Staying healthy and fit often seems very challenging. Why do you think there are so many blogs and posts about health and fitness? So many people are trying to lose weight.  So many moms are struggling with putting themselves first before the kids. Why is this such a problem? Because IT IS HARD. Simple as that. Life has so many dynamics to it. Taking care of ourselves is just one small aspect to the complexity of life: work, kids, cooking, cleaning, car maintenance, house maintenance, projects, school, sports and extracurricular activities, parties, holidays, hygiene and haircuts, shopping and entertainment. Where does staying healthy fit into this busy lifestyle? How do you get through the grind of an average day and stay healthy?

Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay healthy in your everyday life:

1. Drink water and eliminate sugar drinks

   Just don’t buy the sugar drinks, don’t keep them in the house, don’t put them on the grocery list, don’t buy them at the restaurant (Save money instead).
Jena’s TIP: Buy a new, fun, exciting water bottle every 3- 6 months to keep the water drinking experience refreshing and new. It doesn’t cost much and it will motivate you to drink more water. Maybe you can even put an inspirational quote on your bottle with a label.

2. Park farther away in parking lots

Take extra time walking in the parking lot to burn a few extra calories when running errands. A majority of women desire to lose weight after having a baby. Walking is a very effective way to achieving it. Did you know that for every one pound of body weight you lose, it’s equivalent to 4 less pounds of force and stress through your knees?  According to Stephen P. Messier, PhD “The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked”. It might not seem significant now, but that can greatly increase the longevity of your joints decades down the road.
Jena’s TIP: Walk at a brisk speed like you really have somewhere to go. The longer your stride length is when you walk, the more you are working your glutes and hip extensor muscles (you buttocks). Put some power in your step!

3. Walk the stairs and skip the elevator or escalator

Choosing to walk more often, especially in public spaces can greatly increase your total number of steps in a day. Using a pedometer, fitbit or your smartphone to track your number of steps per day are all great options for monitoring your overall activity level.
Jena’s TIP: “Given there are 12 steps in the average flight of stairs, heading up and then back down would burn you somewhere between 2.5 and 5 calories” Dr. Yoni Freedhoff (Founder of Ottowa’s Bariatric Medical Institute)  

4. Do calf raises (or other simple exercises) when brushing your teeth

I don’t know about you, but I brush my teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. That’s a 4 minute bonus workout for me.
Jena’s TIP: find your favorite song for the month and play that song while you brush your teeth, don’t stop brushing or doing your calf raises until the song is over. It’s a bit more enjoyable than watching the clock tick down.

5. While sitting at a red light, do some sets 

I love to do isometric exercises when sitting at a red light. Isometrics are exercises that involve a contraction but no movement of the limb. I hold each contraction for 10 seconds at a time.
Jena’s TIP: Perform these exercises for 5-10 second holds, keep repeating until the red light is over! My favorite isometrics to do in the car are:
  1. Glute Sets: Squeeze your buttocks together and hold and then relax
  2. Abdominal Bracing: Tighten belly muscles by sucking belly button in, hold and then relax
  3. Kegels: Tighten your pelvic floor muscles as if you are stopping your pee in mid stream, hold and then relax
  4. Shoulder Retractions: Squeeze your shoulder blades together and sit up straight, hold and then relax

6. Keep healthy snacks available for a quick “pick me up”

No wonder we grab the unhealthy snacks when we are pressed for time and hungry! They are prepackaged and easy to snatch. Instead of eating the processed snacks, prepare your own snacks and have them ready to go. Have 4-5 options throughout the week for you and your family to have as a quick grab-and-go snack that is healthy and wholesome.
Jena’s TIP: The higher the protein, the more you will have the feeling of fullness. Find snacks high in protein like nuts, cheese, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, edamame, hard boiled egg, tuna with wheat crackers and whole grains.

7. Put a note on your refrigerator to help keep you accountable.

Get a post-it note and write on it in big, bold letters “DO NOT OPEN AFTER 8 PM” (or whatever time works best for you). This is a way to keep yourself accountable by staring straight at your own words “Don’t Do It”, “Don’t open the frig,” “Don’t eat the food,” “Stay away”!
Jena’s TIP: I have found it beneficial to go right to the bathroom after reading that note to brush my teeth. Once I brush my teeth for the night before going to bed, I know I won’t get something else to eat again. At that point, I just stay out of the kitchen.
Just remember the age old principle, discipline > motivation.  If you want to succeed long term, you have to have the discipline to persevere even when you don’t feel motivated to do so. You can do this!!! Oh, and have fun doing it! Keep Smiling, Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT *It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Perform exercises at your own risk.

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    1. Jessica G.

      #7 reminds me of spending the night at my grandmothers house as a kid. After diner the dishes get cleaned, the lights go off, and then you didn’t dare step foot back in that kitchen until the morning!

      Love the idea of listening to a song while brushing your teeth. That kills two birds with one stone!

      • Jena Bradley

        Yeah, I have been doing those two ideas since high school. Glad you like it!


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