10 Simple Daily Habits for a Healthier, Fitter You

Getting fit and healthy is simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. Fitness and health fanatics may find it quite easy to maintain a lifestyle centered around fitness, strength, healthy eating and good habits. But for some, it can be tough to adopt a healthy lifestyle, mainly because it’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar, especially when you’re first getting started. 

There’s no single habit that makes all the difference between being fit and healthy and being unhealthy. But there are quite a few little things you can prioritize each day (some more difficult than others) that are major pieces of the puzzle. In this blog post, I’ve included 10 of what I feel to be the most significant changes you can make to improve your health.

I’d like you to please consider that you don’t need to start doing all of them at once! I suggest choosing 1 or 2 to focus on for a few weeks to a few months. Chances are, with a little bit of dedication and discipline, you’ll end up feeling so good that they’ll become new habits and you’ll wonder why you didn't adopt them earlier. Perhaps some of these tips won’t move the needle as much for you as other ones, and that’s fine. This is just a guideline and you’re welcome to take it or leave it as it is, or tweak them to fit your personal goals and lifestyle.

Also, don’t forget that when we talk about health and fitness, we’re talking about more than just the physical aspects. Although most of these tips are intended to improve your physical health, there’s a pretty good chance that implementing some of them into your life will also improve your mental health and even make you more successful in other areas of life like your job, family and social life. That said, I’m a strong believer that improving your physical health will almost always result in better mental health (assuming you don’t have a serious mental health issue, in which case I’m not qualified to give advice).

Sleep/Wake Rhythm

Whenever possible, make an effort to wake up and go to bed at the same time. This is the single best sleep improvement hack in existence. Of course, depending on your situation, this may not always be possible. But the more consistently you’re able to do it, the better your sleep quality will be. Better sleep will result in better results in the gym, a better mood, more energy, and enhanced productivity.

Morning Sunlight

Exposing yourself to sunlight is loaded with benefits. The fact is, most people simply don’t get enough sun. This can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which is detrimental to your health. You can take vitamin D in the form of a supplement, but it’s not as good as the real thing (sunlight). If you’re able to do it in the morning shortly after sunrise, you’ll take advantage of an additional benefit; better sleep! Seeing the sun for 10-15 minutes each morning (and exposing your skin to it if feasible) will help maintain your circadian rhythm. Try it out for a week, and watch what happens to your sleep, mood, and overall well being. For an added bonus, couple this with a morning walk!

Priorities First Thing

Start your day by working on something important for the first 15 minutes-1 hour of your morning. We all have something that is most important to us. Whatever it may be for you, it’s crucial to schedule time to work towards improving it. The best time is usually the morning, when our discipline and willpower are at their highest and distractions are usually at their lowest. If you can dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes each morning (soon after you get up before something else snags your attention) you’d be amazed at the progress you can make over time. Whether it’s hitting the gym, writing a blog post or article, recording or editing a podcast, getting ahead on a work assignment, extra studying for school, or whatever is most important to you at this time in your life, that 15 minutes a day will pay off long term. If you do the math, that’s approximately 7 hours per month! Another advantage of dedicating this time and making it non-negotiable, is some days you’ll get in a rhythm and the 15 minutes may turn into an hour or more. 

Strength Train

Lifting weights (or any sort of progressive resistance training) is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health, wellbeing and longevity. The benefits of getting stronger and building muscle include independence as you age, fighting against disease, increasing your metabolic rate, the ability to perform tasks that require strength, injury prevention, feeling better physically and mentally, and obviously, looking better. You don’t need to go overboard with strength training and mimic a bodybuilder or athlete (although you can if you want), but dedicating 2-3 days per week of 30-45 minutes of full body strength training is more than enough to make big changes.

Walk More

Moving more is something we could all benefit from. The world today is built around convenience and comfort. Many people average fewer than 2,000 steps per day, and it’s not doing them any favors for their health. Walking is the easiest and most trackable way to increase your activity level. Increasing your daily activity has more benefits than just burning additional calories. It also can help with recovery, improve your cardiovascular health, decrease stress and anxiety, and allow you to get outside in nature and receive additional benefits from sunlight. Unlike cardio, walking will not significantly increase your appetite or potentially interfere with recovery from strength training. It’s a very low stress (physical and mental) activity and increasing it can be life changing. 

Be Mindful

Today’s world is full of distractions. Many of us are not even aware of it, but we almost never give ourselves time to be quiet and think (or meditate) without any distractions. Practicing Meditation isn’t required (but it can certainly help), but making it a priority to take a few minutes a day for mindfulness is something that can certainly improve your mental health, productivity and mood. You don’t even have to just sit still and do nothing! You can practice mindfulness on a walk, during a cold shower, or even while eating a meal (this is a great way to avoid overeating and enjoy your food). Start small with 5 minutes per day of mindfulness (no distractions at all). You may be surprised how much your mood improves and creativity increases.

Eat Protein at Every Meal

Increasing your protein intake will not only help you build more muscle, but it will also help you feel more full on less food. Many people have no idea how little protein they're consuming, others may try to or think they’re consuming enough, but until they track their intake, they usually fall short. I recommend aiming for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. While this is more than necessary for growing muscle, it’s recommended for simplicity. You know how much you weigh, so that’s how many grams of protein you’ll eat. The only way to become aware of your protein (or any) intake is to track it, at least for a period of time. A great way to increase your protein intake is to include it with every meal (or every single time you eat). A meal without protein is an incomplete meal. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, so eating more of it will make you feel more full. It’s also not very calorie dense (assuming you’re opting for lean protein) and has a high thermic effect, so consuming and digesting protein requires more energy (or burns more calories) than other macronutrients. It would be nearly impossible to eat in a calorie surplus if all you ate was protein (which I don’t advise, but it proves a point). Another thing to keep in mind is that what makes food a “good source of protein” is when it contains more protein than any other macronutrient (carbs and fat). For example, peanut butter is not a good source (although often marketed as one).

Eat Fruit and/or Vegetables at Every Meal

We all know fruits and vegetables are healthy (well, at least most of us). But they also provide more benefits than just micronutrients and fiber. One huge advantage of most common vegetables and many fruits is the fact that they’re low calorie, high volume foods. This means you can eat a lot of them, to the point of feeling full (especially when combined with lean protein), and still not have consumed a lot of calories. Fruits and vegetables will make you feel better, look better, perform better, and feel less hungry. They’re hard to beat. Want to get healthier? Every meal should include protein, fruits, and/or vegetables.

Drink More Water

Hydration is easily one of the simplest, yet most neglected ways to improve your health. Drinking water is in no way, shape or form difficult. But still, many (or most) people fail to drink enough water. Forget all the reasons water is important on a biological level, simply increasing the amount of water you drink each day can make you feel better physically and mentally, perform better in the gym, and have less food cravings. Drinking more water can also help those who tend to consume sugary drinks on a regular basis. It can be a tough habit to crack, but replacing water with your sugar-laden beverage of choice will make breaking the habit easier. People who drink calories (aside from the occasional protein shake) tend to be less healthy than people who don’t.

You may look at these 10 different tips for becoming more healthy and be a bit overwhelmed, especially if you don’t currently practice any of them. But like I said before, these are just options, and the best way for most people to go about changing their health is to take it slow and choose 1 or 2 things at a time to focus on. Wherever you’re at in your health, fitness and self improvement journey, I hope that this blog post will help get you on the right track or even reassure you that you’re doing things right already!

I stopped my list at 10, but there are many more ways to improve your health. Feel free to add your favorite in the comments section (whether I included it here or not!). Thank you for reading!

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