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by Erin Weaver

Staying fit is a vital part of wellness for your body and your mind. A good level of fitness boosts your immune system, gives you more energy throughout the day, and helps you feel strong, capable, and sexy. As busy women, it can be easy to let fitness fall by the wayside in favor of work, loved ones, and socializing, but a little time devoted to physical health can really pay off in the long run. Similarly, if you’re living on a farm in a rural area, you might not have access to a gym or the money to pay for membership. There are still plenty of ways to stay fit without spending a lot of time and money, like these helpful fitness hacks.

Netflix and No Chill

Marathoning a new TV series is always tempting when you’ve got some free time, but it doesn’t mean you have to laze around on the couch. Spend opening and closing credits, ad breaks, or even the whole show doing squats, lunges, planks, and other simple cardio exercises.

Say Yes To The Worst Parking Space

Save time and nurture your fitness by settling for the worst parking space in the lot. Yes, it might be a two-minute walk away from the supermarket, but those little bits of exercise add up. It’ll also stop you doing endless laps trying to find a closer space!

Take The Stairs

Whenever you get the chance, take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Stairs are an excellent form of cardio that tone your leg muscles too, so hitting the steps is a two-in-one workout that you won’t regret.

Weightlift At Home

Weightlifting has massive benefits for your fitness and strength, and you don’t need any expensive equipment when you’re getting started. Canned food, heavy books, and full backpacks are all perfect for at-home weightlifting workouts, and you can find plenty of workouts for them online.

Try Car-Free Days

Many of us fall into the lazy trap of driving everywhere, even if we really could spend the fifteen minutes walking instead. Some journeys require a car, but could you wander over to your friend’s house or walk your kids to school instead?

Keep On Moving

One of the easiest ways to increase your fitness is to integrate movement into usually stationary activities. Walk up and down the stairs while you’re talking on the phone, do some squats while you’re folding laundry, and suggest going for walk with your partner to catch up on each other’s days.

Dedicate Seven Minutes

A simple seven-minute workout will drastically improve your fitness if you make it part of your routine for most of the days of the week. Don’t let yourself think that you can’t manage a simple seven minutes if you make it a priority. There are many short workouts online to help you get fit without the big time commitment.

Physical health is important, and it goes beyond simple dietary factors. Fitness gives you the energy and confidence you need to excel in life, so don’t let yourself make excuses to neglect it. Try these fitness hacks and make way for a stronger, happier you!

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Seniors and Sleep: Better Nights Begin with a Better Day

Finding it harder to sleep as you age? There may be sound reason. Older adults experience changes in circadian rhythm which can disrupt the sleep cycle, not to mention the onset of medical conditions that interfere with sleep. But seniors still need plenty of shuteye–seven to nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation–and trying to get it can be a nightmare. Fortunately, sleepless seniors can say goodnight to their insomnia woes by adopting some simple sleep-promoting habits during the day. Try these nine tips, and make restful nights a dream come true.

Rise Early

Studies have shown that early risers tend to have better sleep patterns. They go to bed earlier, sleep more deeply, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Plus, rising early alleviates the stress of rushing in the morning, allows more time for a healthy breakfast, and improves the chances of getting daily exercise–all which boost the likelihood of a good night’s sleep.

Limit Naps

Although daytime napping is a common occurrence for senior adults, it can do more harm than good for insomnia sufferers. Naps tend to offset sleep schedules and cause more difficulty falling or staying asleep at night. If you must nap for a medical or other health reason, try to limit daytime sleeping to no more than 30 minutes, preferably in the early afternoon.

Get Mindful

Mindfulness meditation has many sleep-promoting benefits, from decreasing daytime fatigue so you’ll have more energy for exercise to lowering stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is particularly helpful for older adults with physical impairments since you use your mind rather than the body to induce a state of relaxation. The best part? It only takes 20 minutes a day to meditate.

Move Your Body

Research suggests that aerobic exercise is particularly useful for improving sleep in older adults, but that doesn’t mean you have to get your heart pumping every day to get your z’s. Any activity that involves moving your body encourages better sleep. Puttering in the garage, light housecleaning, or even standing and bending through the day help bring the sandman at night.

Drink with Diligence

Alcohol is known to disrupt sleep at any age, but for seniors, imbibing can make a restful night even more challenging. That’s because alcohol breaks down more slowly as you age, causing greater side effects, including increased insomnia. Limit drinking to a glass of wine with dinner, and avoid drinking anything too close to bedtime, when an aging bladder can keep you up.

Be Wary of Sleep Meds

Although sleep medication is meant to improve sleep, often it does just the opposite. The American Geriatrics Society warns against sleeping pills because they can have more serious side effects for seniors, including confusion, memory loss, dependency, and a higher risk of falls. Try natural medicine instead, like practicing good sleep hygiene or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Learn Yoga

Yoga combines stretching, poses, balance, and breathing for better overall health–and sleep. Not only does practicing yoga during the day make it easier to sleep at night, you’ll stay asleep longer. Gentle yoga classes, like Iyengar yoga, are easy to learn and especially suitable for senior adults, but you might also consider adaptive yoga practices, such as water or chair yoga.

Make Dinner Sleep-Friendly

Older adults are more susceptible to tummy troubles, including acid reflex, that keep you awake at night–which is why it’s important to eat responsibly at dinnertime. Choose foods that are gentle on the stomach and eat early so your body has time to digest the meal. But don’t go to bed hungry. A sleep-inducing snack of nuts, cherry juice, or cereal can help lull you to slumber.

Give Yourself a Break

Putting too much pressure on yourself to sleep will only make it worse. Rather than focusing on what you can’t control, concentrate on what you can–taking care of your body and mind with healthy behaviors, like eating right, getting regular exercise, and engaging in daily social interaction. And always consult a doctor or sleep therapist for insomnia that becomes chronic.

When sleep doesn’t come during the senior years, remember this: you’re not alone. You’re also not doomed. Adopt these sleep-promoting habits during the day so you can enjoy restful nights–and an active, full life ahead.

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