5 Happy New Year Fitness Tips for Teachers!

Are you one of the many teachers right now considering health and fitness goals for the new year? Most of us are, and rightfully so; as teachers we often do too much, too often for too many people other than ourselves! It's time to stop and consider YOURSELF. How much time, effort and thought do you put into your classroom on a weekly basis? Now, think about how much time, effort and thought you put into your health on a weekly basis?? Not even close to being equal, am I right? Well, keep reading!

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Fitness is one of my passions, and while I am certainly not an expert, today I'm sharing some of the things that I've learned along the way that have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many of you may already do a lot of these things; the following tips are sensible and can be reasonably maintained by "normal" people- no fanatical stuff here! 

You are what you eat, or should I say, you wear what you eat. Maybe that's too harsh! :) Anyway, we all know that eating out for lunch, or eating from the cafeteria is usually not the healthiest option. So, go old school and bring your own lunch, including healthy snacks. Do your grocery shopping on the weekend, buy what you know you should eat and prepare healthy lunches for a whole week. I set out containers and make a bunch of salads all at once like an assembly line. I clean everything up and I'm done! If you can plan and prepare ahead, you've already won half the battle. Just take it a week at a time- very manageable!

There are two blogs that I love for healthy eating- lots of great, easy-to-make recipes for every meal. Check them out!

Since what you eat is so important, make sure you have healthy snacks on hand in your classroom. No, I'm not talking about M&Ms and Diet Coke, ladies! I always have some nuts, like almonds, in my desk drawer. Sometimes I have a box of Triscuits handy or a Cliff Bar. You can also plan to pack some yogurt, fruit or low-fat cheese sticks along with your lunch. Just find something that you like and keep it a snack-sized portion. Don't skimp on breakfast and think you'll be able to pass up some sweet treats (you know someone at school always has something to share!) that cross your path. At the very least, keep some sugar-free gum in your desk- that can help curb your sweet tooth. Remember, be prepared for those snack attacks!

People are creatures of habit, and we all have some bad ones, especially when it comes to eating and exercising. Instead of thinking about "breaking" your bad habits, replace them with healthier ones. For example, I sometimes fall into a TV-dessert trap! I love to chill after dinner and watch some shows, and I have a tendency to want a sweet snack. Instead of reaching for cookies or ice cream (which are usually in the house for my boys), I can make tea or sugar-free cocoa as another option. If you are a diet soda drinker, try to change it out for iced tea or lemon-flavored water. Pack a gym bag at night so you can go straight to the gym after school. Try some healthier versions of your favorite recipes. Lots of small changes will add up and make a BIG difference!

You've gotta get moving, not just for weight loss or management, but for your health! Heart disease in women is nothing to ignore. Besides, exercise is an excellent way to deal with stress. For some of us, it's the only sort of solitude we may have on any given day (no students, kids or spouse vying for your attention!) My workout time is sacred- nothing gets in its way. I put a lot of time in at school, but on some days I just grab my bag and head for the door because I know that's what I need more than anything else. Out of all the tips in this post, I have followed this one most consistently by far, and it has kept me fit and healthy even when I'm slipping in other areas.

Remember, starting small is fine- just be consistent. There are loads of resources online if you cannot afford or easily get to a gym. Youtube has tons of videos featuring all different kinds and levels of exercise, so if you can't get outside, do it at home! That's what I do most of the time! I love interval training and go to BodyRock and Daily Hiit for my home workouts.

For those of you who are not homebodies like me, recruit a workout partner, someone to keep you honest! You can both lean on one another and schedule workouts together. Accountability really helps.

Now this last point sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but I'm not. Achieving balance in life seems almost unattainable, yet I won't ever stop trying to maintain it because it is so important to our happiness. Mind, body, spirit. They all work together, and if you neglect or over-work one, the other areas will suffer.  At times, I get so busy at school and I don't even realize it. Balance your exercise with rest- get enough sleep at night. Balance your work with play- step away from the computer and do something that will nourish your soul- pray, read, cook, do a craft or a hobby, anything that sustains your spirit. Slowing down is all about being able to take a step back, and to look at what you are doing in the moment and judging what matters most. 
Remember that YOU matter.

I hope these suggestions have inspired you to meet 2014 with a healthy mindset.
If you have a specific goal or another tip you'd like to share, I'd love to read about it in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy New Year!!!
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  1. Those are excellent tips! One of the things I do is decide the night before I'm going for a run after school and then I think about it off and on all day. If I'm kind of dreading it then I ignore that feeling and pretend to be excited about my run. Always works for me:)

    Happy New Year!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara! I bet you always feel better after your run, even on the days when you have to "fake" your enthusiasm! Have a healthy 2014!!

  2. Hi Karli,

    I love this post! It is so important for teachers to exercise to burn stress and just feel energetic enough to tackle the everyday which is often SOOOO busy. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I will be sharing this on my Facebook page today! #teacherwellness

    :) Shelley

    The Perks of Teaching Primary


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