Whether you’re looking for a fresh start or just want an improvement on your current habits, the coming of the new year is symbolically the time to do just that. Most of us have been thinking about our resolutions this time of the year, and as January has come, people seem to be trying to live up to their expectations and keep a positive attitude. This is also typically the time when there’s a sudden surge of new gym memberships, making it obvious that the primary goal for the majority of people is to start moving, get fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. In light of that, we’ll go over some habits that are easy to maintain and important in staying (or becoming) fit.
Start getting the sleep you need
Because of extremely busy schedules, many people seem to have convinced themselves that they can survive on barely enough sleep, and a good night’s rest is considered a luxury or even excess. Sleep is the time when the body recovers and most important bodily functions are maintained. It is important in maintaining your hormonal balance, so that’s why lack of sleep is associated with weight gain among many other conditions. Seven to nine hours each night is absolutely necessary. Besides the amount of sleep, quality of sleep is extremely important and it’s highly recommended to establish a certain bedtime and waking time to stick to every day so that your body functions at its best.
Practice healthy morning habits
How many times do you just spring out of the bed, shower and then hurry off to work without even eating breakfast? How you get through the morning reflects heavily on how you get through the rest of the day, and having a hurried, stressful morning just piles on more stress that will in turn heavily damage your body sooner or later. Along with eating a nutritious breakfast, stretching is another thing we should all do in the morning. It invigorates the body and helps the mind relax and prepare to take on the day’s responsibilities. And it doesn’t have to take more than five minutes.
Find physical activities outside of the gym
Going to the gym to target specific parts of your body at least three times weekly is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. But anyone who is serious about keeping fit (and good at it) will tell you that it doesn’t stop there. It’s a whole lifestyle, and people who exercise fall in love with physical activity and take every chance to be active.
A few years back, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more active and to spend more time outdoors. As I recollected my childhood fascination with mountain bikes, I googled “Buy MTB” half-jokingly, thinking that the sport is probably too tough for me. Yet, my curiosity got the best of me and so far my bike has taken me on many breathtaking rides and weekend adventures. Doing sports outdoors is a great way to get your blood pumping and get some fresh air, plus, if you find the sport that suits you, it becomes your passion and the best stress-relief possible. So be creative and think about what sport you might want to try – it could be life-changing.
Resort to home-cooked meals more often
The best way to control what you eat is to cook it yourself. Sure, it’s difficult for most people to find time for cooking after work, but here is a little pro tip: designate a day or a couple of days for preparing meals, for example Sundays. Cook food that will be good as leftovers (stews, for example) and cook it in large amounts so that you will have these leftovers to take to work or for dinner over the week. That way you will ensure you’re sticking to healthy recipes and you won’t have to eat out or eat packaged food as often.
Monitor your sugar intake
We all know that sugar is bad, but still, a sweet tooth can’t be helped. That’s why many people choose to satisfy their sugar cravings and then “burn the calories off at the gym”. But when it comes to sugar, it’s not just about the calories and its best to drop it as much as possible. I know, it might seem hard, but take baby steps and keep a log of your intake as that way you will see how much you actually consume throughout the week. When the cravings kick in, eat a piece of fruit or Greek yogurt with dried fruit.
The key to staying fit is essentially in mindfulness. Be mindful of what you eat and how, mindful of your body’s needs for physical activity and fresh air and, most important of all, know how to recognize stress and how to relax. These habits that you can adopt that are all related to this concept are really not difficult and will definitely be rewarding.
Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).