By Jody Mullen
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that the world is a far better place when we take care of ourselves and one another. While things have improved on the pandemic front, it’s clear that COVID-19 and its numerous variants aren’t going away any time soon. That’s why it’s more important now than ever before to make sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle. While some factors, like inherited conditions, are beyond our control, we can give ourselves the best possible defense against COVID and other serious illnesses by living well. And, if you’re in a long-term relationship, you and your partner can support each other in making good choices. Let’s learn a little more about how to be healthy in 2022 and how to encourage that special someone of yours to do the same. What better way is there to build a strong relationship than improving your lives together?
How to Be Healthy in 2022
You’ve probably read that you’re less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 if you’re young, healthy, and not overweight. Now, there’s nothing you can do to turn back the clock, of course, and you shouldn’t worry about what you can’t control. What you can do is become more proactive about eating a balanced diet and making time for thirty to sixty minutes of exercise five to seven days a week. It doesn’t mean you have to swear off dessert completely (especially with Valentine’s Day approaching!) or live at the gym if that’s not your cup of tea. It’s all about pushing yourself to be just one percent better every day, whether that’s by skipping the sugar in your coffee or taking a quick walk at lunchtime.
Eating well and making time for regular exercise have many benefits beyond protecting you from becoming severely ill from COVID. You’ll enjoy more energy, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll likely see your mental health improve. You’ll also enjoy some defense against other serious illnesses, like heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. If that’s not good motivation to work out and make smart decisions about what you’re eating, I don’t know what is!
Okay, okay, I’ll ’fess up — sometimes that’s still not quite enough to get me to put down the cookies and get off the couch, especially in the colder months. So what can we do to improve our physical fitness when we’re not feeling terribly inspired?
Your Partner: The Best Workout Buddy!
Do you ever find it easier to do something for someone you care about than for yourself? I don’t quite understand this about myself, but I find that I’m more motivated to make positive changes in my life when it benefits someone I love — like my husband. When I’m feeling tired and lazy (which, I’ll admit, is fairly often as a working mom!), I feel more motivated to work out when I know he’ll join me. I like to go for long walks, but I get bored and lonely on my own. Having someone to chat with makes me forget that I’m exercising, and it’s also a great opportunity for us to enjoy some screen-free time together.
Of the two of us, my guy is the one who is more likely to suggest getting outside and doing something physical, but I’m more conscientious about what we eat. I’m the one who’s more likely to prepare turkey burgers instead of all-beef ones and to choose whole-wheat bread rather than the kind with refined white flour. I do most of the shopping, meal prep, and cooking, and it feels good to know I’m doing my part to help us live well. Healthy relationships require open communication and a sense of give-and-take, and I think we do a good job providing each other with motivation and positive reinforcement.
Are you living a single life these days? That doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Hook up with a friend who can serve as your exercise partner and accountability buddy. If you can meet up in person on a regular basis, you can go for walks or runs together or try some great partner workouts. If you’re long-distance, you might set up regular sessions on Zoom or Google Meet to share recipe ideas, talk about your progress, and plan some long-term fitness goals together.
Setting Fitness Goals Together
If you and your partner have been talking about your need to improve your diet and exercise regimen, there’s no time like the present to get moving. You can start by choosing and planning meals, going food shopping, and cooking together. Check out some of these easy and healthy dinner ideas from Delish, like chicken parm stuffed peppers, skinny Alfredo, and honey walnut shrimp. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to prepare delicious meals that are good for you, too.
Fitness Motivation: Stop Comparing & Start Getting Big Results
By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
When it comes to couples’ workouts, you’re limited only by your imagination. Hit the gym together or sign up for a couples’ dance class. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, try walking, running, swimming, tennis or pickleball, or golf. On the days when you can’t get out of the house, check out some of the great partner workouts available on YouTube or via your favorite streaming fitness apps. Each week, you can record your progress together in one of these great fitness journals and set a stretch goal for the following week.
Be Good to Yourselves!
I know it’s not always easy to change your habits — or to get your main squeeze to swap their cheese puffs for kale chips. Just remember that improvement happens one step at a time and that it’s often easier to stay motivated when you’re on a journey together. It’s all about supporting and encouraging each other as you make small and manageable changes that add up to something bigger. So check out some tasty new recipes packed with good-for-you ingredients and find a partner workout that keeps you moving — and laughing!
What do you and your partner do to keep each other healthy? I’d love to hear your tips and ideas. Leave me a comment below and let me know!
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