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10 Small Habit Changes to Help Improve Your Fitness
Charles Duhigg, an award-winning New York Times business writer, wrote the best-selling book The Power of Habit. It offers an enthralling argument: the secret to consistently exercising, losing weight, raising outstanding children, being more productive, establishing revolutionary enterprises and social movements, and attaining success can all be boiled down to developing excellent habits.
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is not just about hitting the gym or going on a strict diet. It is often the small changes that we make to our daily routine that can have a big impact on our fitness level. Whether it is swapping soda for water, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing a few stretching exercises before bed, there are several habits that can help improve our overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore 10 small habit changes that you can make to help improve your fitness and achieve your health goals. These changes are easy to implement and can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health.
10 Small Habits to Improve Your Fitness
Take the Stairs
Small changes like taking the stairs can make a lot of difference to your health. Taking stairs is like a short burst of rapid activity. It can help your blood circulation and overall cardiac health. You will change your breathing pattern, and more oxygen will reach your cells.
Stair climbing requires about 8 - 11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other moderate-level physical activities. Taking even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 6 lbs. of weight loss over one year.
The benefits keep adding up. In a few weeks, you will notice that you breathe much more easily when taking the stairs. This ease when tackling physical activity will help you perform other physical tasks as well. In addition, stair climbing increases leg power and may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly.
Wear a Fitness Tracker
Getting a fitness tracker can encourage you to get up and achieve your goals for steps, calories, etc. Modern fitness trackers have transformed fitness into a kind of video game. You see your statuses like your sleep time, heart rate, time spent walking, and other interesting statistics. All this information can help you see the complete picture of your fitness in quantifiable numbers. It will help you make the right choices. On days with less activity, you'll also feel encouraged to get up and move around so you don't record a day with low activity. The fitness trackers will track your progress and prompt you to complete your goals. At the end of the day, you can sleep (on time) well, knowing that you've put in the work that is necessary to keep yourself healthy.
Get Up and Move During Ads and Commercial breaks
Watching TV by itself is not particularly unhealthy, but it does encourage long periods of inactivity. When you sit in one place for a long time, humans also tend to get bored and reach for snacks.
If you don't want to miss your favorite TV shows, you can still keep from falling into the trap of sitting still for hours on end. Try getting up and moving during commercial breaks and ads. Walk to the kitchen and fill your glass of water or even just walk up and down the stairs once or twice This has two benefits. First, you become more aware of the time you have spent watching TV. Second, you get some steps in. There is also a third benefit. You will avoid annoying ads. Once you start doing this, you will realize that you can utilize your TV time much better.
Replace Beverages with Water
Replace your beverages like juice, coffee, or milkshake with plain water. This small change will significantly reduce your sugar intake. But, despite warnings from health experts, it isn't easy to let go of the beverages. And, you do not have to stop drinking them altogether. You only need to make sure that you do not overconsume.
Drinking plain water can have a lot of benefits. People who drink enough water consume a lot fewer calories in a day. They feel fuller and more energized. According to a Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics study, people who mainly drank plain water in their daily diet consumed fewer total calories, drank fewer sweetened beverages, and ingested less total fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. Researchers observed that drinking one to three cups of plain water daily reduced calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories per day. This might result in much fewer calories consumed over time, resulting in considerable weight reduction. Then, there is all the health risk you avoid by not consuming other beverages.
Click here to read our post - Helpful Hydration Tips and 8 Reasons to Drink More Water!
Park Further From the Door
Whenever you park your car, make a point to park further from the door. This will give you an opportunity to walk a little bit further every day. Get in the habit of parking further from the building, and those extra steps can really start to add up. It takes very little extra time and doesn't require a lot of extra exertion. Still, it's a great example of a small change you can make every day that will help contribute to a healthier lifestyle over time.
Keep a Food Journal (Or Use a Food Tracking App)
You're likely familiar with the saying, "What gets measured gets managed". Keeping a food journal will help you assess your dietary choices. Without tracking your diet, it's easy to cheat with a few extra snacks or desserts, which can quickly get out of control without even being aware of the problem. If you make a habit of noting down everything you eat, you start to see a pattern in your diet. This will make you more aware of the foods you are overindulging in and the foods you are ignoring. For example, you could see that you have not eaten nuts and seeds for a week, then you can pick them up the next time you're doing groceries.
Keeping a food journal can have immediate benefits. The very next day, you are more aware of the kind of nutrition you should be getting, and which foods you might need to cut back on.
HelloTech has created a list of nutrition apps - check it out here!
Set a Goal
Setting a goal is a great way to stay motivated. Set small goals like, "I will walk at least 30 minutes every day for the next month", or "I will drink one gallon of water each day". These small goals will help you hack your behavior. You will be inspired to do it just for the sake of meeting the goal. The wonderful thing about setting up challenges and completing them is that your goals will be bigger the next time around, and you will be even more motivated to meet them. And soon enough, you are setting goals like walking an hour every day or not drinking soda for a week. We all must start small. Small goals pave the road for big accomplishments.
Take the Bike or Walk Instead of Driving
If you're traveling a short distance, then take a bike instead. Biking is a more enjoyable experience than driving. Driving can feel like a chore in itself. Plus, biking will help you appreciate the surroundings. It's more likely that you will stop and talk to other people on the way. Plus, you're contributing towards a greener environment.
Alternatively, you can walk as well. Activities like walking and biking have also been known to improve mental health. Yes, they take more time, but then they can have a meditative effect as well.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of walking!
Try a Standing Desk
Whether you are working at home, participating in a hobby, or even just taking care of chores, many of us spend a lot of time sitting at desks. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, consider switching to a standing desk. Standing desks are getting very popular nowadays. Standing while you're working will keep you moving and will prompt you to finish your tasks sooner as well. Many modern standing desks are adjustable so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.
Carry a Shopping Basket Instead of Pushing a Cart
When you get the groceries, choose to carry a basket instead of pushing a cart. This will give you a mini-workout for your upper and lower body as you carry your groceries through the store. You are also more likely to get fewer things and keep your shopping trip shorter. Plus, if this practice forces you to shop more frequently, you'll get to do your grocery store exercise more often!
Trying to replace a different habit? Check out our post,
Improving Every Day: 10 Strategies for Breaking Bad Habits!
Let us know in the comments below - what's your favorite small fitness-boosting habit?