I recently received an email from Meg over at Destiny USA including some great unexpected fitness tips, and I knew I wanted to share them with y’all. I tend to focus on getting fit at the gym, but I need to keep in mind that there are also ways to increase my health with simple lifestyle changes. Here are some of our tips to keep you on track to being a healthier you in 2014 (and beyond).

1. I don’t know about you, but I only enjoy drinking water if it’s cold. So if you’re like me, then you need to prepare ahead of time and keep an insulated bottle around with you. If you don’t mind room temperature water, then why wouldn’t you just want a cute water bottle? Here’s the one I’ve been carrying around with me (Link!). Drinking cold water helps boost your metabolism, but what really matters is whether or not you’re drinking enough. So no matter your temperature preference, drink up!

2. You don’t need a stair master to be a stair master. You’ve probably heard it before, but take the stairs instead of the elevator. And that doesn’t mean just chill and ride up the escalators either.. walking up them is a quick resistance workout, and can burn up to 10 calories per minute!

3. I swear that shopping is my cardio- Carrie Bradshaw was ahead of her time ;). I’m already a fast walker as is, but if I didn’t go shopping on the weekends, I would just be sitting on the couch reading blogs and looking at Pinterest (follow me here). Just one walking session helps lower blood pressure, increases your mood, and and reduces your risk for type II diabetes (which by the way, it’s estimated that 7 million people in the US don’t know they have it). I read somewhere that a two hour shopping trip can burn around 300 calories, so put a little extra pep in your step next time you hit the mall.

4. I had no idea Panera Bread had a secret/ power food menu. I thought they already offered healthy options, but if there’s even more to choose from, I’m in! The main point that hit me with this tip was to know that you can always customize your orders at restaurants, so whether it’s asking for your veggies to exclude butter, or your chicken to contain less salt.. don’t be afraid to ask!

5. I’m currently participating in a research study examining the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball. I’ve drastically noticed a change in my posture (for the better) since sitting on an exercise ball in class, so if you struggle with sitting up straight, try this! As a physical therapy student.. I could probably write you a book about the effects bad posture has on your body (but I won’t bore you)…just know you will thank yourself later for correcting your bad posture habits now! So sit up straight and align your ears over your shoulders, practice makes perfect!

6. As a student, I sit in a chair (or ball^) for most of the day, then get home and study at my desk at night. Luckily, my teachers are pretty good about giving brain breaks. With that being said, set your alarm every hour to remind yourself to get up and moving, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. You can even add a resistance exercise (squats, calf raises, push-ups, jumping jacks, crunches.. whatever floats your boat) into the mix before sitting back down.

*In relation to the last two points, here is a good quick read.. LINK!

7. Instead of going on a date to the movies, why not suggest something more active to do together? Go skating, hiking, bowling, play a sport, whatever you two are interested in!

See, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? I hope you can take some of these tips and make small changes everyday to keep you on your health and fitness path. Let me know how you’re achieving your fitness goals!

xo Amanda

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