Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day

Happy Hump Day! You know how we always grumble about all those tasks we could finish if only we had an extra day? Well, this week, your wish has been granted. Say hello to February 29. Because it's Leap Year, everyone gets an extra 24 hours that did not exist last year. So my recommendation is to take advantage of the additional time and give yourself a new achievable or measurable exercise and lifestyle goal to work toward.
For example, if you've slipped off track with those New Year's resolutions, Leap Day is a great day to recommit to living a healthier life. How can you do this? Here are a few ideas.
1) Carve out time for fitness. Regular exercise can produce overall health benefits. And it doesn’t have to involve hour-long training sessions at an expensive fitness center. Go for a quick jog in the morning before you get ready for work. Instead of driving to the office, walk or bicycle. Bypass the elevator for the stairs and go for a brisk stroll around your building after lunch. Remember, muscle burns more calories than fat, so a regular mixture of cardio, flexibility and toning exercise is the best way to increase metabolism.
2) Start a food journal. Research shows that it helps to write down all food and beverages consumed throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the number of calories you are consuming. From the bagel and banana at breakfast, to the salad dressing and roll with lunch and handful of mixed nuts before dinner, write down everything you consume. You may find that the calories really add up!
3) Find some healthy, delicious new recipes to incorporate into your diet. Been wanting to test out a curry dish or make some sucralose-sweetened chocolate cupcakes? Now's your chance.
4) Recharge your drive and reflect on where you are in your weight loss or management efforts. If your motivation is flagging, write down all the reasons you originally wanted, and still want, to lose weight or maintain a healthier lifestyle.  Look at the list every day. Also let friends and family know what you're up to, and ask for their support.
5) Make even the simplest of changes. Drink another glass of water, try out yoga or re-engage with your primary care physician to understand your health status.
Don’t waste your extra day this Leap Year. Your health isn't worth the procrastination.

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