If you’re like most of us, you’re probably striving to live a healthier lifestyle. Do you have a definition of what that means, or just some vague list of “shoulds?” A healthy lifestyle starts with good habits, and there are plenty of reasons to make little changes to your day-to-day routine, building healthy habits. Which top your priority list? Starting new habits can be a difficult process, and it takes at least 18 days to form a habit and an average of 66 days before it sticks. What are you waiting for? Here’s a list of healthy habits to help you create your new list.
Eat breakfast. When you eat in the morning, it gives your metabolism a boost and keeps you from overeating later. Research indicates that adults who eat a good breakfast do better at work, while kids who have a healthy morning meal have higher test scores. If you can’t handle a big meal in the morning, grab a granola bar, protein shake or a piece of fruit.
Plan your meals. You’ll be amazed at the time and money you’ll save if you take a moment to plan your weekly menu. While you’re doing it, consider your goals and decide what you’re eating and when.
Make your diet more nutritious. Base your meals around whole grains, lean proteins and nutritious produce. Aim to fill half your plate with healthful fruits and vegetables.
Start your mornings at night. It’s an amazing time saver in the morning if you’ve taken the time to lay out your clothes, make your lunch and create your to-do list before you go to bed.
Drink water. The importance of H2O cannot be overstated, since it’s necessary for the functioning of every system in your body. Make it easy to stay hydrated by keeping a reusable water bottle full and near you at all times.
Get your steps. Getting the recommended 10,000 steps a day may seem daunting, but you’ll find that if you’re purposeful about it, you can work in little bursts of activity that add up to plenty of steps.
Stand up (or sit up) straight. Posture matters, so remind yourself to straighten up every time you think about it. Pull back your shoulders, straighten your spine, and don’t slouch!
Take breaks. Sometimes, just 15 minutes of quiet and peace can be enough to reduce stress and make you feel refreshed and renewed. Schedule breaks just like everything else in your calendar and you’ll reap the benefits of getting a little bit of time off.
Get some sleep. Sleep is important but it often suffers when we’re too busy to rest. While you may not need the full 8 hours, it pays to create a restful nighttime routine and give your body a chance to rest and recuperate. Sleep boosts your mood, sharpens your focus and helps you to learn, while also lowering your risk of health problems like heart disease and obesity.
Start a journal. Keeping a journal helps you to better understand yourself and boosts your mental health.
Stretch and balance. Just a few minutes in the morning to give your muscles a stretch can do wonders to amp up your energy and improve your flexibility. Yoga is a great way to work in a stretch while also working on your balance, because balance and flexibility are important for good health and a lower risk of injuries.
Play outside. Exercising in the great outdoors offers many benefits, not the least of which is the vitamin D our body creates in response to sunlight.
Learn something new. Learning new skills helps keep our minds sharp, so consider joining the class you’ve been thinking about or taking some time to learn a new language.
Unplug. It’s easy to stay glued to our phones, but it’s very important to disconnect. Offline time lets us connect with others IRL and do things that are beneficial to our overall wellbeing, like reading, walking or communing with nature.
Practice mindfulness. Meditate, or simply be in the moment, taking note of everything that you can feel through your five senses. Science has shown us that being mindful changes the way we connect to emotions, learning and memory.
Work in a workout. Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s encouraged for adults to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. You can do this by scheduling workouts or by making the most of your breaks and squeezing in a walk. Get some strength training in, too, because stronger muscles lead to more beneficial workouts.
Which of these habits will make your list? If you’re looking for a place where making exercise a habit is easy and fun, look for a fitness club with a great mix of programs and a supportive community. At the Wellbridge Family of Athletic Clubs, we offer world-class training that keeps up-to-date with the latest in health and wellness. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join today or contact us to learn more.