10 Ways to Make Your Health a Habit
Add one (or more) of these to your routine
Start With Health
As I’ve said before, your health is essential to giving you the energy for working on your passion. I know your WHY stands for “What Hypes You,” but it doesn’t hurt to take tiny actions towards a healthier lifestyle. Also, if building a popping physique or accomplishing a specific athletic feat is one of your goals, it helps to develop habits that get you closer to said goal.
Here are 10 different daily habits you can implement — and tips on how to get started for each — to become a healthier, more successful you.
1. Walk 5 Miles
According to verywell.com, if you weigh 180 pounds and walk one mile, congratulations: You just burned approximately 100 calories. (65 calories per mile for someone weighing 120 pounds.) So, if you walk 5 miles in a day, that equates to 325–500 calories burned. The best part? It doesn’t increase hunger. You can walk for quite a ways without it having an effect on your satiety level.
An easy way to walk more in your day is to do it first thing in the morning. A brisk 2-mile walk upon waking sets you up for a day of steps. While this may sound like an overly-simple habit, think about society’s sit-and-work-for-eight-hours habit. Combat it with an active morning — and evening for that matter.
2. Fast Intermittently
I’ve preached about this concept before. The research is overwhelming, and while it has it’s fair share of dissent, intermittent fasting has worked well for me, and could be a helping hand for you too. Basically, you push eating until later in your day; for example, I wake up around 7:30 in the morning, then drink only coffee and water — zero calories — until 1 in the afternoon.
You can start fasting by moving your breakfast back half an hour every day until it’s noon or so. You might feel slight pangs of hunger in the beginning, but they will eventually subside. Drink plenty of fluids during your fasting window, and make sure to get plenty of sleep, another habit I mention later.
3. Jump Rope
This one isn’t as popular as the above two, but I believe it to be pivotal in my quest for a sculpted body. Hands-down the best exercise to burn the most calories in a short amount of time that isn’t named “jogging,” jumping rope is great for a few reasons. You can do it anywhere, it involves a singular piece of equipment (a jump rope), it burns calories like none other, and you can do multiple tricks and functional workouts with it, keeping things interesting.
The simplest way to add jump rope to your routine is to include it with your daily morning walk! Walk a mile to a place of your choosing, bust out your rope, do a quick HIIT workout, and walk back. The results are compounded if you do this while fasted. (See how this all fits together?)
We all know water is good for us. But how it keeps our bodies functioning cannot be overstated. We need to drink enough water in order to be worth anything that day.
Grab a Hydro Flask — preferably a big one — and down 3 of them throughout the day. Keep the bottle next to you at all times so you drink involuntarily. Easy peasy.
5. Eat More Plants
I can recall how I’d roll my eyes at the whole “eat five servings of veggies per day” shtick, but it turns out they got that one right. The more plant-based your diet, the better you will feel overall. Dairy, meat products, sugar, heavily processed food…it’s all sh*t. Want proof? Try this documentary…or this one…or this one.
A trick to get more fruits and vegetables into your daily intake is to make it the main part of your meal. Instead of having chicken with a side of broccoli and mashed potatoes and ice cream for dinner, go with a giant salad, or veggie soup, or Buddha bowl with plenty of different vegetables, starches, grains, and legumes. Make fruit your dessert (with some chocolate of course).
Trust me, watch some of these documentaries and tell me you don’t want to go vegan cold-turkey.
6. Get Adequate Sleep
Yep, 7–9 hours isn’t a recommendation — it’s a necessity. Sleep is a vital part of your body’s recovery, helping you recharge for the next day and build muscle back up from tearing it down previously. It also gives your digestive system a break (unless you somehow eat while sleeping, in which case I’d be interested in meeting you).
I know this is absolutely lame, but set an alarm for nighttime if you find it hard to get yourself to bed, and try to wake up naturally. Keep your damn phone out of your room. Give yourself enough time to wind down and wake up as naturally as your body wants, so leave enough time for a solid 8 hours.
7. Sit Up Straight
This is a tough one as far as developing a habit goes, but it’s important. If you work at a desk or watch TV and slouch, say goodbye to your normal posture in your later years. Being hunched over for hours is not natural and your body hates it.
Stretches are a good way to reverse the damage slouching has already caused. As for defeating the daily droop, set an alarm on your phone for each hour you’re in a chair as a reminder to get off your rump and move around. This also gets you away from your screen, which has it’s own health benefits.
Before you read that subtitle, you were probably doing what everyone is used to doing: Breathing shallowly and rapidly. This isn’t some stupid metaphor about how “just breathe, everything will be okay”; I mean this in the literal sense. Being aware of your breath is the basis of meditation, and taking some deliberate deep breaths helps regulate stress levels and relax you naturally.
Maybe combine this with habit #7. When you get up and stroll around, focus on your breath. Four seconds in, four seconds hold, four seconds out. Do this for a couple minutes, then return to your workspace refreshed and alive.
9. Go Outside
I’ve talked about this before as well. Vitamin D is a key component in fighting depression and keeping your bones and teeth healthy. Plus, if you walk barefoot on the natural ground, you theoretically can transfer energy from the Earth to your body. It’s called earthing or grounding.
This is a difficult one for people in cold climates, but I urge you to get as much outside exposure as you can. (Within reason…I know skin cancer is a thing.) Set up family or friend gatherings outside, go for a walk, do whatever you can to get that Vitamin D.
10. Read Up on Health
Boom! You’re doing this right now! Learning what benefits your body and what doesn’t is huge in the quest for health. The more you know, the more you grow (or shrink, depending on your goal).
Whenever you have a commute or some dead time, open up Medium or Quora or whatever place you trust for health information and devour it. Read with both an open and a critical mind. Knowledge truly aids in creating your ultimate health habit routine, like a playlist to the body of your dreams.
(Following my health journey on Instagram isn’t bad for motivation either!)
Implement these into your life, and you’ll be well on your way to a more energetic lifestyle.
Remember: Healthy life = Opportunities to crush your purpose on Earth.
Hope this helps!
Jacob Lyda is a man on a mission…he just happens to change that mission constantly. He is currently writing a novel/short story collection and will — most likely — be documenting and giving lifestyle tips on Medium. Follow him at your own risk.