April 09, 2018
Everyone wants to look and feel better. Yet it often seems that the actions necessary to achieve these goals are painful, costly, and time-consuming. What if you don't have a great deal of time, money, or even willpower? Fortunately, there are some simple actions you can take that don't require such resources. Here are 12 easy life hacks that will get you on the road to better health and fitness.
1. Drink an Additional Pint of Water Every Day
Drinking more water is one of the simplest ways to stimulate your metabolism and feel better. Evidence shows that better hydration improves your mood as well as your physical health. It can also help curb your appetite. Adding one pint (or two liters) of water per day (the exact amount should be tailored to your needs) can give you more energy for work, exercise, and other tasks.
2. Create a Music Playlist for Workouts
Music is one of the best ways to motivate yourself while jogging, speed-walking or working out on a treadmill. It's easy nowadays to create a customized playlist that makes you feel like moving. Only listen to these tracks while exercising. This will give you something to look forward to and will help your body associate these tunes with motion.
3. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Go to a health food store or any store that has a good selection of nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, seeds, and other bulk items. Cashews, almonds, dried apricots, dates, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are some good choices but there are many other possibilities as well. Carry around your own custom mixes so you'll have something nutritious to snack on. This is a good source of energy and will help you cut down on junk food snacks.
4. Sit Less
While the saying, "Sitting is the new smoking" may be a bit of an exaggeration, there is ample evidence that sitting too long is bad for your health. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure you take frequent breaks. Even taking a short walk or standing up and stretching every 20 or 30 minutes helps. This may also help you concentrate better, as sitting in one position for too long contributes to brain fog.
5. Adjust Your Portions
It's hard to eliminate your favorite foods even if you know they're not the best choices. It's easier to make adjustments to your portions. So instead of trying to cut out mashed potatoes altogether, try reducing your portion in half. Substitute a salad or an extra serving of leafy greens. If you typically eat a large serving of ice cream for dessert, substitute half of it with a piece of fruit.
6. Make Your Workouts Social
It takes extra discipline to exercise when you're doing it alone. If you have a partner, it's much more fun. If you can't find a workout partner with compatible goals or schedule, there are other options. An exercise class provides a social environment where other students and the instructor help to motivate you. Still another possibility is to use a social app where you compare your workouts and results with other users.
7. Start the Day With a 10-Minute Workout
If you have trouble finding time to exercise, one of the best solutions is to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and do a quick workout. Basic free body exercises such as planks, push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, and crunches are all good. You can find many fast workouts if you need guidance. This will get your day off to an energetic start and you'll know you've gotten in your workout before breakfast.
8. Take Care of Your Feet
Feet, which support your entire body, are one of the more neglected parts of the body. If you have foot pain, you won't feel like walking or doing anything strenuous. Make an appointment with a podiatrist if you have any issues with your feet or toes. On a similar note, make sure your footwear is comfortable and fits properly. If your shoes or sneakers are worn out or don't fit properly, this can subtly discourage you from walking and exercising. Conversely, a good pair of running shoes or hiking boots can help encourage you to stay active.
9. Get an Additional 30 Minutes of Sleep
Many people don't get enough sleep. This can contribute to both physical and emotional problems. There's even evidence that lack of sleep can cause obesity. It's usually more practical to go to bed earlier than to try to sleep later.
You're more likely to be productive in the morning and spend late nights on activities such as watching TV or browsing social media. Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier (40 minutes if you want to try the above tip and get up 10 minutes earlier to exercise!).
10. Invest in a "Healthy Kitchen"
Many people don't cook healthy foods because they think it takes too long or it's too complicated. However, it's a lot easier if you have the right tools. A quality juicer, for example, makes it simple to make all kinds of nutritious fruit and vegetable juices. A rice maker lets you cook rice quickly and painlessly. A wok is great for making all kinds of stir-fry dishes. Better quality knives make it easier to chop vegetables. Investing in quality tools and utensils will make it easier to cook and eat in a healthier way.
11. Walk at Least 30 Minutes Per Day
Walking, while not a high-intensity workout, does provide many health benefits. It burns some calories and keeps your metabolism running at a higher rate than when you're sitting or driving. Apart from any other exercise program, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of walking each day. This can be anywhere, including your office, the mall, a local park, or just around the block. If you don't have a fitness tracker that counts your steps, get one. You can find many free apps that perform this function. If you prefer tracking miles to minutes, set a daily goal of 3 to 5 miles of walking.
12. Take Time to do Nothing
The health benefits of meditation are well documented. Taking a few minutes each day to unwind and de-stress contributes to both your physical and mental health. You don't necessarily have to meditate in a formal manner. If you prefer, take ten-minute breaks where you do nothing in particular. It doesn't count if you're looking at your phone or any electronic screen. You can combine this with your walking regimen, though. Try to quiet your mind and breathe deeply and detach from your everyday concerns.
These are some simple health and fitness tips that will make a big difference if you take the time to implement them. It's often the small, everyday habits that are most transformative when it comes to your health.