Happy New Year! Here are 3 steps that are guaranteed to help you live a healthier life in 2016. And no, they are NOT join a gym, cut out carbs and go on a diet!
Step 1: Get a dog!
Yep, that’s it – just get a dog. Getting a dog will make you healthier, because dogs force you to exercise every day (even the days you don’t feel like it). Here’s the puppy Maggie and I got last Christmas. We named her Ripley.
Thanks to this tiny dog, I estimate we have walked an extra 180 hours during the past year. That’s 54,000 extra calories each that we burned in 2014. Apparently we need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound, so thanks to walking this dog, Maggie and I may be starting the new year fifteen pounds lighter than we could have been (Whew!)
Calories burned per hour walking (based on a person weighing 160 pounds walking at a moderate pace): about 300
We also regularly take our dogs biking, and this means even more exercise for us!
Calories burned per hour cycling (based on a person weighing 160 pounds cycling at a leisurely pace): also about 300!
One big caveat: make sure you get the right breed of dog! I have chosen the wrong breed in the past, and it can be disastrous. This book will help you choose the right dog for your lifestyle and family.
Step 2: Live in a walkable, bikeable community
Living in a walkable, bikeable community is key to a healthy lifestyle for the whole family.
Many people with young children move to the suburbs, trying to guarantee their children a healthier life. Sadly, they are actually guaranteeing that the entire family will get drastically less exercise, as every family trip will be taken by car, and the furthest the kids will walk is to the garage. Cycling will usually be out of the question, as the suburbs often have little to no safe cycling infrastructure. (And the further out you go, the worse it seems to get.)
Second, and potentially far worse – living out in the suburbs increases by FIVE TIMES the chance that people will die in car accidents. It’s simple math: the more time you spend in a car, the more chance you will die in it.
Car crashes are the second leading cause of death worldwide among children aged 5 to 14, and the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 29. Every single day, about one thousand people under the age of 25 die in car crashes (source: Association for Safe International Road Travel).
On the other hand, if you live in a walkable, bikeable community, most shopping trips and outings can be done on foot or on a bike. Your kids can walk or bike to school, and perhaps you can cycle or walk to work. Over the course of a year, every member of the family will do hundreds of hours more exercise than if they lived in the suburbs.
Imagine having dinner at a restaurant and not having to worry about having a glass of wine because you can just walk home! Maggie and I have done this a lot since we moved to a walkable, bikeable community.
Step 3: Think about commuting by bike
Commuting by bike will bring more joy into your life, increase your exposure to health-giving daylight, improve your mood and concentration, and cause you to lose weight and gain cardiovascular fitness. See also my post about how to lose weight with the Top 10 Ride your Way Lean Eating rules. And if you need some inspiration to get you on your way, try reading my post on new years resolutions, which encourages us to have a word with the man or woman in the mirror and … Make a Change! You are the only person who can change you.
I will be posting much more about getting healthier in 2016 over the next few days. Subscribe to ensure you don’t miss any of these posts!
Do you want to get fit with cycling in 2016?
Check out my Complete Bike Training Plan and get fit in just a few months!
Bonus: Make this year the best year ever!
In celebration of the New Year, I am excited to partner with 40 other bloggers to offer you a host of resources to make 2016 your best year ever! Just visit their links below the graphic to read more amazing tips and get lots of inspiration. Maggie is inspired because she just perused the links and found ways to improve her business image with Aura Image Consulting. The links offer something for everyone!
1. How to Set and Keep Goals to Make This the Best Year Ever | Jen @ Girl in Garage
2. 15 Ways to Stay Organised at Work During 2015 | Elizabeth Harrin @ A Girl’s Guide to Project Management
3. How Personal Style Will Help You Achieve Goals Faster in 2015 | Cherene Francis @ Aura Image Consulting
4. Completing Those Unfinished Projects in the NEW YEAR | Angela Lerew @ Unexpected Elegance
5. 42 Ways to Practice Perfectly & Become an Expert at Almost Anything | Amy Garro @ 13 Spools
6. Easy Exercises to do on a Cruise Ship | Amanda Woods @ Adventures All Around
7. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthier This Year | Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health
8. 31 Days to a More Fabulous You | Julie Bonner @ Mom Fabulous
9. How to Make This the Best Gardening Year Ever | Kendra Spencer @ a Sonoma Garden
10. 5 Ways to Make this Your Best Monarch Season…Ever! | Tony Gomez @ Monarch Butterfly Garden
11. 12 Scriptures for Goals and Guidance | Julie @ Loving Christ Ministries
12. How to Build a Starter Emergency Fund in 30 Days or Less | Jackie Beck @ The Debt Myth
13. Family Verse of the Week Challenge for 2015 | Jamie Yonash @ Life is Sweeter By Design
14. Hot Work at Home Jobs for 2015 | Holly Hanna @ The Work at Home Woman
15. A Year of Intention | Hilary Bernstein @ Accidentally Green
16. 2015: Our Best Year Yet | Ashley @ Leaving the Rut
17. Create a Better Life Story | Bronwen Warner @ Tummy Time and Beyond
18. Get Ready to Get MDfit | Tom and Anne @ Eat & Be Fit
19. 5 Free Ways to Learn Something New This Year | Sarah Fuller @ Earning and Saving with Sarah Fuller
20. Healthy Leek Soup | Mirlandra @ Mirlandra’s Kitchen
21. Health Resolutions: Baby Steps to a New You | Ellen Christian @ Confessions of an Overworked Mom
22. 5 Ways Busy Moms Can Get Motivated to Work Out | Diane Nassy @ philZENdia
23. Be Prepared for the New Year | Jennifer Dunham Starr @ The Memory Journalists
24. 3 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2015 | Joe Goodwill @Average Joe Cyclist
25. New Year’s Resolution: Cook More Often! | Kim Pawell @ Something New for Dinner
26. I Should What? 28 Ways to be Happier | Karen Young @ Hey Sigmund
27. 9 Ways to Get Healthier In The New Year | Amy Maus @ Home and Farm Sense
28. In 2015 Resolve to Take Control of Your Money | Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet
29. Eucharisteo: A Year of Thanksgiving | Lani Padilla @ Simply Fresh Vintage
30. No More Tears at IEP Meetings: Make This Your Best Year Ever! | Lisa Lightner @ A Day In Our Shoes
31. Learn to Save Money on Groceries | Melissa Buckles @ Everyday Savvy
32. How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution – For Real This Time! | Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies
33. 52 Weeks to a Better You: Week 1 – Go to Bed Early | Mindi Cherry @ Moms Need to Know
34. Food Street: How a Community Has Joined Forces to Start a Street Farm | Sam Walker @ Bubble ‘N Squeak
35. Organizing Coupons with the Binder Method | Sara Steigerwald @ Sisters Shopping on a Shoe String
36. How to Make This Year the Happiest Yet | Shambray @ Shambray.com
37. A New Year, A New You | Sharon Rowe @ How to Get Organized at Home
38. 5 Ways to Get Paid for Losing Weight This Year | Anna @ Real Ways to Earn Money at Home
39. Tips for Successful Whole30 | Deanna Michaels @ From This Kitchen Table
40. 75 Ways to Be Healthier in 2015 | Maryea Flaherty @ Happy Healthy Mama
41. How to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever! | Jennifer @ My Boys & Their Toys
Fashion Resolutions: How to Add Style to Any Outfit | Ellen Christian @ The Socialite’s Closet
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