Healthy habits can change your life and set you up for success many years in the future. Whether it’s taking a quick walk everyday, limiting caffeine, or just practicing mindfulness, it’s easy to take charge of your day-to-day habits to better yourself. But when it comes to forming an active lifestyle, solidifying those habits can be tougher than it looks. In today’s day and age of binge-watching and sedentary jobs, activity is at an all-time low, and there are many health repercussions because of it. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and more are just some of the chronic conditions people are facing more and more these days, but worry not. There are small changes and good habits you can incorporate into your day-to-day to create and maintain an active lifestyle that will last.
When it comes to movement, walking is some of the best exercise people can get to keep activity level up without over-exertion. Most Amercians, roughly 70%, have desk jobs that require sitting all day, leading to fewer steps and less movement. When you take your lunch break, be sure to leave time for a quick walk. Even if it’s just ten minutes, making this a part of your daily routine will make a difference and can even lead to more activity throughout the day. Plus, walking after eating aids in healthy digestion and will combat that post-lunch slump.
Start active and stay active by stretching each morning. Stretching increases blood flow and activates your muscles, so you stay loosened up and prepared for the day. Stretching for just ten minutes each morning reduces anxiety, can help manage physical pain, and increases flexibility. Plus, when the weather is nice in the morning, you can greet the day with the sun and get some extra vitamin D.
If you want to stay active while maintaining a social life try to set up hangouts that are focused around movement. Grabbing dinner and drinks is great, but there are alternatives out there. Instead of dinner and a movie, attend a spin class or go for a hike on Saturday morning. Going for a coffee date? Take it to go and do a walk-and-talk to catch up with your good friend or a new love interest to get to know them.
When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to move throughout the day and neglect your activity. If you find yourself overwhelmed with work during the day and sitting for five hours straight, set reminders on your phone to get up and move to reclaim your fitness. There are plenty of desk yoga routines you can do that only take a few minutes, and there are proven benefits to productivity when you incorporate them into your daily routine.
The quickest way may not always be the best if you’re looking to lead a more active lifestyle. Looking to get more steps? Take the stairs up a few flights or take the long route for your walk at work. Even parking further away from stores can increase your steps easily, so you can remain more active.
If you’re competitive, setting a goal for each day can really increase your activity. If your average step count is 5,000 a day, try to increase it to 5,500 everyday for the week. After you reach that goal, bump it up to 6,000 and so on. If you’re working out two days a week, bump it up to three days a week. Increase your weight, run longer, and see how far you can go with your fitness for the week.
Or get other people involved! Create some friendly competition with other people in your life who want to be more active. Compare step counts for the day, start a running club, or have someone hold you accountable to reach your activity goals each day.
If you’re here, you’re looking for “fit-spiration.” If you’re tired of the long walks and desk yoga, try picking up a new hobby. Golfing, surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, boxing, biking, tennis–just some of the new things you can learn and incorporate into your lifestyle to increase your movement and contribute to your overall health.
Plus, learning new hobbies increases social connections and gives you an opportunity to shop for some new long sleeve activewear. It also decreases stress, helps with sleep patterns, and contributes to your overall health and happiness.
Hit the gym or clean the house? If you’re dreading the thought of picking up weights or hitting the pavement for a run, don’t neglect your chores. Cleaning your home for an hour burns a surprising amount of calories, and it’s a practical way to increase your activity.
Being active doesn’t mean you’re running 10 miles a day, hitting the gym five days a week, or swimming for hours. An active lifestyle can be achieved by remembering to do the little things. Substitute movie night for a hike in the woods or walk on your favorite trails. Explore a new neighborhood on foot, walk around the office and say hello to coworkers, or just add a few blocks to your walk if you have a dog.
Being active doesn’t have to be an immense undertaking that consumes your life. Small movements and mindfulness go a long way to create a lifestyle that contributes to health and wellness that you’ll feel the benefits of for years. Whether you’re just starting your journey to an active life or need some inspiration and creativity, you can incorporate these nine habits into your daily routine to achieve the results you want.