10 Small Wellness Tips that have a Big Impact on Your Health

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 7.38.16 AM

The idea of “living a healthy lifestyle” can feel overwhelming. What does that even mean? It’s easy to mentally equate health with strict diets and grueling hours of daily exercise. In reality, health is multifaceted and looks different for every person. There’s no need to be overly critical of yourself in your journey towards your own uniquely healthy lifestyle. Small changes to your lifestyle can have a huge positive impact not only on your overall health, but also in your daily exercise routine. Small steps are more sustainable and more likely to turn into healthy habits that ultimately stick. As personal trainer and fitness instructor Nina Saunders puts it, “Get a little uncomfortable in order to get comfortable.” Here are 10 small changes to try out in your daily routine that can have a big impact on your health.

1. Stand Up Alarm

Brianna Biffignani, professional dancer and certified fitness professional provides us with a timely tip: “Set an alarm on your phone to stand up at least once every 2 hours that you are working. Just standing up from your work space will increase overall health and make you more likely to walk around for a few minutes – even if it’s just a walk around your desk or office space. Maybe you’ll even incorporate a few stretches while you stand before getting back to work again.” 

2. Netflix Plank

Who else has been watching more Netflix than usual since quarantine? Gilmore Girls enthusiast Hit House Muay Thai instructor, yoga instructor (and Gilmore Girls enthusiast) Regina Postrekhina suggests that while binging on Netflix it’s a good idea to do a 1 minute plank between episodes. If you binge TV like us, you’ll end up doing at least three sets of these every evening. Still watching cable? “Plank during ads or commercials,” founder of The Ness, Aly Giampolo, suggests.  

3. Push Up Challenge 

Mike Pierce, Hit House instructor and fighter, has another quarantine suggestion. He shares, “Something I have been doing during quarantine is pushups every hour. It gives me a reason to get up from my desk and move each hour.” If that sounds like a big change, don’t sweat it: try incorporating one set of push ups once a day to start and build from there.

4. Rolling Not Scrolling

A lot of us reach for our phones first year in the morning to scroll through Instagram and look at the news. “Instead of scrolling through your phone, roll out your feet while drinking your coffee,” says Rowena Villanueva, founder of The Pilates Nook.

5. Airplane Mode

“Turn your phone on airplane mode by 10PM, and don’t turn it on until after you’ve taken your morning walk,” shares Cam Norsworthy, creator of Pilates service Cam On-Demand.

6. Serious Schedule

It’s easy to let the week slip by us and lose track of time. Sam Castro, Personal Trainer at Equinox, suggests taking a few minutes out of your day once a week to set up some plans. “Schedule your workouts for the week in advance so it can be a non-negotiable,” he says. 

7. Calf Raises 

Justin NG, founding instructor at Hit House and striking couch at NG Combat, provides us with a practical move to warm up your muscles. Waiting in line for something? Do some calf raises while you’re waiting!

8. Morning Dose of Protein

Marissa Graham, Professional Dancer, Certified Trainer at Dancers Who Lift (and virtual Hit House instructor) provides us with some insight to her morning routine, a simple healthy step: “Mix in a scoop of protein to your morning coffee. Caffeine plus hitting those macros… there’s no better feeling.” If you try this out, it’s recommended that you add a little milk or creamer to prevent your cup of joe from getting foamy. 

9. Back to… Boring Basic?

Co-Founder and CEO of Hit House, Tyler Scott, has some “straightforward” advice: “Prepare and eat the same meal for 7 consecutive days on the same hour. Keep it simple. Lots of protein with leafy vegetables.”

10. Bone Broth

Kara Rosella, professional stunt person, advocates for the power of bone both: “Add a cup of bone broth to your daily routine. It works wonders for digestion and skin!” She suggests investigating different bone broth powders available that are both easy to prepare at home and affordable (or try HealthKick partner Owl Venice for fresh Organic bone broth delivery!)

 

Emma Boelter graduated from Tulane University with a BA in English in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Although she has writing experience in many different areas, right now she is focusing on providing clients with high-quality digital material. She currently lives in New Orleans, LA.

Dana VanPamelen is the co-owner of Hit House, a Muay Thai Kickboxing studio in NYC. She has a Masters degree in Marketing from Hofstra University and loves gathering wellness life hacks.

Vegan Recipes from Sakara Life

Classic Banana Bread with Vanilla-Tahini Butter

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 12.58.31 PM

Ingredients (Makes 12 slices):

For the banana bread

  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 3 medium-ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 3/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped

For the vanilla-tahini butter

  • 1 cup store-bought organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons wildflower honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Himalayan salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the banana bread: In a small bowl, stir together the flaxseed meal with 2 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for 2 minutes to thicken slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with oil and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, vanilla, oil, sugar, honey, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flaxseed meal-water mixture. Add the almond meal, flour, and oats. Stir until combined. Fold in the almonds and hazelnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the bread feels firm and the top has turned golden brown and is slightly cracked. If the bread starts to brown too quickly, cover with foil and continue baking. 
  5. Make the vanilla-tahini butter: In a food processor or blender, combine the pumpkin, tahini, honey, and vanilla with a pinch of salt and blend until smooth.
  6. Enjoy the bread warm, slathered with the tahini butter and a tiny sprinkle of salt. Store leftovers in the fridge—the bread for up to 3 days, the tahini for up to 5. This bread also freezes well. Wrap the loaf in foil and a freezer-safe plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

Taco Salad with Walnut “Chorizo”

taco_saladFrom Eat Clean Play Dirty: Recipes for a Body and Life You Love (Sakara Life)

We make our taco salad with classic flavors, including homemade pico de gallo (though you could also buy a fresh version from the grocery store), but the star is the spicy walnut “chorizo” that’s flavorful and satisfying. Walnuts are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which nourishes the brain and keeps hormones vibrant and in balance. Plus, with fiber-rich black beans and liver-detoxifying cilantro, this dinner is a delicious way to support the microbiome. You can serve this dish as is or add a stack of warm corn tortillas and reimagine as tacos. 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

Pico de Gallo

4 Roma Tomatoes, diced

1 large shallot, minced

2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ to ½ jalapeno (depending on how much heat you like), seeded and minced

4 sprigs fresh cilantro, eaves chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Himalayan salt

Walnut “Chorizo”:

1 cup raw walnuts

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon wildflower honey

Himalayan salt

Salad Base:

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

Himalayan salt

1 cup, cooked and canned black beans, rinsed and drained

Juice of 1 lemon

12 cups mixed greens

2 cups shredded cabbage

8 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves picked

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Make the pico de gallo: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, shallot, scallions, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro and toss with the oil, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Let the mixture marinate while you make the “chorizo” and the salad.

Make the “chorizo”: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients with a pinch of salt and process until the mixture begins to stick to itself but isn’t totally smooth. Set aside. 

Assemble the salad: In a small bowl, mash the avocados with a pinch of salt.

In another small bowl, toss the black beans with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. 

Divide the greens and cabbage among 4-large plates. Top with the pico de gallo (juices and all), black beans (make sure to include some of the lemon juice), crumbles of the walnut “chorizo,” and the avocado smash. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and pumpkin seeds and serve with lime wedges. 

 

Wellbeing Bingo Challenge!

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 9.15.46 AM

Join us for 3 weeks of Wellbeing Bingo! Our goal is to support each other and focus on making small healthy changes each day to help build long lasting habits. By taking care of ourselves, we can show up better for others!

We’d love to have you join us! Here’s our printable Bingo card, but if you don’t have a printer at home, you can keep up with us through Instagram instead — we’ll be sharing the card in our “Wellbeing Bingo” highlight (follow us at @my_healthkick), so you can screen capture the card and “fill it out” by putting GIFs or emojis over the squares you’ve completed and tagging  HealthKick partners you used!

Here’s how it works:

For the next three weeks of July, try to get at least one Bingo — that’s one completed row in any direction. For a little more of a challenge, try to fill out the entire card!

Details about each activity are included below with recommended HealthKick partners to use (you are entered to win $50 of HK credit for each HealthKick partner you use), but the real key to Wellbeing Bingo is to make it your own — we’re all just doing our best right now, and by making small changes daily we can make great progress towards our wellbeing goals!

Prizes:
  • For each HealthKick partner you use during the Wellbeing Bingo Challenge, you will be entered to win $50 of HealthKick Credit!
  • HealthKick will make a $100 donation on behalf of 3 winners to one of the non-profits below.
Each of the three winners will get to choose to donate $100 to either BEAM or Loveland Foundation to support the emotional and mental health of Black and marginalized communities.

How to Win:

If you’d like to play along for prizes, just take a picture of your card and submit on or before Sunday, 8/9 in one of two ways:

  1. Post a picture of your wellbeing bingo card on Instagram and “fill it out” by putting GIFs or emojis over the squares you’ve completed and tagging any HealthKick partners you used! Use the hashtag #wellbeingbingo and tag us at @my_healthkick
  2. Or email us your bingo card to concierge@health-kick.com with “Wellbeing Bingo Card” in the subject line

* You only have to choose one way of submitting your card!

Wellbeing Bingo Activities & HealthKick Partners to Try:

*Must be logged in to view HK partners

Schedule a Zoom Meeting with a co-worker: Keep connections strong even if you can’t run out for a coffee together. Pick a point in the day that works best, whether it’s a mid-morning break or a coffee over lunch!

Write down 5 things you’re grateful for: By practicing awareness of the positive things in life, we fight off our tendency to spot the negatives. As a result, we train our brains to be more positive!

  • HealthKick partners to try: Check out a brand new partner, Aura Health for 7 days free and try their gratitude journal!

Do an at-home manicure: You can create a salon-like feeling in your home to make self-care work in your life, wherever you are.

  • HealthKick partners to try: sundays (Get 20% off any of their products online for a limited time or try this quick and easy buff mani at home for guys and girls!)

Try a yoga class: No matter which type of yoga you choose, it’s a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind, and relax your spirit.

Make a healthy meal at home: When you eat well, you feel well! Take a break from ordering in and make a nutritious meal for yourself or your family.

Take a bath: Taking a bath can help reduce pain and calm your nervous system, reducing the levels of stress and anxiety in you body and boosting your mood!

Participate in anti-racism education: Continue to learn how to be an ally in the fight against racial injustice. 

Do an activity to support your mental health: Try incorporating regular meditations into your daily life or try an online course to support your mental health.

  • HealthKick partners to try: Try a 5-minute guided meditation: Calm, Aura Health, Insight Timer, Caravan Wellness.
  • HealthKick partner to try: Join The Well for their Online Webinar Course: Reemerge. This 3-part course will make returning to work and adjusting to the new normal post COVID-19 quarantine easier. Learn practices that relieve stress, strengthen immunity and reconnect you with your internal wisdom and wholeness, bringing a more resilient you out into the world that may be unfamiliar to us. 

Eat 2-3 servings of fruits or vegetables: Skip the processed foods and snack on fresh fruits & vegetables to boost your immune system and get all the nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body!

Try a stretch session: Spending the day hunched over a desk (or a couch-desk) isn’t ideal for your posture or flexibility. Counteract this by stretching for at least 5 minutes.

Do an outdoor activity: Even just walking for 30 minutes in a natural or urban environment is linked with reducing stress hormone levels and improving mood.

  • HealthKick partners to try: Aaptiv (for a running guide)

Eat lunch away from your computer: Boost your energy levels and focus by getting up and actually enjoying your lunch break, multitasking isn’t always best!

Support a Black owned business: Diversify where you spend your money and continue to make an impact by supporting Black owned businesses.

Create a budget for the week: If you’re trying to save money, budgeting is a great first step!

Swap one item in your grooming routine for a clean product: Swap the products that you use daily first (remember small steps), like your cleanser, moisturizer or deodorant!

Go meatless for a day: Eating less meat is better for your budget, the environment and your health.

Try a breathwork session: The benefits of breathwork include reducing stress, to reducing inflammation, and alkalizing your blood PH levels. 

Register to Vote: The more of us who vote, the stronger our decisions as a people. Let’s make our voices heard!

Put on sunscreen: Using sunscreen daily, even when it is cloudy or raining, dramatically decreases your risk of developing skin cancer along with anti-aging benefits!

Do a HIIT workout: This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

Try a Pilates class: In addition to building a strong core, Pilates exercises are also designed to improve posture and correct imbalances in the body. 

Do an at-home facial: The experience of an at-home facial or mask is comforting and is another opportunity for mindfulness, the anticipation of a relaxing evening will give you something to look forward to!

Meal plan for the week: Using a weekly meal plan is the best way to cook healthier for yourself/family, save money, and time! 

  • HealthKick partner to try: PlateJoy (10 day free trial)

Pay it forward with a random act of kindness: Don’t underestimate the value of being kind to others. One small act of kindness can release a chain of positive events!

Get 8 hours of sleep: Getting enough sleep can improve your mood, memory, and immune system!

 

 

Summer BBQ Recipes

Check out some amazing recipes to try this Summer from a few of our HealthKick partners, from main dishes, delicious sides to dessert! Let us know in the comments below which ones you’re going to try!

Greek Bison Burger

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 10.15.17 AMImage and Recipe from ButcherBox

Continue reading