September Stroll Challenge

We’re strolling right into September, so get your walking shoes ready! That’s right, this month’s challenge is super simple: walk every day. September is the perfect time to stroll – it’s not too hot, not too cold, and the turn of the season is something to be seen. In fact, this challenge is just as good for mental health as it is for physical health. Just like we rarely regret a workout, you surely will not regret taking a nice walk outside, even if just five minutes to break up the day. You may notice that the calendar is pretty bare – that’s where you come in. Some may only be able to break away for 5-10 minutes, while others may have an hour to spare (or stroll.) Just print and hang the calendar somewhere visible and track your own walking each and every day.

Sept Stroll Challenge

One Healthy Breakdown: you know what they say, “a stroll a day keeps the doctor away.”

July’s Tiny Change: Creative Hydration

This post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change…over a year, it really adds up! You can read about it here and share your progress on instagram – tag @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win some cool prizes!

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: we should all be drinking more water. And yet here we are – many of us walking around in a state of low-grade, chronic dehydration.

hydrate

How do you know if you’re dehydrated? Perhaps you’re feeling a bit unfocused or sluggish, maybe you feel hungry all the time, or your skin isn’t looking its best. It’s entirely possible that you aren’t actually hungry, or unfocused, or having skin problems; chances are, you’re thirsty!

Our bodies are 65% water, and our brains are 73% water. No wonder we feel better when we stay hydrated! Yet it’s easy to forget to drink in the midst of our busy and active lives. This month, we’re going to fill up our cups and keep our bodies happy with more water and better hydration. If you’re not exactly keen on chugging eight glasses of lukewarm tap water every day, read on!

Make it fun (and delicious!)
Not everyone loves plain old water. If you aren’t a fan, don’t worry – there are many other ways to stay hydrated! Toss together a pitcher of spa waters (they’re so easy and colorful!) or load up the freezer with fruity ice cubes and add them to your water or herbal iced tea. Save your leftover smoothies, filling up popsicle molds, and create beautiful (and hydrating) smoothie pops!

Drink easy.
If you spend most of your time in your office, get a pretty glass that you can keep on your desk. If you’re always in the car, find a reusable water bottle and don’t leave the house without it!

Drink a superfood snack
Chia seeds are a miracle food, especially when it comes to keeping us hydrated. These teeny, tiny seeds are hydrophilic, which means that they can absorb approximately 10 to 12 times their weight in water. This powerhouse superfood can also prolong hydration and retain electrolytes in body fluids, protecting against dehydration.

Incorporating chia seeds into your diet is incredibly easy: simply stir a heaping tablespoon to your morning juice or smoothie, and you’re set! For a real treat, try peppermint mocha chia pudding or have a super yummy energy bite!

Drink your eats (no, really!)
Hydration comes in many forms, not just from water! All raw fruits and vegetables contain water, particularly cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, celery, and radishes. Try this watermelon cucumber cooler on for size!

HydrationPost

Drink your potassium
Why do we need electrolytes, including potassium, to stay hydrated? Our muscles use them with water to make sure that the electrical charges in our bodies work properly. Potassium balances the fluids and electrolytes in our bodies. All this is to say: eat plenty of bananas and drink some coconut water. These two foods are inexpensive, widely available, and they’ll help you maintain the proper nutrients after a workout or on a hot summer day.

See? Hydration can be fun and delicious! And once we fill up with the proper amount of fluid, our minds and bodies are so much more effective. We think better, look better, and feel better.

One Healthy Breakdown: create and hydrate!

July *Firework* Jump Squat Challenge

Get ready to jump, squat, and feel the burn! This month, we’re toning those glutes, thighs, and core while pushing our heart rate for some serious cardio endurance. To perform a jump squat, stand with legs shoulder-width apart, perform a regular squat, jump up in the air, and land back in a squat. Remember to engage your core for maximum benefits and land softly to avoid knee injury. Ready to go? Just save, print, or pin the image below and jump right into July!

JulyFireworks

One Healthy Breakdown: the ultimate exercise for firework results.

June’s Tiny Change: Slow Down

This post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change…over a year, it really adds up! You can read about it here and share your progress on instagram – tag @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win some cool prizes!

When was the last time you did…nothing? Can you remember meandering around town without an agenda? Or taking the dog for a walk just because the sun’s out? Or actually stopping to smell the flowers? Really stopping, breathing, sniffing, inhaling the aroma without a care in the world, somewhere to be, a to-do list to check-off, or a photo to post online?

flowers

Doing nothing can be surprisingly difficult…yet incredibly rewarding! So many of us hide in our “busy.” As a society, we love getting as much done in a day as possible. We feel accomplished and clever when we manage to eat our lunch while replying to emails. The reality is that we’ve found ways to multitask just about every moment of every day…which means we’re missing half of this thing called life! Being “busy,” “plugged in,” and “on” isn’t actually healthy, or sustainable. It’s not good for our bodies, our minds, or our relationships. So, let’s change that!

This is usually the part of the #12tinychanges post where we assure you that this tiny change is really easy and totally doable. And while slowing down is doable, (and important!) it will require more from you than some of our past challenges, such as starting the day in a powerful way, getting more sleep, or eating more color. Slowing down requires you to really commit (mentally and emotionally) to not committing. Although it might feel counter-intuitive to “make time” for down time, it’s just as valuable as those bustling, busy hours (maybe even more!)

slowReady to slow down a bit? Here are five ways that you can ease the pace of your life just a little:

  1. Say no.

It’s hard to slow down if our calendars are filled with obligations and meetings, but when we say “no” to things that don’t excite us, we get to say “yes” to ourselves and to better self-care.

This month, let’s (politely) turn down requests or obligations that just don’t feel right. You know when our bodies tell us “no,” but we say “yes” anyway? Listen to your intuition next time! Can you coordinate this or plan that or be here or meet there or brainstorm for…? No. No. and No.

2. Schedule unstructured time into your calendar.

Yes, really. Open your calendar right now, look at today, find a 20-minute window and schedule time to do nothing. When that calendar notification pops up, treat it the same way you’d treat a meeting: step away from your desk and go do nothing.

Cuddle your pet. Lay in your backyard and stare at the sky. Take an aimless walk through the neighborhood. Make yourself a matcha latte and savor it outside. Page through family photos. Meditate. Whatever you do, resist the urge to turn this unstructured time into cleaning, working, stressing, or doing of any kind. Just do nothing and enjoy!

3. Try doing something the “old fashioned” (or “less convenient”) way.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about accomplishing things without technology. What if you explored a new city using an actual, paper map and asking locals for their recommendations? What if you mixed your brownies with a big wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease instead of relying on the food processor? What about spending the day at a pick-your-own farm or orchard, plucking fruits and vegetables, instead of grabbing them at the store? Or how about free-writing in an actual journal with an actual pen or pencil?

When we choose to put away our phones and use our minds and bodies (instead of smartphone apps or kitchen appliances), we reconnect with life and the world around us.

4. Do one thing at a time.

Maybe you usually listen to podcasts on your daily walk or catch up on email between activities? Whether it’s calling friends from the car when you have a long drive or using meal times to check in on social media, chances are, you’re doing more than one thing at once.

What if you did just one of those things with that time? The walk or the podcast, the email or the soccer game, the meal or Instagram? We’re so used to multitasking, but it’s not always as effective as devoting your time and energy to just one task at a time. In fact, it’s been proven that multitasking results in lower quality work, and it takes us longer to complete a task when we spread our attention too thin.

5. Literally, physically slow down.

Ever noticed yourself pacing around, talking too fast, speeding, or breathing quickly for no reason other than stress, busyness, and habit?

Often, we can change the way we feel emotionally by changing the way we feel physically. We can often calm our minds by taking deep breaths, releasing our shoulders, and choosing to speak, move, drive, and act with intent. Next time you feel stressed, check in with your body and attempt to literally slow everything down. You’ll instantly feel better!

Slowing down can be tricky. It’s easy to fill our schedules or fall into the pattern of multitasking. But when you learn to slow down with purpose, you regain control of every aspect of your life. Remember, a slower life is a healthier, more centered, present, and efficient life. Your hurried body and mind will thank you. Let’s put the brakes on our hurried lives and sloooooow down!

One Healthy Breakdown: here’s to slowing down and feeling up!

May JUMP Challenge

We’re jumpin’ right into summer, so get your jump rope ready! If you don’t have a jump rope, get one, (hello, Amazon!) use one at the gym, or simply jump up and down with an imaginary jump rope. No explanation needed, jump however you like and have fun! Jumping rope gets your heart-rate up, burns major calories, boosts metabolism, and can be done virtually anywhere. Just save, print, or pin the image below and jump right into summer!

May JUMP Challenge

One Healthy Breakdown: jump right into summer vibes feelin’ fine!

Reach (for Spring) March Challenge

Happy March (rabbit rabbit!) Let’s hope that Spring weather is just around the corner, but until then, let’s reach for it! This unique move works your core like no other and requires zero equipment. From all fours, reach your right arm out straight ahead and your left leg straight behind you. This requires core strength and balance to keep your body stable. Bend your right arm and your left leg in towards your center to touch (or as close as they come) to further engage your abs. Reach them back out straight and then place them back down on the ground. Repeat with the left arm and right leg. This is one repetition. Alternate and follow the calendar below. Just save, print, or pin the image below and reach for spring. By the time bikini season arrives, you’ll be glad that you took on this challenge!

March Reach Challenge

One Healthy Breakdown: spring into spring…with a stronger core!

December Ground & Grow Challenge

We’re growing our roots to get ready for the New Year. Tree pose (Vrksasana) is a classic yoga pose that grounds, lengthens, strengthens, opens hips, and encourages correct posture. The busy month of December is the perfect time to root down, ground ourselves, stay balanced, and foster growth into 2016. To perform tree pose, stand strongly and balanced on one leg, while bending the other knee so that your foot is resting on the ground, your standing ankle, or above your knee. Once balanced, place your hands in prayer position and then slowly move them to reach upwards to grow your branches. This month, you’ll be alternating between tree pose and chair pose to maximize grounding and growing. To perform chair pose, (Utkatasana) stand straight up, with weight evenly dispersed in both heels. As you inhale, reach arms up as you bend your knees and squat down, keeping knees and thighs together, as if you’re sitting in a chair. Keep arms and torso up at a slight angle and roll shoulders down. Stay in the pose at least 10-20 seconds to maximize benefits. Chair will not only ground you down, it will also fire up your glutes and thighs to burn some serious calories. Just print, pin, or save the calendar below and commit to grounding and growth all month long! Think of it as preparing your body and mind for what’s to come as the holiday season ramps up and we turn the corner into a fresh, new year of opportunities.

Dec Tree Challenge One Healthy Breakdown: ground yourself and grow your life simultaneously!

November Thigh Abductor Challenge

Lets burn those thighs before the turkey! This months challenge will burn some serious pre-holiday calories and tone both inner and outer thighs. Plus, it’s another one you can do while catching up on your DVR! To perform the thigh abductor, just lie on one side with your bottom elbow bent and head resting on bottom hand. Leave bottom leg straight on the floor and bend top knee so that knee is pointing up and foot is on flat floor. You’ll be working bottom (straight) leg by lifting it straight up in the air to a 45 degree angle, tapping it lightly on the floor in between. Use your glute and thigh muscles to keep hips and upper body stable while you lift and lower bottom leg. Just save, print, or pin the image below and take on the challenge, you’ll be thankful that you did!November Abductor ChallengeOne Healthy Breakdown: trim the thighs before we trim the turkey!

October Plank-Touch Challenge

Happy October! The month of pumpkins, apple picking, boots, and plank-touches. What’s a plank-touch, you ask? Great question! It’s the perfect exercise to engage your entire core. To perform a plank touch, get in a plank position with hands on ground, shoulder-width apart and legs straight, wider than hip-width apart. While balancing and keeping hips even, (which will fire up your abs) touch one shoulder with opposite hand. Put that hand back down on the ground and repeat on the other side. Alternate sides while keeping core stable. You may keep your knees on the ground if you cannot stay balanced/stable and rest on knees for 10 seconds between sets (beginning on the 19th.) This one move will strengthen your shoulders, arms, abs, back, chest, glutes, and more, so commit to plank-touching ’til Halloween. Just save, print, or pin the image below and take on the challenge!

Oct Plank Touch ChallengeOne Healthy Breakdown: October at OHH is all about the plank-o-lantern!

September Bridge Challenge

It’s time to bridge into September. This new fitness challenge will work your glutes, lift your butt, engage your core, and strengthen your hamstrings with one simple move. To perform a bridge, lie on your back with hands by your side, palms up. Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. Engage your glutes and push through your heels to lift hips straight off the floor. At the top of your bridge, glutes are highly engaged, but back is straight at an angle. Lower hips and repeat the movement. Get ’em done before you get out of bed, while you’re watching TV, or throughout the day. Just save, print, or pin the image below and take on the September challenge!

SeptBridgeOne Healthy Breakdown: bridge into fall with a nice bridge booty!