Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t complicated. Ultimately, it’s a result of making daily choices that will benefit your health. As you routinely make healthy choices they become healthy habits that create a healthy lifestyle. Today I wanted to share 20 healthy habits that have changed my life and have truly been an easy shift for me and my family. I hope you are able to use some of them too!
working out in the morning: although it’s tempting to hit snooze, I’m so much more likely to not only get my workout in, but enjoy it and push myself harder before the stress of the day accumulates and distracts me.
drinking a smoothie for breakfast: it’s an easy way to get in at least 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies and it’s light on your digestive system to help your digestive system ease into the day
diversify my training: for 15 years I trained only for gymnastics and when that season of life was over I went searching for something that would light my passion the way gymnastics did. Although I have not fallen in love with one specific workout, I have found that when I do a mix of training (running, hiking, barre, and hiit) I am so much more excited for my workouts because I haven’t burned myself out in one area. If you’re somebody who struggles to find motivation, spicing up your workouts can bring so much life to your fitness routine!
eating greens everyday: the saying should really be “a salad a day keeps the doctor away".” Greens are incredibly dense in vitamins and minerals and their nutrient profiles are unbeatable. I love adding spinach to my smoothies or having a salad for lunch. My favorite greens are spinach but I tend to switch them up seasonally.
always carrying a reusable water bottle with me: I’m someone who likes cold water so having an insulated reusable water bottle always helps me to drink more refreshingly cold water, as well as eliminate harmful side effects of plastic in your drinking water.
accountability: simply surrounding yourself with encouraging people goes a long way in helping you reach your health and fitness goals. Perhaps finding a personal trainer or going to a group class can give you the motivation you need. It helps to have someone coaching you see your potential and encourage you when you cannot see it yourself. You are stronger than you think.
No TV in our bedroom: this was one started in my college dorm days because my roommate couldn’t fall asleep with it on. I, however, had never fallen asleep without the TV. Leaving it out of our bedroom has helped to facilitate better sleep, more mindfulness, and opportunities to spend my time doing healthier and more productive things.
Reading before bed: a habit we established in 2018 was reading at least a few pages of a book before bed. The idea behind this is simple- your body responds well to habits. Creating a nighttime routine helps wind your body down and prepare it for a good night’s rest. And reading is extremely beneficial for cognitive function. So we love being able to read a bit before bed.
Eliminate food colorings and dyes: there is nothing necessary about food colorings as we can color our food with fruits and veggies. Plus they come with a host of side effects that NO ONE needs in their life. They are toxic and dangerous for your health. Simply choosing to eliminate these ingredients will immensely help clean up your diet. p.s. the no food coloring rule in our house extends to all products as well because our skin is our largest organ. So don’t think they just hide out in food- be sure to read the labels of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc.
daily quiet time: starting my morning with 15-30 minutes of quiet time helps orient my day and bring peace to my life. Plus, it is one of the few lifestyle habits that is proven to extend lifespan.
pray with gratitude: I’m as guilty as anyone about jumping into my prayer time with my list of needs and the needs of other people. But over the last several years I’ve disciplined myself to pray with gratitude about all that God has done in my life and blessed me with so far before presenting my requests to him. Gratitude is a powerful tool in your faith, but also for your physical health.
invest in community: when you’re on a health and fitness journey it can sometimes be exclusive to where you feel like you can’t go out with friends or say yes to opportunities for fear of de-railing your progress. It’s something I fell trap to for years. I’m here to tell you that investing in good community needs to be a priority in your life. An extra gym session can never replace a quality relationship. However, be sure to surround yourself with people that will encourage your goals and champion you over asking you to give up your goals to hang with them.
10,000 steps a day: again, an hour gym session CANNOT negate the effects of sitting the other 23 hours of the day. You must find time to move your body throughout the day. I often find that I’m a lot less active than I think I am. Sometimes my strength workouts don’t include a lot of steps. On those days I try to take my puppy for a walk over lunch or at night, go hike a dune to see a sunset, or clean my house- anything to get my body moving
going plastic free: plastic is equally disruptive to our bodies and to our environment. It’s harmful to our wildlife and toxic to our systems. Phthalates and BPA are known endocrine disruptors. The production of it creates toxic fumes. It never breaks down and often ends up in our oceans where the wildlife eat it. And then we eat the wildlife that has microbeads of plastic in it. While it is extremely difficult to go 100% plastic-free (believe me I’m definitely not there yet) I do try to lessen the amount I use through things like reusable cups, straws, cutlery, plates, homemade products instead of purchasing, and buying locally and in bulk when possible.
lessening the number of products I use: the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals from use in cosmetic products while the US has only banned 8. The FDA does not require testing and proven safety before these products hit the shelves. In fact, they are only required to do testing if there is a problem. Unfortunately, many of the health issues associated with these types of toxins are long-term. According to the Huffington Post, the average woman puts on 515 synthetic chemicals on her body everyday from product use that ranges from makeup, hairspray, perfume, and heat-protectant in the hair to shampoos, deodorants, and lotions. I’ve chosen a few, minimally processed products, that are free from fragrances, parabens, and phthalates. I personally choose to not daily wear perfume, fake-tans, makeup, and nail polish so I can free up my budget to buy better quality shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorants.
daily outdoor time: there’s no denying the health benefits of being outdoors. It’s easy in the summer and fall months, but I’ve made it a point over the years to try and get at least 30 minutes outdoors, even in the winter months.
stretching daily: maybe it’s the gymnast in me, but stretching has always helped to release the tension in my body. Whenever I feel stressed I like to run through a yoga flow to help release the tension I’m storing. Plus it is necessary to recover from strenuous workouts. You never want to outlive your mobility. Flexibility should be an essential part of your fitness routine.
limiting eating out to special occasions: even eating “unhealthy” food at home is way healthier than eating out. You get to control the amounts of things like oil, salt, and additives. It’s helpful to know exactly what you’re consuming.
eliminate carageenan: carageenan is an additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods. It is often found in dairy-free milk products, yogurts, and meat products. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this additive and the FDA even considered banning it at one point, but it is a well known gastro-intestinal irritant with symptoms ranging from mild bloating to irritable bowel syndrome. However, other studies have linked it to liver and colorectal cancers, immune suppression, fetal toxicity and birth defects, and glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Essentially, I was buying a lot of it in my almond and coconut milks so companies could really water down their products and then add carageenan in them to cheaply make them thicker. I suggest finding companies that don’t use it (Elmhurst and New Barn are my favorites) or simply making your own. To make your own almond milk, soak 1 cup of almonds in water over night. Drain and blend in a high speed blender with 8 cups of water. Strain with a nut milk bag and you have a clean product to use in all your favorite recipes. As a bonus you can bake the almond pulp in the oven on low heat and make your own almond flour for a total zero-waste recipe.
blue light glasses: becoming increasingly popular, blue light glasses block the blue light emitted from technology- including computers, phones, tvs, and tablets. Excessive blue light can cause headaches/migraines, retinal damage, and eye fatigue and night time exposure to blue light can prohibit melatonin production disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm and sleep cycle.
I hope these healthy habits were helpful to you. Everyone is on their own journey and no I didn’t make all of these changes in one day. I like to pick one or two habits to develop at a time. These are just the habits I’ve developed that I find have made the most impact in my overall health.