Creative Ways to get 10,000 Steps a Day


You don’t need a gym membership to get the exercise you need. Make walking a regular part of your routine. But how much should you walk to make a difference in your health? According to a 2000 study, walking 10,000 steps a day is ideal. 10,000 steps reduce the blood pressure of those with mild hypertension.

However, hitting 10,000 steps can still be challenging for people with full schedules. But if there’s a will, there’s a way … 7 ways, to be exact:

1.) Park far away

The parking spots closest to most businesses are the first ones taken anyway. Save the effort of looking and improve your health by parking far away instead. You’re more likely to find available spots farther away. You’ll expend energy on something more important, getting enough exercise and meeting your 10,000-step daily quota.

2.) Get off one stop away

Not driving to your destination? No problem. If you take the bus or train, get off at least one block or station away. Then walk to your destination. Make a habit out of this, and you’ll find yourself enjoying these strolls especially in good weather. You may be able to save on transportation expenses too because shorter distances can mean cheaper fare.

3.) Take the stairs

If your office isn’t on the ground level, skip the elevator and take the stairs. Even if your office is on a much higher floor, take the elevator but get off a few floors lower and cover the remaining distance on foot. If you’re just starting your health journey or get winded easily, take the elevator going up but the stairs going down. Gravity is your friend, so the trip is easier on your lungs and legs

4.) Schedule a walking meeting

When meeting with just one or two people, set a walking meeting.  If there’s a park or trail near your office, this can be a fun way to take a meeting. Walking meetings are not only invigorating for the body, but they’re also engaging for the mind. Of course, make sure the other attendees are up for a walk, too.

5.) Use your breaks wisely

Coffee breaks can be used for something better, like a quick walk around your office. Opt to use part of your lunch break for a long walk. Either way, you have time to squeeze in some steps during work if you really want to.

6.) Walk your dog

Walking is less tiresome when you have a furry friend or two as companions. You need to exercise your dogs anyway, so you’ll get a twofer if make them walk with you. If you don’t have dogs, volunteer to look after the dogs of a busy friend or a senior citizen that can’t get out. They’ll be grateful for your services.

7.) Forego delivery sometimes

Nowadays, it’s easy to get everything delivered to your doorstep, including toilet paper. But shopping on foot can add to your step total. Looking for items from one aisle to another translates to many steps on your fitness app.

Whether you’re a couch potato or a fitness buff, these tips will help you reach 10,000 steps.

3 Quick and Healthy Weekday Meals


3 Quick and Healthy Weekday Meals

With life’s hectic pace it’s easier for many people to drive through for a quick meal instead of preparing it. This isn’t in the least little bit surprising. Restaurants, drive-throughs, and convenience stores are everywhere, dotting every street corner especially in cities. Even supermarkets — the very place where you’re supposed to buy the ingredients to cook your own dinner — have sections for prepared meals.

On top of that, apps for food delivery give even more options. With such ease within reach, it’s no wonder why only a few folks bother to cook.

Preparing your own meals is good for several reasons. One,  you save money when you buy ingredients and prepare your own food. (I never realized how much I spent at Starbucks until I got my own French Press and Vanilla flavoring. I saved $120 the first month just by making coffee for me and my husband at home!) Two, you know exactly what you eat. This is especially important if you have allergies or other dietary restrictions. Three, have your food just the way you want it — extra spicy, more cheese, less salt, it’s all up to you. Four, get to eat healthy because you don’t eat high calorie, low nutrition processed food anymore.

Of course, if you don’t have a lot of experience with preparing your own meal, you’ve got to start slow. Something quick and easy to whip up in the morning before you go to work or school, and in the evening after a long and busy day. If you have only half an hour or less to spare on weekdays, do away with dishes with long prep and/or cooking time.

So where to begin? Try out Taste of Home’s Ginger Salmon with Green Beans. Salmon is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins, while green beans are a good source of calcium, potassium, and folic acid. Also, the recipe calls for the use of an oven, so you won’t have to fry anything. Best of all, it takes 30 minutes tops to prepare this meal that looks and tastes straight out of a top-rated restaurant.

Ginger Salmon with Green Beans

1/4 cup lemon juice
1T rice vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2t minced fresh ginger root
2t honey
2 4 oz salmon filets
1 med lemon sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Green Beans

3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
2t olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Mix salmon ingredients. Place each filet on an 18 x 12 in a piece of foil and fold up the edges to create a rim around the fish. Spoon lemon mixture over salmon and top with lemon slices. Fold foil around fish, sealing tightly.

Place in 15 x 10 pan and bake 15-20 min until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork.

Place green beans in water and oil and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook uncovered until beans are crisp-tender.

Don’t like green beans? I use asparagus too!

Not a fan of fish? No problem! Check out the Food Network’s Chicken Summer Rolls. Not only are they perfect for the season, but they’re also light yet filling. They’re Vietnamese style, so if you’re craving for some Asian fare, this recipe should more than satisfy. They’re quite portable too, so they’re easy to pack in a container and take to lunch.

Chicken Summer Rolls

1/4 cup + 1 to 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 cup shredded carrot
12 (8 1/2-inch) rice paper wrappers (Buy these in the Asian food aisle of your grocery store)
1 cup cucumber peeled and julienned
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup fresh basil or cilantro
12 Boston lettuce leaves
1/2 cup cooked brown or white rice
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons water

Whisk 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 2 teaspoons sugar in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add chicken and carrot, season with salt to taste, set aside.

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Working with 2 sheets of rice paper at a time (keep others covered with a barely damp cloth to prevent curling), immerse papers in the warm water until slightly softened (about 15 seconds). Remove and spread out on a clean surface or cutting board. Pat dry with a towel to remove excess water. Lay 2 pieces of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper, leaving about 1/2-inch clear on edges. Place about 1/3 cup chicken and carrot mixture on the lettuce, top with 4 to 5 pieces cucumber, scallion, several basil leaves and about 1 heaping tablespoon of rice. Roll up the paper halfway into a cylinder. Fold both edges in to tuck while continuing to roll the paper to seal. Place the rolls on a plate covered with a damp towel so they stay moist as you prepare the remaining rolls. Cut rolls in half and wrap in plastic wrap or place in an air-tight container.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the peanut butter with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and water until smooth. Put sauce in sealed containers.

I let the kids help with rolling up the ingredients for one on one time with them.

But what if you’re vegan? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Give the Kitchn’s Creamy Skillet Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach a shot. This dish needs only one pot, so you won’t have to spend extra time washing a ton of cookware post-meal. The recipe is also quite flexible, so you can throw in other vegetables if you want to switch up the flavor.

This is one of my favorites!

Creamy Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach or 1 large bunch spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 12-ounce bag of frozen cheese tortellini

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat.

Stir in the sweet potato cubes, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just starting to soften.

Uncover the skillet and add the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula to dissolve the browned bits. Add the spinach in handfuls, stirring until it wilts down, before adding more.

Stir in the half-and-half, then cover once more and bring the liquid to a simmer.

Uncover and stir in the tortellini. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tortellini are plump and cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Making your own meals may seem intimidating and overwhelming at first, but in the long run, you’ll enjoy it and your body will thank you. It may even become a hobby!

Don’t be scared to give it a try for the sake of your taste buds and for your health as well. It’s a decision you won’t regret.

Shift Into Gear – 3 Ways to Boost Productivity

Shift Into Gear - 3 Ways to Boost Productivity

Being more productive isn’t just about getting more done. It’s about getting your body into the right shape to maximize your productivity.  These are 3 ways to shift your gears out of neutral and into overdrive.

Drink more water

Most of the stuff inside us is made of water and not being well-hydrated has been known to have a huge impact on your well-being and productivity.

Sleep – Drink a glass of water before bed. This will help your body replenish itself overnight. It will help relax you and allow your body to balance. You’ll wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to start the day.

Focus – Dehydration is the most common reason for moodiness and a shorter attention span. Water is brain food, so getting enough will keep you alert and focused. Not drinking enough water can cause nervousness and anxiety.

Energy – Being tired, feeling dizzy, and “blah” are signs that you’re not getting enough water. Keeping your body hydrated will help keep you awake and alert during the mid-afternoon slump.

Mood – Water affects your mood. Not drinking enough water can make you confused, tense, and irritable. Keep your brain happy and well-hydrated. It will promote more calm and positive thinking.

Eat healthy

What you eat directly affects your energy and mood. Sugar and junk foods may give you a quick boost of energy, but a crash is not far behind. Moderate and lasting energy is better than a quick rush and a low crash. Eating healthy is essential for being productive.

Antioxidants – Foods high in antioxidants help protect the brain from degeneration, boost focus, and improve memory. Blueberries, almonds, whole grains, and raisins have healthy antioxidants.

Zinc – Zinc is helpful for focusing your thinking skills and improving your memory. Pumpkin seeds, spinach, kidney beans, and peanuts are all high in Zinc.

Flavonoids – Vibrant, colorful foods are full of flavonoids which increase blood-flow to the brain. It boosts your attention span, problem-solving capability, and memory. Dark chocolate, berries, bananas, and green vegetables are good sources of flavonoids.

Vitamins – Foods with lots of vitamins help you fight fatigue and keep your energy levels up over a longer period of time. Foods rich in vitamins include sunflower seeds, carrots, squash, and cantaloupe.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is often overlooked when trying to be more productive. Most of us feel like sleep is wasting time. But you can be better, faster, and stronger if you sleep more!

Recover Focus – If you’re tired, you will have trouble focusing. If your thought process is interrupted, you’ll take longer to get back on track.  Your temper will be harder to control.

Prevent Burn Out – Sleeping less than six hours per night almost always leads to burnout. This zaps our motivation for a job well done. Instead, we just want to get the job done.

Make Better Decisions – A lack of sleep reduces your response time by more than 50%! This is even lower than someone who’s been drinking!  Getting enough sleep will help you to make better and more accurate decisions.

Better Memory – Sleep-deprived zombies are more likely to forget something that was just said, or correctly follow a series of instructions in order.

If you’re having trouble getting all of your zzz’s at night, try taking a nap. Catnaps for 10 or 20 minutes can do wonders for helping you catch up on your sleep. You’re still better to get a full night sleep, but a nap can give you enough of a power boost to make it through the day.

5 Steps to Healthier Living

5 Steps to Healthier Living

Would you like to increase your energy and mental clarity? It isn’t as hard as you’d think to turn yourself around and get going in a better direction. Start with these 5 steps to healthier living:

1. Make Good Eating Choices

Tried every extreme diet out there? Making healthy choices is easier if you focus on some simple goals. The next time you go grocery shopping or eat a meal, try the following:

• Focus on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and lean meats.

• Eat on a small plate and take small portions.

• Eat slowly and stop eating when you are full.

• Limit sweets, added sugars, and fried foods.

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Studies suggest that 1 in 3 adults don’t get the sleep they need to function at their peak. Good sleep helps us to:

• Control our appetites.

• Eliminate stress.

• Have better health.

• Perform better at work.

• Have better emotional health.

Most people need between 7-9 hours a night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests you can get better sleep by:

• Turning off electronics at least one hour before bed.

• Using techniques like yoga or music to calm you down.

• Reducing caffeine, especially in the evening.

3. Make Exercise a Daily Routine

You really don’t need to hit the gym or lift weights to get into a healthy exercise routine. The best way to exercise is to make it a part of your day or to do something fun with friends. Even 30 minutes a day will make you healthier and also help you sleep better. Try the following:

• Go for a walk after lunch or dinner.

• Park farther away from the entrance.

• Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

• Do your own housework or yard work.

• Meet up with a friend for a game of tennis or for an aerobics class.

4. Keep a Good Personal Hygiene Routine

If you are under stress, you may feel like there isn’t enough time to take a daily shower or really follow the dentist’s instructions. However, neglecting your body not only makes you less attractive to others, it can make you feel uncomfortable or even ill. So be sure you:

• Bathe or shower every day.

• Use deodorant and antiperspirant.

• Brush your teeth and floss.

• Avoid smelly foods or brush afterward.

• Wash your clothes and air your shoes.

• Drink at least 8 glasses of water.

5. Have a Good Laugh

Laughing about the absurd neighbor, the difficult coworker or the crazy teenager won’t just relieve your stress. It can help lift your mood and even boost your immune system. Studies show that if you want to improve your mood, you should just smile and laugh more. Smiling can help reduce anxiety and fear.  Smiles also make you more attractive to other people which can improve your relationships.  Better social relationships are key to better health.

The Bottom Line

The truth is that if you live healthily, you live better and longer. Think of it this way, your daily habits are one thing you do have control over in your life. Whatever else happens, you can make good choices to eat well, sleep well, be clean, exercise, and most of all, laugh!