Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

One Small Change: Even minor adjustments can lead to better health.

As a trainer, I spend most of my time thinking about movement and developing creative fitness classes that will keep people’s interest so they keep coming back, which is, of course, one of the keys to getting results. But, the truth is, there are many things you can do to be healthier that don’t require stepping foot in a gym.

#1. Drink more water. It would be easy to write an entire article on the many benefits of drinking more water. If you put on a few pounds over the holidays, drinking more water could help you lose weight. Often times, when our bodies signal hunger, we are simply dehydrated. Drinking more water, particularly before meals, can help reduce your food intake, and, therefore, help you lose weight.

#2. Get enough sleep. Sleep is highly underrated. But, once again, you could write an entire article on the benefits of getting enough sleep. Sleep has a huge impact on our health. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Spend a week going to bed earlier (or sleeping later if that’s an option) and see how you feel.

#3. Eat breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. It helps boost your metabolism and helps you avoid weight gain. If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning and don’t always have exotic fresh fruit lying around, get some frozen fruit and make yourself a quick smoothie before you head off to work. You will find yourself with more energy and be better prepared to face the day.

#4. Get Up And Move. Start your day with 30 squats, 10 push-ups or a 30-second plank. It won’t take more than a minute or two. That first decision of your day can help lead you to more good decisions. When you have the choice between stairs or an elevator, take the stairs. If you work at a desk or sit through a lot of meetings during the day, make a point to get up and walk around at least once every hour.

#5. Start a Journal. Track your physical activity so you know how well you are doing and can hold yourself accountable. Set goals for yourself and use your journal to make sure you are meeting them.

Think about it. You make thousands of decisions everyday. You decide when you go to bed, when and what you eat, when and what you drink, whether you will get on the elevator or take the stairs, and whether you park right next to the store or 100 yards from the front door. Each of these decisions may seem inconsequential, but together, they can have a significant impact on your health.

So, do yourself a favor and take the road (or staircase) that is often less traveled. It will make all the difference.

Ivan Black is the owner and trainer at Next Step Performance, 1100 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-382-6398 or visit

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