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Lifestyle Challenge: Week 1 - Water and Waking Stretches

Polly Pitchford - Sunday, May 12, 2013

Welcome Challenge takers!!  In order to make healthy lifestyle changes stick...for a lifetime...we need to focus on just one change at a time and work it into our day, everyday, for at least 21 days.  At that point the habit becomes an easy part of your daily routine, you don't have to give it much thought and it won't be a struggle.  It's just who you are and how you be!  The emphasis is on one Food change, one Fitness change and one Fun (de-stress) change starting with:

Food Challenge: Water

Our bodies are 80% water and yet we tend not to replenish is on a daily basis.  We need to drink an average of 8 cups of water a day.  When our cells are properly hydrated they perform optimally and that means we feel great!  Tips for reaching your goal of 8 cups:

  • Fill 2 quart sized water bottles in the morning.
  • Drink 1 cup in the morning before coffee (or tea)
  • Drink 1/2 cup between cups of coffee ( or tea)
  • Drink 1-2 cups while driving in car
  • Drink 1-2 cups with lunch
  • Drink 1-2 cups mid afternoon
  • Drink 1-2 cups with dinner
It's o.k. if you don't make your goal the first couple of days.  The attempt will still be more than what you typically drink and that's a plus!  Plus, the additional glasses of water should squeeze out some less-than-healthy liquids for some of you (sugary drinks) and that's a BIG plus!  You go girls!

Fitness Challenge: Morning Stretches

These are simple, feel good moves for everybody.  Gently moving our sleepy, stiff bodies gets the blood flowing to all the muscles, organs and joints and gives them the signal to wake up and propel you through the day with energy!  Start with:
  • Knees to chest - this can be done while lying in bed.  Laying on back, pull both knees to chest on an exhale; release on an inhale.  Repeat 3-4 times.
  • Shoulder rolls - roll shoulders up, back and down 4x, breathing in as shoulders shrug up and exhale as they roll back and down.
  • Chest Openers - Clasp hands behind you and gently lift away from the body.  Inhale as you lift, exhale as you lower.
  • Side Body Stretch - Extend arms over head and clasp hands.  Inhale and reach tall, exhale and reach to the right (stretching let side).  Inhale back overhead and exhale reaching left.  Repeat each side.
  • Spine Rolls - Start standing tall and straight.  Drop chin to chest, round shoulders forward, round spine as you reach towards the floor (hands on thighs for support if needed), bend knees slightly as you reach all the way to the floor.  Slowly round back up to straight.  Repeat 2-3 times, exhaling slowly as you round down and inhaling slowly as you round back up.
  • Finish with inhaling deeply as you sweep arms overhead and exhaling as they lower to you sides.
Pay attention to how you feel before you begin your stretches and then how you feel immediately after.  I'll bet you will LOVE your new energized body!!

Fun Challenge:  Make a date.
Call, email or text a friend who lifts your spirits and invite them over for coffee, go out for a drink, go shopping or head out for a walk.  You be the instigator of a pleasant time and not only will the time spent be lovely for your soul but the anticipation of that good time sends those stress-reducing endorphins to work repairing damaged cells.  Healthy cells = healthy you!

I have ONE RULE that must be followed for all challenges:  Don't beat yourself up if you don't complete them to your standards!!!  Just keep plugging along and know that ANY effort is a great effort and the body immediately recognizes healing habits and appreciates anything you do for it!  YAY!!!
Good luck and have fun!

In Health,



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