There are lots of things people do in a bid to become healthier. It’s easy to fall victim to quick fixes and fads that see us doing pretty odd things in the name of health. Downing apple cider vinegar, exercising in the middle of the night, or doing a ridiculous number of ab crunches.
The good news is, we’re becoming much wiser to what’s actually good for us and what’s worth ignoring.
But the other difficult thing is finding sustainable changes that we can actually make. Ones that don’t disrupt our routine. Ones that can become a habit instead of those we can only keep up for a couple of weeks.
To become healthy, it helps to make small but effective everyday changes that support our minds and bodies, allowing us to feel good and live well.
Here are 14 different everyday healthy habits to try:
Commit to drinking more water
Who can confidently say that they’re always hydrated? Drinking more water is the easiest healthy habit. If you often find yourself with a headache, lacking energy, feeling lethargic, or with an upset stomach, you’re probably not drinking enough water.
Set a reminder on your phone. Invest in a shiny new water bottle. Pop some lemon in it. Whatever it takes to encourage you to drink more water. Aim for at least 8 glasses a day.
Start resistance training
If we start listing the benefits of resistance training, we’ll never stop. It’s something everybody should be doing. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean bench pressing heavy weights.
Resistance training involves improving the ability and the condition of your muscles by doing exercises that make them contract against resistance. That includes everything like light free weights, heavy barbells, simple resistance bands, gym machines, and even just your own body weight.
Your muscles allow you to function. From supporting your organs, to letting you move, to keeping your posture, to letting you sit up straight; skeletal muscle is fundamental to a high-quality life. Resistance training helps you to improve the condition of them so they can serve you better.
However you do it, make time for it.
Take a 10-minute walk more often
Whatever your day to day looks like, it’s important to take 10-minute breaks often. When you do, use them to walk.
Walking for 10-minute bursts each day provides many benefits. You get the headspace you need to remain focused and productive. You maximise your energy burn. You’re waking up your muscles and joints. You’re getting outside in nature.
Aim to do it a few times a day and notice an immediate difference in how you feel.
Keep correcting your posture
If you spend hours in front of a computer, this one is for you.
Due to modern life, we spend a lot of time in an unnatural posture. This becomes chronic when the spine and the surrounding muscles get used to a certain position and stay there by default. Most commonly, a rounded upper back.
Whenever you notice your bad posture, correct it. Keep a straight and neutral spine all the way from the top of your head to your coccyx. Keep your shoulders back and down. Engage your core.
Look into strengthening the muscles that support you too.
Keep a daily to-do list
This is the easiest way to feel productive and accomplished.
Rather than keeping a mental list of tasks that continues to grow and doesn’t allow for the unpredictable, write down your daily to-do list.
Segment this into 3 things you must do today, 3 things it would be good to do today, and 3 things you can do if you get round to it.
Not only does it help to prioritise your list, but it also helps you to give yourself a manageable workload. One that isn’t asking too much. One that makes room for the unpredictable things that happen in a day.
Make a note of your mood each morning
It’s easy to get straight out of bed, start getting into things, and get to 11 am before realising you just don’t feel yourself. Where did that bad mood come from?
Writing down how you feel each morning is a healthy exercise that gives you time to recognise, acknowledge, and accept how you feel. You don’t need to try and change it. Just doing that daily check-in on your mood helps you to be more understanding of number one.
Work on your flexibility
Stiff and sore. Something a lot of us are. Flexibility is one of the most underrated elements of fitness. Lengthening the muscles is great for waking up the body and allowing it to do more.
A 5-minute stretch routine every day can help to offset bad habits, maintain healthy muscles, and give you a little bit of quiet as you prepare yourself for the day ahead.
Get enough protein in
When you think of healthy eating, it’s easy to think only about fruit and vegetables. But, getting enough protein is vital to cell repair and regrowth. Especially if you’re exercising.
You need 0.75-1.5g of protein per kg of body weight every day. The more you exercise, and the more you weigh, the more you need. Check your protein sources and make sure you’re getting enough. Prioritise it in each meal.
Find 4 favourite full-body exercises
Make time for even the shortest bursts of exercise. Find your 4 favourite full body exercises and build a quick workout from them.
Even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes, getting your heart rate up, your blood pumping, and your muscles working each day is hugely beneficial.
Burpees. Squats. Push-ups. Lunges. Mountain climbers. There are loads of different movements to choose from. Sew them together and make a promise to do at least a few of them each day.
Put your phone away before bed
This is one we all know we should do, but it’s easier said than done. Limiting screen time at least an hour before bed will help your mind unwind. It’ll also improve your sleep. It’s a good one to make a habit out of.
Spend time talking to loved ones
It’s easy to be on autopilot throughout the week and go days without talking to your loved ones without even realising.
It doesn’t mean you need to keep in constant contact with everyone and stay glued to your phone. It just means setting 15-30 minutes of your day aside to speak to someone you love. It might be on your walk home from work. It could be a different person each day.
Make room for more vegetables
They provide us with so many vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that it’s almost impossible to overdo it on the vegetable front. Prioritise them in your diet.
When building a plate, aim for at least 1/3 to be made up from veg. If in doubt, add another portion. This doesn’t mean taking the enjoyment out of food. Find something you like. If you hate broccoli and kale, there’s no need to force yourself to eat them. There are plenty of alternatives.
Write it down
We spend so much time inside our own heads. We constantly internalise thoughts and feelings as we go about the day.
Worries and frustrations can quickly build up without warning. It helps to externalise this every now and again by writing things down. It’s an opportunity to summarise and gain perspective on your thoughts, understanding how they really make you feel.
Go to the dentist
Because we all put it off. If you haven’t been yet this year, make that appointment.