spot a set of weights for sale. Even if you just add weights to your arms and legs when walking, you’ll increase your body strength while getting a good cardio workout.

7. Mix and Match

Performing just one form of exercise won’t ensure you stay fit. A full regimen combines strength, flexibility and balance training (the latter provided by yoga and Pilates). Mixing it up each day also keeps the doldrums away.

About the Author

Kate Forgach is a Baby Boomer consumer specialist for Kinoli Inc. She has written about senior issues for 11 years as a Cooperative Extension specialist and for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. She has been featured in USA Today, Detroit News, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Yorker magazine, “ABC World News,” NBC’s “TODAY” show and many other media outlets.

Sticking to Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

According to the Huffington Post, 40-45% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them six months later. In fact, many Americans now make New Year’s resolutions believing they will fail. A little depressing huh?

So how can resolution-makers prevent themselves from becoming one of “maybe next year” group? When it comes to the ever-popular resolution of getting fit and losing weight, beginning with realistic goals is the first step.
Resolutions should be achievable and sustainable. Running 10 miles every day for a year is probably not sustainable. Running at least one mile four days a week is much more realistic. If weight loss is the aim, people should set time-specific goals, like losing 18 pounds within the first six months. This makes the process seem much less daunting and prevents procrastination.

Below are a few more tips for actually sticking to New Year’s fitness resolutions.

Write it Down & Publicize It

Fully commit to resolutions by putting them in print and sharing them with the others. People trying to exercise more may want to tape a sign on their bedroom mirror along with motivational quotes and pictures. Having a physical reminder that says, “Yoga three times a week”, will help keep exercisers inspired. With such a reminder, it’d be difficult to look in the mirror without feeling guilty after missing a few weeks of yoga.

Resolution makers should also tell a spouse or close friend of their goal and ask for support. When people state their resolution aloud, it makes it seem more real and ensures that there will be others available for help and encouragement.

Keep Track

Getting into shape or losing weight is far from easy. It requires a lot of time and effort and the results are not always obvious. Thus, it’s important to track your progress. Weigh-ins, measurements, exercise tests are all concrete ways to gauge improvement, but there are simpler ways. Track how far you run, your mile time, how many sit-ups you can do, etc. These are great indicators of fitness level.

Keeping tabs of calories and exercise is motivating and essential to success. Use a calendar or check out many of the technological options for tracking.

Calendar

An old-school calendar is a great way to record daily exercise and food intake. There are calorie counting guides with places for each meal and lists of calorie amounts for typical foods, or if people prefer to keep it simple, use a basic pocket notebook.

Fitness Apps

Technology lovers may prefer online programs or calorie counting/exercise tracking applications for their smartphones. Nutrition apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are great for tracking calories and exercise. Using these tools will keep users mindful of the food they’re putting in to their bodies. There are a variety of exercise applications to track running, weightlifting, biking, etc. Popular apps are RunKeeper, iTreadmill, GymGoal, and Authentic Yoga.

Reward Yourself

No one is superman (or woman). Staying committed to New Year’s resolutions isn’t easy and putting in the effort to reach fitness goals day in and day-out is exhausting. Exercisers need to take time to reward themselves. After meeting that first goal of losing 18lbs by the six month mark, it’s time for new workout gear. After an especially tough workout, lock the bathroom door and light some candles for a warm bath.

Starvation and slaving away on the treadmill aren’t going to make anyone meet their resolution any sooner—they’ll demotivate and lead to failure. Take time to pat yourself on the back…or indulge in a little dark chocolate (like some authors).

About the Author

Guest author, Maggie Voelker is a health nut and science nerd with a BS in Kinesiology and Health. She lives and works in Indianapolis, IN as a content writer for a sunglasses provider. Her most recent work includes an online sun safety resource and she hopes to continue to produce health-related content. Outside of work Maggie enjoys running, yoga, live music, traveling, and (attempting) to cook.

Fitness, You & 2012 – Together at Last!

How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution that involved your fitness and your health? If you’re a female, there’s a good chance it’s probably a yearly thing. And yet, if that was all there was to it, if that’s all it took, setting that resolution once would be enough, right? Right. Instead, somewhere between January and January 12 months later, those best of intentions get lost along the way. If you’re ready to make this year stick, make this year’s goals more than just goals and instead, realities, you’re going to have to work. Work really hard. That’s all there is to it. Going to a gym is only so fun for so long. Dieting pays off and then plateaus and leads to frustration. That’s just life and reality. But! Sticking with the gym, even when it isn’t fun, and sticking with the diet to push past the plateau, in spite of the frustration, that’s what gets real results. If you’re looking for more this year, here are some tips to stay healthy and fit and avoid the February burn out.

Sign up for a Challenge

To really get yourself on track first thing in the new year, consider signing up for some sort of challenge. Gyms across the US are hosting these, and if you don’t want to pay to sign up for one, gather all your friends together and start your own! Typically there’s a variety of options, some involving a weight loss/fat loss result, an eating plan to stick to for so many days, a fitness regimen to hold to, etc. Pick what you’re most interested in, whether it be exercising every day, losing weight or even just toning up. You’re at your most motivated right now, and taking that motivation and harnessing it to pump you through a solid 30 days will go a long ways into breaking cravings and instilling good habits that can carry you through the year.

Get Involved with a Core Group

Working out with a small, core group of people/friends can help sustain you over a year. If no one knows or cares whether or not you showed up to workout today, you have no accountability and will find yourself coming up with excuses more easily and readily as time goes on. Get to know 4 or 5 women who can work out at the same time with you every day and are of similar fitness levels. You can compete against each other this way (always leads to a better workout) and push each other to reach further and go one more step every day.

Find Something you Enjoy

The gym isn’t for everyone. Spin class isn’t for everyone. Hiking isn’t for everyone. You’ve got to find something that you enjoy or you’ll quickly burn out. Whether it be swimming, tennis, team sports, group classes, dance classes, jogging, etc., find an activity that requires energy spent and make that your fitness routine! Mix it up with other activities you enjoy as well so that you have variety and keep yourself entertained. Look into popular fitness classes like Zumba if you like to dance, Crossfit if you want some weight building to go along with fast bursts of cardio, yoga if you want to build up flexibility and core stability. Do some research, there’s bound to be something out there that will keep you fit and that you enjoy.

Plan it In

If your workouts are in any way an “extra” you’ll “try” to get in for the day, chances are very good that they won’t happen. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day, generally not enough, and when it comes to prioritizing, if your workouts aren’t scheduled in like everything else that you wouldn’t consider optional, they’ll likely be the first to go. Pencil them in your day planner like you would a doctor’s appointment, a meeting with a client or your long-anticipated hair appointment. If you have the time blocked out and know that you’ve found a way to get everything else planned into the day around it, you’ll feel better about going and getting your time in, knowing that everything else is taken care of. You might even find yourself relishing your workout time as just “you” time.

Build in Rewards

In addition to feeling fitter, having more energy and sliding into those skinny jeans, sometimes it helps to have tangible rewards. Starting at the beginning of the year, plan out an entire year’s worth of rewards. Yep! Here’s the catch, they’ve got to start small and get grander and they have to be really good towards the end. This will keep you focused and motivated even when you want nothing more than to take a break. Knowing if you make it to the end of the month (x) happens. Make it to the end of March, (xy) happens, make it through August and (xyz) happens, etc. Knowing what the reward is, knowing the deadline to get to it, and knowing that if you can make it an entire year, you’ll treat yourself to something amazing can sometimes be all the incentive you need.

You Can do Anything!

Remember that the longer you do something, the more of a habit it becomes and the easier it is to do it. So, even when it’s the last thing you want to do, do it! Next time you don’t want to do it, it’ll be that much easier! You’ll always feel better after a workout, that’s one of the best parts. And, let yourself realize that life happens. Things get in the way. If you get off track, don’t worry. Just get back on as soon as you can and use the break to give you incentive to work twice as hard. There’s no failing as long as you’re trying, so just keep trying! You will feel better, you will be fitter, and you will be benefiting your health in more ways than you can count, even if you can’t see any difference. Improved immune system, a longer life, less heart problems, these are just a few of the countless ways your body will thank you for treating it to regular fitness and healthy eating!

About the Author

Writer Jocelyn Anne writes full time for Air & Water and reaches out to guest blog on fitness and healthy eating every chance she gets. She currently does Crossfit and eats a Paleo diet, both of which she loves and looks forward to every day!

Seven Holidays to Help Get You Fitter Than a Fiddle in 2012

The health warnings come in thick and fast, especially at the turn of the year, and they all say the same thing; our lifestyles are way too sedentary. If flicking the remote takes major motivation, and a climb up the stairs feels like tackling Everest then you know it’s time to make some changes. Being unfit sucks, big time, but when most of your waking hours are spent in work and tearing your hair out in desperation during the daily commute, there’s just no room in the schedule for some body beautiful me time. Yes, you can try and slip into a gym, but workouts can be pretty monotonous and gym memberships can seem expensive, especially post-Christmas.

So if you’re tired of looking at your jelly belly and are keener than mustard to lose those love handles, what can you do? How about getting away from it all on a holiday that’s going to invigorate and exercise mind, body and soul.

A holiday is the perfect time to keep fit. Why? Because you have loads of it, so there’s no excuse to blame inactivity on a packed schedule. It’s not about getting ripped and sculpting the kind of body that will grace the cover of a magazine (unless you want to); more it’s about priming your body to feel rejuvenated and full of energy.

Here are seven great ideas of ways to get fit and have fun on your holiday so you are bootylicious once more:

1. Cruise the world – turn up the adventure dial to eleven and set sail on voyages of discovery. Not only do sailing holidays allow you to take in some breathtaking scenery but you’ll be enhancing your fitness levels as well. The primary benefits are your cardiovascular health, and a good old muscle work-out, as they are flexed and toned to perfection. Remember, the more wind the greater the workout.

2. Have a holiday on the piste – skiing and snowboarding are not only spine-tingling adrenalin-pumping fun, but they are tailor-made to giving your body a fitness upgrade. In addition to the healthy looking sun-kissed glow, time on the slopes, no matter your skill level will give you a great cardiovascular workout and exercise all your major muscle groups.

3. Walk, don’t run – walking is quite simply one of the best exercise disciplines there is, and doesn’t require any extra equipment than your own humble legs. It strengthens and builds bones, burns fat and calories, strengthens the heart, boosts immunity, and helps us to sleep soundly. And if you are carrying a rucksack with you you’ll be building your upper body strength as well. Walking holidays will not only enhance your general levels of fitness, but they feed your mind with wonderful experiences from all the fascinating places your two feet take you to.

4. Spinning your wheels – almost everybody can ride a bicycle and getting on yours is a wonderful opportunity to explore new areas. Whether mountain biking, off-roading or taking long leisurely day tours, a bike can benefit you in so many ways. It helps to build and maintain muscles and joints, promotes weight loss and is good for the health of the heart and lungs. And that’s just for starters!

5. Perfect your swing – a golfing holiday can be enjoyed by all ages, and is an easy way of keeping fit. Although it is a lower level fitness pursuit there are still a number of key health benefits. It’s good for bone strength, and will speed up your metabolism.

6. Riding the waves – if lying face down in the sand isn’t your thing, get active in the sun and have a blast with a challenging pursuit. Wax down your surfboard and get some big air. The health benefits include increased strength and coordination and improved cardiovascular fitness

7. Saddle Up and reap the benefits – a few days in the saddle will reveal muscles you never knew you had. It’s not just the horse that gets a good workout! Whether you try dressage, endurance riding or a little saunter on your equestrian holiday, your body will benefit by having its dorsal and abdominal muscles strengthened, and coordination is also greatly improved.

About the Author

Paul is an avid traveller with a passion for sharing his global experiences online.