We all know those people that make staying fit and healthy seem effortless. It doesn’t seem like they ever fall off the wagon or follow the fads and still manage to make their healthy lifestyle appear easy. So what’s their secret? Here are my top 8 habits of highly healthy people:
1) They Drink Plenty of Water
Healthy people stay hydrated! This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Drinking H2O is one of the most important things you can do for your body yet many of us are still chronically dehydrated. A general rule of thumb is to aim for half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day (ie: 120 pounds equals 60 to 120 ounces of water). Drinking enough water ensures your cognitive function is at its highest level. It also has a satiating effect which means you are less likely to overeat versus if you were dehydrated. Tip: If you’re struggling to drink enough, try setting a timer to drink a certain amount of water every 30 minutes.
2) They are Active Daily
Whether it’s parking farther away at the store, or taking the stairs at work, most healthy people know the majority of their day is spent away from the gym so the little bouts of activity can really add up. If you workout for 1 hour that’s only 6% of your entire day provided you get at least 8 hours of sleep. That means the time out of the gym is where you will make up the majority of your calorie expenditure. Diet also plays a big role in this but the ordinary activities are the often over-looked component. Do you instant message your coworkers, or walk over to their desk to chat? Small changes can really add up! Tip: Make it a point to take breaks during your day to stretch and walk. If you’re on the phone try walking around instead of sitting.
3) They Make Sleep a Priority and Take Time to Rest
Although healthy people exercise often and make time for daily activity, they also prioritize rest and recovery. Experts recommend an average 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Your body needs that down time in order to build and repair muscle tissue. Quality shuteye has also been shown to help dieters lose more fat. According to a University of Chicago study, dieters who slept better lost 56% more fat in comparison to those who were sleep deprived who ended up losing more muscle mass even though they lost similar amounts of total weight. Adequate sleep has also been shown to reduce stress, depression, and even appetite. Tip: Try to set a regular bedtime and wake-up routine even on the weekend to ensure you’re getting adequate rest.
4) They Eat Meals at Home Most of the Time and They Don’t Mindlessly Eat
Healthy people know that when they eat out, they can’t always control how things are cooked or how much butter is really on those “steamed” veggies. Cooking at home puts the control back in their hands and allows them to eat for their specific goals.
Another key is that they don’t mindlessly eat, meaning they know what and how much they are eating daily. It can be tempting to have a few chips while watching TV or surfing the web but next thing you know, you blew through the whole bag of Barbecue Lay’s before you reached the commercial break. By focusing on what they are eating, healthy people end up feeling more satisfied with their meals. Tip: Try to plan a few meals in advance to make eating at home easier and turn off any distractions so you can fully enjoy it!
5) They Choose Exercises they Enjoy
I know exercise isn’t everyone’s favorite past time, but I bet there’s some activity you really enjoy that doesn’t feel like exercise to you. Healthy people don’t waste their time trying to be marathon runners if they don’t enjoy running; however, they do find activities they enjoy because they know they are more likely to stick with them. Fortunately we live in a day where we have a multitude of exercise options. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or be tied to a piece of equipment if you really don’t like it. Tip: Think about activities you enjoy and try to implement those during your week and see if you are more motivated versus forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy.
6) They Don’t Live by Extremes
Healthy people live by the rule of moderation. By having flexibility they don’t feel deprived. Most healthy people would say they live by the 80/20 rule; they eat more nutrient dense foods 80% of the time and the other 20% is reserved for those fun foods or outings where they can be less rigid. Studies have shown that if you have an “all or nothing” mindset, you are more likely to fail long term especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Whether your goal is to lose weight, exercise more, or just make healthier choices, know that this is a marathon not a sprint. Making drastic changes and constantly depriving yourself will only lead to discouragement and setback. Tip: Remember if you’ve made the decision to make healthier choices, consistent small changes over time will reap the most benefit.
7) They Aren’t Tied to the Scale
Don’t get me wrong, the scale can have it’s place when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals; however, healthy people know that’s not the only thing that determines their overall health. This is especially important to note for people who weight train. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, body composition matters more than scale weight! If you have a healthy amount of muscle mass, you may end up weighing more on the scale. On the flip side, just because you are in a healthy body weight range, doesn’t mean you get a free pass. Things like aerobic conditioning, strength, and body fat percentage should also be considered when it comes to evaluating your fitness level. At the end of the day, healthy people know performance trumps the scale weight every time. They focus on being able to run farther, lift more, and enjoy the ride rather than being tied to the scale. Tip: If you are trying to lose weight, make sure to take body measurements and physical assessments (ie: mile time, push-up test, etc.) so you can look back and see how much you have accomplished even if they scale isn’t showing it.
8) They Limit Media Use
We live in a technological age where we can buy groceries, clothes, and movies all without leaving your couch. With convenience at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to be more sedentary without even realizing what’s happening. Healthy people know media can be useful but they use it in moderation. They try and confine media usage to specific times and spaces and don’t use it as their primary source of entertainment. Healthy people may go on walks to unwind after a hard day or they may go for a bike ride with friends to catch up. Ultimately they enjoy media use within moderation. Tip: Make sure daily activity takes priority over media time. Try to schedule your media use for specific times to ensure it doesn’t consume your day.
Appreciate Sarah’s tips? Just think about what a personal relationship with a trainer can do for your fitness! Contact us for a free assessment!