Here we are once again, at the point of listing down our resolutions and goals for the New Year. But have you ever written down “get fit” or “become healthier” at the beginning of the year and found yourself writing it again the next? Or wondering why you’re not able to achieve or sustain what you’ve started?
Below are 25 bite-sized tips you can work to incorporate into your lifestyle. Remember that you don’t have to overwhelm yourself by trying to do all of them. Lasting changes start with small habits.
2. Work in intervals or sprints and take walking breaks. If you tend to sit on your desk the whole day, try setting a timer to stay focused on your tasks for 40-60 minutes and get up from your desk and go for a walk for about 5-10 minutes in between.
Maybe use that to visit a colleague to ask questions instead of doing it over the phone, or refill your water bottle. This gets your moving more frequently and also boosts productivity given the time constraint in which you have to accomplish things.
3. Practice reading food labels. Go out of your way to read about ingredients you’ve never heard of and understand how much sugar is too much. This way you’ll learn to decide what foods to include in your diet, what to have little of every now and then and what’s downright unacceptable.
Establishing a healthy sleeping pattern, hitting the sack at the same time each night brings our body back into its natural rhythm that then affects other processes including mental clarity and physical performance.
I always recommend dialing down the intensity of workouts and including foods that are anti-inflammatory and easy on the digestion during high stress periods.
16. Spend a couple of hours on weekends learning a wholefood recipe. The best way to learn to eat healthy is to start making food that doesn’t come from a package.
17. Your workouts don’t always have to be high intensity. Frequent movement is more beneficial than rare bursts of intense exercise.
18. Eat slowly. Chew your food well. Give your body enough time to signal fullness to your brain so you don’t overeat and digest your food properly.
19. Keep your phone away from you during meals and at bedtime. Having your eyes glued to a screen during meals takes the mindfulness out of eating. Chances are, you chew your food less and/or you end up eating more because of the distraction.
It also makes your food less enjoyable. Before sleep, the light from our screen gives off the wrong signals to our body (blue light tells our body it’s daytime) and keeps us from winding down and falling asleep. Put it away. The web can wait.
20. Get your eyes off any and all screens for a few minutes every once in a while. Most of us have little idea as to how much time we spend looking at our phones, tablets or computers. Make it a habit to give your eyes a break and bring your gaze towards nature (trees or the sky if you’re at work) or even the actual human beings around you.
21. Shut off all devices about an hour or two before bed. The light from our devices tricks our body into thinking it’s still daytime keeping us up longer. Work or social media also stimulate your brain, making it more difficult to wind down and get ready to rest.
22. When joining a fitness class, check your ego at the door. Remember that nobody is really keeping score at how often you choose the advanced options when you know you’ve yet to nail the basics.
23. Quit obsessing over the number on the scale and look at other markers of health and fitness instead. Body Fat percentage, Visceral Fat score, even how your clothes fit are far better ways to track progress than just your weight.
24. Fast in between dinner and your first meal the next day. Fasting has a long list of scientifically proven health benefits and it doesn’t take any restrictive dieting to do. Simply have dinner as early as possible and have breakfast at least 12 hours after on the next day.
25. Incorporate a good balance of strength, cardio and mobility training in your fitness regimen. This helps you move better, recover and progress faster, reduces the risk of injury, and gives that overall sense of balance in your training.