7 Ways to Incorporate Healthier Habits into Your Day

Seven hours. That’s almost 30% of your twenty-four-hour day. It’s about 50% of the time you spend awake. It’s also the time you spend sitting in a desk at school! Even more time is spent sitting at your desk at home and doing homework (at least in my case). Add that up over a week, a month, and a year… and you realize just how much you end up sitting in your life.

Sorry to be dramatic and throw a bunch of math at you (since you probably already get enough of that at school or work), but it was necessary to show you how much you sit in your life. And while sitting is nice, too much of it is boring… and not good for you! You need to get your blood flowing by standing up, walking around, and stretching.

Here are seven tips that will help you become healthier at work or at school. Use them to sit less and become healthier and happier! Print out this graphic and use it as a reminder / checklist.

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1. Take Stretch Breaks

If you’re going to incorporate just one of these tips into your routine, choose this one. It is SO important to stretch, as stretching gets your blood moving and wakes you up. According to chiropractic doctor Simon Floreani, “When muscles stay still the blood pools in the muscles, which makes you feel tired and sluggish.” So that’s why it’s hard to get up after sitting for a while, even if I’ve just been watching Netflix a.k.a. the least strenuous activity ever!

Some stretching is better than no stretching. Even if you have a super busy day, make sure to get in some stretch time, whether it’s by doing tree pose while waiting in line for your lunch, doing walking lunges in the hallway while on a trip to the bathroom, or even by crossing your legs and doing “seated pigeon” while sitting at your desk.

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Stretching during beach yoga I did a few summers ago. This stretch feels wonderful.

I often try to incorporate unnoticeable stretches during class so I can get rid of all my excess energy (probably from all the earthy, energy-rich foods I eat!).

My favorite “incognito” stretches: 

  • Seated pigeon– cross your right ankle over and on top of your left knee. Hold it for a minute or so, then switch sides.
  • Spinal twists– sit in your chair and twist to the right, then to the left.
  • Leg lifts– sit in the edge of your chair, engage your abs by tucking in your ribcage, and lift your straight legs up from the floor to chair level and back down again. This exercise is better for the back of the classroom or the office, as it is more noticeable than the others.
  • “Goddess” squat– bring your legs to opposite sides of your chair and squat just above your chair.
  • Chair pose (how fitting)- Place your feet together and hover just above your chair in a chair squat position. It should still look like you’re sitting in your chair- but you’re actually not! Hold this for as long as you can.

2. Get Your Sweat On

Even if you don’t have much time in your day to work out, at least take a walk or a ten minute stretch break (since you now know how good stretching is for you). Work out before or right after school or work. The longer you wait to work out, the harder it will be (motivation-wise).

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Getting my “sweat on” during tennis with my BFF Emily

3. Involve Your Peers

  • Get your friends and seat partners to do incognito stretches with you! If nothing else, it will give you something to talk and (maybe) laugh about.
  • Get your peers to eat healthy snacks. You can do this by bringing healthy snacks into them if you have the time and feel like being extra nice.
  • Group fitness, through clubs and classes, is great because it allows you to get your sweat or stretch on and socialize at the same time!
    • For school: Start or join the workout clubs at your school. We have a workout room that you can go to after school, as well as a yoga club, so you can sweat with other gym or yoga junkies. On this same note, don’t slack off in gym class if you have it just because you’re afraid to get sweaty. Gym is a prime way to get your sweat on with classmates!
    • For work: See if your work offers fitness classes to employees. For example, I know a hospital in my town offers yoga classes to its employees during lunch.

4. Stay Hydrated

HAVE A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. The previous sentence was in caps because it’s just so important. Having a water bottle helps you make sure that you’re drinking enough water. The goal should be for you to go through at least two water bottles full of water in a school or work day. I go through about four (two during lunch alone). I keep a water bottle in my backpack.

5. Take A Walk

Take a walk whenever you have the chance. Throw in some stretching as you walk for good measure.

6. Keep Healthy Snacks Handy

You feel better when you eat better, so stock up on healthy snacks and keep them in your backpack, locker, or desk.

My favorite healthy snacks are…

On a similar note, fuel up with a nutritious breakfast such as a green smoothie, protein-packed oatmeal, or a sweet (but healthy-ish) baked good. Good, healthy food will keep you full and ready to focus on work.

7. Take the Stairs

 

There you have it! Seven simple ways you can incorporate healthier habits into your day. Thank you so much to nuts.com for the colorful graphic! Check out their website for healthy snacks and more tips on how to stay healthy at work and at school.

Have a healthy day!
xx Ellie

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DIY Gym with Items around the House

I think working out should be FREE. That way, everyone can get into shape regardless of whether or not they have a gym membership! I’m a big fan of workouts that you can do anywhere with anything. I like running, ab workouts, and yoga because they require no equipment and you can do them literally ANYWHERE. I’ve been wanting to expand my blog for a while now to include a fitness section, because fitness plays an important role in my life AND fitness and food go hand-in-hand (work OUT to eat OUT)! So, when Kelsey from Modernize (a home design company) approached me and asked if I’d be interested in sharing a simple workout you can do at home with items you have laying around the house…I said OF COURSE! I filmed myself doing the workout so you can read how to do the exercises (below) and then do them with me! I hope you enjoy this little workout! I like it because you can do it anywhere at any time!


DIY Gym with Items around the House  By Hannah West

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Via Modernize

It seems like there are two options when it comes to getting regular exercise: join a gym or buy equipment for your own home workout room. But you don’t need to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars to get in shape. Lo and behold, there’s a third option! You can pull off a DIY gym with items that are already hanging out in your house. Your workout room may not be full of fancy machines, but it will certainly get the job done. Here are few ideas for an easy and free home gym. Bench or Chair  A sturdy bench or chair is one of the most versatile workout tools out there. Like squats with weights, chair exercises tend to give every muscle group its due attention. Make sure your chair is sturdy and won’t slide across the floor. On hardwood, this may mean installing foam flooring or a mat that grips the slick surface. DIY-ing your gym doesn’t mean skimping when it comes to safety. Once you have your chair securely in place, here are a few exercises you can try:

  • Chair Leg Raises: First, place the chair next to you, facing the same way as you. Place your left hand on the back for support while lifting your right leg as high as you comfortably can. Repeat as many times as you want before switching to the other hand/leg.
  • Leg Lift and Twist: Sit near the edge of your chair (but not too close) and cross your arms over your chest. With your back straight, lift one leg straight up while keeping the other on the floor. Rotate your torso in the direction of the leg that you’re lifting, and switch from right to left after each lift.
  • One Leg Dips: Stand with your back to the chair or bench. Stand about two feet away from it and place one foot on the chair, with the top pressed against its surface. Dip down by bending the standing leg. Do this as many times as necessary before switching to the other side.

Gallon Jugs Clean two empty gallon jugs and fill them with sand to make “poor man’s (or woman’s) dumbbells.” The advantage to working out with milk jugs versus a machine is that machines do a lot of the balancing for you, while working out with milk jugs teaches smaller, tertiary muscles that are needed for balance to work a little harder. If you need to work your way up to a full jug, you can always start with half gallons. Use your jugs for squats, curls, lunges–pretty much anything you can normally do with dumbbells, you can also do with jug weights. Bath Towel  Surprisingly, you can efficiently work out several muscles groups with nothing but a bath towel. A bath towel can work a lot like a resistance band and is great for toning if you perform the exercises right.

  • Single Leg Squat with Towel: stand with your feet together and place one foot on top of the towel. Slide the towel slowly out to the side, and slide it back in, squatting with the other leg while doing so. Do each side for 30 seconds.
  • Shoulder Hold: Grab a large towel and step on one end. With your palm facing down, grasp the towel and hold it at arm’s length. Bend your knees slightly and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the tension at 45 degrees for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. Do this set twice.

Duffel Bag If you want to get old school, grab a sturdy duffel bag that can take some abuse. Fill a trash bag with sand, wrap it with duct tape, and place it inside the bag. You now have a heavy-duty, nothing fancy workout tool. You can squeeze it against your chest and run in place. You can press it overhead. You can use it as a medicine ball by laying on the floor, lifting it from your chest, and doing a situp. These few simple items come with endless ways to get your muscles working hard. Next time you’re rushing to get to your local gym before work or watching an infomercial for an elaborate workout machine, look around your house instead–and head over to Modernize.com for more home gym ideas.


Thanks to Modernize for the workout, and thanks to you for reading! I hope this guideline helped you have a KILLER workout in your DIY home gym!

xx Ellie

How To Get A Spring Break Body

Spring Break. Those two words alone are great. Juxtaposed together, they create something magical.

One of the first things I think about when I think of spring break is the beach, probably because that’s where most people go for spring break. Whether or not you’re going to the beach, it’s (finally!) time to start thinking about summer and swimsuits!

I want to feel confident in my swimsuit (you probably do too!). A great way to feel confident is to feel healthy and strong. I feel healthy when I eat well and exercise! Eating whole, plant-based foods + exercising often = the keys to health, happiness, and AWESOMENESS.

So, my advice to you as you prepare for what will be the best spring break EVER:

1. Throw those potato chips in your lap out the window.

Or in the trash. Or flush them down the toilet. It really doesn’t matter HOW you dispose of them as long as you get rid of them! But seriously, cut the processed crap outta your diet. The excess sodium in processed foods, especially chips, causes bloating. And I don’t think you want to look like THIS on Spring Break. Choose yummy and healthy snacks instead of icky junk food that never expires. Great healthy snacks are fruit, veggies and hummus,  homemade trail mix, energy bites, veggie chips, and homemade potato chips like these! Your body will thank you if you swap the junk for whole foods! Cut the crap, and get a six-pack!*

*Well, you need to do ab workouts to get a six-pack, but eating “clean” will definitely help you get a flatter tummy and a six-pack sooner!

Speaking of ab workouts…

2. BUST A MOVE!

Work out to rock out! Exercising releases endorphins, so you always feel better after you exercise. It also leads to a chiseled body.

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Feel motivated? Well, if you’re just not motivated to work out at all, remember…

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SO put on some workout clothes and then you might feel ready to work it out!

Below are a few ab workouts that I’ve been doing for a month or two. I typically do two or three of these every other day. I’ve noticed drastic results since I started doing the ab workouts from these videos! Now I can see my abs, which I am super happy about!  If you want defined ab muscles, you’ve clicked on the right link! These videos are short and sweet. They range from five minutes to ten minutes long, so they only take up .0069% of your day! They’re fun to do because the trainer, Rebecca Louise from X HIIT, is fun and encouraging. She makes you want to do the workout. She makes you WORK HARD to GET RESULTS. You feel really proud of yourself when you finish the workout, too! So try one or three and see how it goes! Let me know if you try them and if you like them!

And for some extra fun, here are three awesome booty workouts!

Have a great spring break! I hope these workouts help you feel strong and confident for spring break and beyond!

Happy Friday!

XX Ellie

P.S.-  The pictures in this post are from Pinterest.

This post is part of Spring Break V, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media at #SpringBreakV. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here.