5 Tips To Help You Stay Active all Year Round

Welcome to February - the shortest month of the year that can feel like the longest.  Daylight hours are fleeting and motivation to stay active often drops along with the temps.  New Year’s resolutions begin to fade and skipping the gym for that extra hour in bed is more appealing than ever.

I’ve had my fair share of those moments - indulging in that extra glass of wine or finishing my children’s leftovers (after thoroughly enjoying my own meal.)  And count me guilty of sleeping in instead of making it to yoga class on more than one occasion.  But I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to help power me through these lags.  So when JCPenney invited me to share some of my favorite tips for staying motivated year-round with shoppers in Kansas City, I was more than happy to open up about this relevant topic.

Here are a few of the go-to tips that I shared at the JCPenney event:

Filling my shopping cart at JCPenney

Filling my shopping cart at JCPenney

1.       Bribe Yourself:  This trick is one I learned back when shopping made up more of my workout routine than a regular yoga practice.  Treat yourself to something fun that you’ll use especially at the gym or yoga studio.   It doesn’t have to be pricey – it can be anything as small as a new reusable water bottle, to as exciting as a new outfit or gym bag.  For example, here are some fun, inexpensive items I picked up at JCPenney that make the perfect little ‘bribe’ gifts to myself: 

Kansas City love

Kansas City love

2.       Find a Workout in an Unlikely Place: Some days just don’t have enough hours in them, and getting a solid `workout in just isn’t happening.  On these days, make an effort to be active outside of the gym or studio.  For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car further away from the entrance of the supermarket.  Maybe take some extra time walking your dog, or do a few squats while you’re on the phone with your friend. There’s always a way to squeeze in some extra exercise no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

3.       Fake it ‘til you Make it: Studies show that we can actually convince ourselves to exhibit certain emotions – for example – having more confidence and less anxiety - by simply going through the motions repeatedly until we begin to truly have those feelings naturally.  We can do the same thing with a healthy lifestyle – go through the motions of eating more nutritious foods and less unhealthy ones, be more active, etc. – until it becomes a natural way of living. 

4.       Friends are Priceless:  Sometimes no matter how much self-convincing we do, it still isn’t enough to get us to make the healthy choice.  That’s where our friends come into play.  Having a workout buddy or a yoga partner will not only motivate you to make it to the gym or studio, but will also make your sessions more fun and enjoyable.

5.       Make your Home an Inviting place to Workout: There will be days when making it to the gym or studio is just not going to happen - bad weather, work obligations, or other factors may make it impossible to get there.  Having a dedicated space at home can be a lifesaver during these times.  Even a small corner of a room with a mat and some props (weights, blocks, straps, etc) will help you stay active on those days.  And there are countless resources with knowledgeable teachers – online classes or DVDs – to guide you through a session.

Gift Bags at the JCPenney Event

Gift Bags at the JCPenney Event

The event, held at the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas turned out to be a blast. I was touched to see that many of the participants truly appreciated the pointers I had to share.  I had such a wonderful time and I am so happy I was able to partner with JCPenney for this fun experience!

Here are a few more photos from my trip to Kansas City and the event at JCPenney. Remember you can purchase any of items you see shown above at: http://chtp.co/shopjcpenney       #SoWorthIt

Chatting with local shoppers at JCPenney

Chatting with local shoppers at JCPenney

Hanging out in the 'Glass Labyrinth' exhibit at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City

Hanging out in the 'Glass Labyrinth' exhibit at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City

Fashion & Fitness... can they co-exist?

As someone who left the corporate world to work in the yoga field, one of the most noticeable perks of my new job has been the work attire, or rather lack thereof.  Trading in blouses, slacks, and briefcases for tank tops, stretchy pants, and yoga mats has been liberating in every sense.  And while I’ve never felt more comfortable, I’ll admit, there are days when style has completely been tossed out the window, and when walking around in spandex probably looks as effortless as it actually is.  So I’m left wondering, can comfort and chic co-exist in one outfit?

Let’s face it, as women we want it all – ease, performance, and style.  I went about the research, aka online shopping, and came across a pair of pants that offered the full package: the ‘Do Everything Cuffed Pant’ by Lucy Activewear.  They looked promising - effortless style and fashionable comfort - the perfect pair of pants to wear both in the yoga studio and then out to brunch.  When the pants arrived I put them to the test.  I paired them with a cropped tank, and took them out for the afternoon.  They were stretchy enough for any yoga pose, but still cute enough to wear while walking around Brooklyn without looking like I just stepped out of the gym.  Mission accomplished.  I’m left with hope and joy; fashion and fitness have finally found common ground.

#favoritepantsever 

Wearing: the ‘Do Everything Cuffed Pant’ by Lucy Activewear

Wearing: the ‘Do Everything Cuffed Pant’ by Lucy Activewear

Wearing: the ‘Do Everything Cuffed Pant’ by Lucy Activewear

Wearing: the ‘Do Everything Cuffed Pant’ by Lucy Activewear

Baby, It’s Cold Outside… Tips to Staying Motivated through the Winter

As the cold weather comes and temperatures drop, it often feels like our motivation levels are heading south for the winter too.  Extra snuggle time in bed is more appealing, while the gym and yoga studio seem further away than they ever have.  So how do you muster up the same enthusiasm during the winter that seems to come effortlessly in the warmer months?  Here are five tips that will help raise your body temps and your incentive to get up and moving:

1.      Warm Up

Getting out of your cozy bed in the morning is hard enough, but when there’s a chill in the air and frost on the windows, it can feel downright brutal.  Heading straight into the hot shower is a great incentive to wake up and stay warm.  It’s also a useful way to get ready for your morning working out.  Muscles are normally stiff when we first wake up, and a hot shower helps get the blood flowing, relaxing and warming up the body.

2.      Drink Up

What a hot shower does for the outside of your body, a hot drink will do for the inside.  Starting your day with some hot lemon water will not only warm you up, but will also help hydrate and flush toxins out of the body.  Aiding digestion, maintaining pH levels, and improving the immune system are some additional benefits that have been linked to drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning.  Furthermore, because the cold weather air is drier, sipping on a hot beverage throughout the day, like water or tea, will help keep you both warm and hydrated all day long.

3.      Grab a Friend

It’s all too easy to find an excuse for skipping a workout or yoga class when you’ve got no one to answer to.  But having a regular exercise buddy encourages accountability and serves as valuable motivation.  A partner will persuade you on the days you need a little boost, and spending quality time together on a challenging activity will feel both valuable and rewarding.

4.      Set a Goal

Setting a goal - no matter how large or small - gives purpose to your actions.  Whether it’s deepening your backbend or swimming that extra lap, having a target to work toward serves as incentive.  Keeping a visual reminder of your goal around is a great way to stay on track too.  Sticking a photo of that cute Olympic swimmer on the fridge, or subscribing to your favorite yoga magazine will remind your why hard work pays off.

5.      Stay at Home

When the roads are slick and the snow is heavy, heading outdoors is not always the most tempting - or the safest - idea.  A home practice can be an invaluable tool to turn to.  Having a dedicated area somewhere in your living space – even a small corner of a room – will help keep you focused.  And guidance can be found in a multitude of places.  There are countless DVDs and online resources with knowledgeable teachers to lead you through your home practice.  With a little bit of preparation and the right mindset your motivation and practice can flourish all twelve months of the year.