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Staying on track with fitness and nutrition is difficult at any age, and as we get older our bodies are less forgiving of cookie binges and sedentary lifestyles. The journey to renewed health is a life long commitment, but if you keep a few tips in mind, maintaining your goals and motivation will be easier to manage.
Become a Morning Person
The early hours of the morning present an opportunity for excellence. It’s a quiet time that’s free of the buzz of appointments, social gatherings and dinner parties. If you can acclimate to getting up early, a morning workout will get you feeling energized without the aid of coffee. It will wake you up and focus your motivation for the rest of the day.
Since we tend to be surrounded by the most food in the afternoon and evening, getting your workout in early will make it easier to stay on track. Since you worked so hard in the AM, you’ll be more likely to turn down platters of Christmas cookies and indulgent snacks that will diffuse your calorie burn.
Another advantage of working out in the morning is that it will improve your circadian rhythm. Working out late in the day can make your brain too excited to sleep, but a morning routine will ensure that you’re adequately tired in the evening, reinforcing a regular, healthy sleep schedule that you need to make fitness gains.
Fortify Your Meals Before Indulging
The holiday season can be very intimidating. It’s hard to say no to desserts, treats and finely roasted meats, but with a bit of forethought, you can make sure your nutrition goals aren’t totally derailed.
Before you get started on any meal, try drinking a glass of water first. Most of us aren’t getting the recommended amount of water a day, and dehydration can actually make us feel hungry. Padding your tummy with water will keep you hydrated and also make you feel fuller so that you’re less likely to overeat.
At holiday dinner parties and other events where food is abundant, make sure you begin your meal with choices that are high in protein and low in saturated fat. Eating a lot of vegetables with your main course will also net you the fiber and nutrients you need without the caloric fallout. As long as you make the majority of your meals nutritionally dense, indulging in a small treat after won’t be as affecting.
Make Exercise Fun
A lot of people make the mistake of diving head first into a strenuous exercise program they aren’t ready for. They may stick with it for a few days or even a few weeks, but ultimately they quit because the routine wasn’t fulfilling. Your workouts should be challenging but they should never be something you dread. Maintaining your motivation is all about engaging in activities you’ll actually look forward to doing in the morning.
No matter what workout you choose, it’s always better with a musical accompaniment. Music can help you push further and forget the strain of fatigue and resistance. Dance is also an excellent way to get a cardio workout that you’ll be eager to do. If you’re not much of a runner, remember that walking is just as effective at burning calories and building your cardiovascular health without being high impact.
In addition to more traditional exercises, think outside the box by trying activities like fitness hula hooping using a weighted hula-hoop. Try to experiment and find a variety of activities you enjoy so that you know you’ll be able to commit to a lifestyle of fitness.