What does it mean to live an active lifestyle? Society paints an active lifestyle to be something that involves wearing Lululemon clothing, being either unrealistically skinny or crazy buff, drinking protein powder 24/7, and turning down French fries for a salad. Now, that may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m not sure it’s all that far from the truth. On the other hand, I have a very different view of an active lifestyle that I’d like to share with you. My kind of active lifestyle is one that you can balance with going to school, a full-time job, and basically anything else in your life. It’s one that means you can eat those French fries and not feel a shred of guilt about it. My idea of an active lifestyle doesn’t even require cute workout clothing (though I will admit, cute workout clothing makes even a terrible workout just a little bit better).
For me, an active lifestyle requires work. It looks like it’s easy, being able to eat healthy and go to the gym and still live your life, but it’s actually a ton of work. Don’t let that scare you off though! An active lifestyle is 100% worth it, especially when it comes to your physical and mental health. Here are what I’m going to call Kyra’s 3 Steps to an Active and Healthy Lifestyle:
Prep your Food. Food prep is key to an active and healthy lifestyle. If I’ve learned anything in my 19 years on this earth, it’s that it is so much easier to grab some chips or a cookie than it is to wash and cut up an apple or peel some carrots. I mean, I’m lazy too sometimes, and I just don’t want to put the effort in to make my snack healthy. To combat lazy days, try having food ready ahead of time. I take two days of my week and spend about an hour each day washing fruit and cutting up vegetables so that they’re ready to go when I need them. That way, it’s so much easier to eat fruit and veggies when I’m hungry, and to leave those chips for another day. Meal prep works wonders as well—instead of stopping in at McDonalds on the way home from work, take a day of your week, plan meals, and do all your grocery shopping. That way, you know you have everything, and that with a little bit of work, a yummy, homemade dinner awaits you!Drink Water. I have a caffeine allergy. Now, I can hear all you coffee-people in the back going “oh my god, your life must suck”. To be honest, I think it makes my life better (though I really don’t know any different). Foregoing $2 for a coffee every morning saves me money to buy healthier foods, and it means I drink more water every day, which has proven benefits for activity levels, alertness, clear skin, and even brain function. My challenge to you is to put down your coffee for one week, to drink water instead, and to see what kind of a change it makes in your overall existence. After all, if I can survive a 3 hour 8am university lecture without caffeine, I’m sure you can make it through a regular week!
Get Up Off the Couch. It doesn’t take a 5km run every day to be active. According to Fitbit, to get your required 150 minutes of physical activity a week, all you need to do is take 10,000 steps every day. Now, this is coming from a lifeguard who gets 10,000 steps in a 3-hour shift, but also from a university student that has days where she gets 2,000 steps because she’s studying all day. I get it. Sometimes, physical activity seems like an added stress in your day; one of those “you mean I need to do that too?” things. Instead of thinking about physical activity as work, I want you to think about it as a stress-reliever. Going for a walk, or a run, or doing a HIIT class actually releases endorphins into your body, which makes you feel happier, less stressed, helps you fall asleep easier, and improves your mood (Mayo Clinic, 2017). I find that after a stressful writing or studying session, a run helps relax my brain, and makes me feel better because I’ve done something active*. Going for a walk with a friend gives you a chance to be active and catch up on everything you’ve missed with them. Fitness classes are great, because they give you a regulated time to do your physical activity, plus a group of like-minded people to do them with. It doesn’t take a gym membership to be physically active either—there are thousands of different types of workouts that you can do at home with absolutely no equipment!
*The university student in me also has to add that if you just really aren’t feeling homework, a solid workout will not only help you into the right mood to get stuff done, but it will also help you push that homework aside for a little while. Quite honestly, working out is the best form of procrastination you can get!
There you have it. 3 easy steps to an active and healthy lifestyle. None of them are overly difficult, nor do they require a ton of time or money. Like I said before, it’s not all about the expensive workout clothing and downing protein powder; using these three steps, anyone can live an active and healthy lifestyle. Now, get out there, my dear readers! Get out there and experiment with healthy foods, water, and physical activity. Go forth to live an active and healthy lifestyle!
At Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage, we strongly advocate flexible eating with no crazy restrictions. Flexible eating while counting macros will accomplish weight loss goals, counting macros within an intermittent fasting schedule (with no change in calorie intake) will help you maintain while counting macros within an intermittent eating schedule (while increasing calorie intake) will help with weight gain.
Kyra Droog – Lilyarider twitter