Spring – where every day is a balmy 40 degrees, foggy, and there is enough moisture in the air to water a hibiscus. It also means that civilization is beginning to wander back outdoors for some fresh air as the great thaw begins to settle in. For those who work in the city, it means street vendors, spontaneous musical performances, and jumping at every opportunity to get out of the office and enjoy the nicer weather.
Spring also provides an in between period of winter and summer where we come out of hibernation and begin to refocus our free time on being active and getting rid of those unwanted winter pounds. According to a study by Johns Hopkins, the average American can gain anywhere between five and seven pounds during the winter months. Add this to a typical 40 hour work week, family, and other extracurricular activities and that those unwanted pounds can add up rather quickly.
The good news is there are plenty of ways we can integrate daily exercise into our already busy schedules and get back on track to a healthier lifestyle. Did you know, it takes approximately 10,000 steps to burn 1lb of fat? For an average adult standing 5’9”, that comes out to roughly five and a half miles! Couple this activity with a healthy diet and you have the recipe for success.
Here are 5 ways to help integrate a daily dose of exercise into your busy lifestyle and get you on track to a healthier you this spring:
Take the stairs
Stairs are the secret weapon nobody knows about. We see stairs every day and, chances are, we do not even take the time to use them. They are in our offices, parking garages, entertainment facilities, restaurants, etc.
Track your progress
How can we know that progress is being made if we don’t track our performance? There are lots of great tools to help track your daily exercise. Pedometers are a great way to measure the number of steps you take and you can find them at your local fitness store for under $20. There is also a great app for iPhone and Android called Moves that uses the technology in your phone to count steps as well – the best part is, it’s FREE.
Find a buddy
Studies have shown that those who exercise with a partner are nearly twice as motivated to continue with their routine than those who exercise alone. So find someone who shares in your fitness goals and exercise together.
Buy new shoes
It sounds crazy, but who doesn’t love getting some cool new gear? Whenever I get something new I want to use it all the time. So try jump starting your mentality with a new pair of walking shoes. You can get your daily dose of exercise and look good doing it!
Exercise requires hard work and dedication. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself after a long week of hard work. Reward yourself with a day of rest or some time off doing something you enjoy.
Photo courtesy of Dietsinreview.com
A time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. It has gotten me through the worst of times, and it has forced me to appreciate the best of times knowing that, it too, will come to an end.
In my current season, I feel the author of this passage could have added a sub-clause to say “There is a time to live with your parents, and there is a time to not live with your parents.”
As a semi-recent college grad who has a full-time job, a cubicle with my name on it, and, you guessed it, a business card, I feel hard-pressed to admit I am still dependent on the safety and security of my parents home. There is nothing inherently wrong with living at home, and in fact some would argue I should take advantage of the opportunity for as long as I can. But, as a 22 (almost 23) year old adult, it’s hard for me to feel as though I’m performing to best of my ability when I am under the same roof as my parents.
I don’t want to come across as ungrateful because I am very fortunate to be in the position I’m in. But after frequent talks with so many people who are in a similar situation, there seems to be a trend of people who have graduated and are on the lookout for the next opportunity to move back into the real world.
Why the real world?
What is it about being out on our own that is so enticing? We always hear stories of financial struggle and loneliness that accompany those who have made it out, but even still there is a good number of those still at home that would opt for the prior (financial struggle and loneliness) rather than that of living at home. Honestly, i’m not here to provide an answer. I do, however, find it critical to think about the cards we’ve been dealt and gain some insight into the season with which we’re in. I also think its important to know that being 22-24 years old, fresh out of college and living at home isn’t as rare or embarrassing as you think.
I talked about seasons – meaning stages of life.
I find it fitting that stages of life and seasons can be used interchangeably to illustrate the different times in our life. Think about it. There are unique characteristics of different seasons that make them so magical. You have the winter-y mix of snow along with sledding and other activities that define winter. Moving into spring, there is an almost symbolic “thaw” that occurs followed by the appearance of new flowers and resurgence of the color green.
You get the idea.
For me, being at home has given me the chance to reconnect with a lot of different people who I lost contact with after high school. Being at home has given me a new outlook on my family dynamic and has brought to my attention “the little things” that have gone unnoticed in the past. Since moving back home, the obvious perks of saving money on rent and groceries have not gone unnoticed either.
What are the characteristics that define your season?
I think the point at this moment shouldn’t be, “How do I move out of my parent’s house?” But, more importantly, it should fall back to what are the characteristics of my season(s). Undoubtedly, there have been, and will continue to be, many different seasons throughout this lifetime. The trick is take them for what they are and learn from and enjoy every moment we can.
I was watching an episode of The Office one day when one of the main characters said easily one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard – “Why is it that we cannot recognize ‘the-good-ole-days’ while we are in them?”
I want to challenge you to be aware of the-good-ole-days and stop looking ahead to the next season.
Global seasons repeat, life’s seasons do not.