Resolution Revolution – 6 Small Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Health & Fitness
May is almost here, and if you’re like millions of people all across Australia, you’re probably starting to shift rather uncomfortably in your seat whenever you’re reminded about those New Year’s Resolutions you made somewhere in the deep fog of last year. We get it, you totally had the best of intentions. However, first there was the chaos of the holiday period, and then life just somehow happened. So, here you are in the second half of February, and those goals you victoriously pinned onto your vision board are now glaring at you menacingly, yelling “J’accuse”!
Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
The hands-down-number-one reason so many new year’s resolutions crash and burn in a spectacular, fiery maelstrom is that most people aim way too high. If you haven’t worked out in years, your chances of following through on your blood oath to hit the gym twice a week are slim to none. If you’ve been surviving on Uber Eats so long that you’ve started believing that all food originates in a paper bag, conveniently delivered to your door, your dream of a Paleo-Keto-Raw-Vegan-Juice Fast has about as much chance of success as a chicken wearing a horse costume has of winning the Melbourne Cup. The key to making those resolutions stick and working your way to a healthier, happier lifestyle, is to make small, achievable changes to your lifestyle that don’t eat large holes in what is already a crowded schedule. In this post, we’ll look at a few suggestions that can help you get on the path to health and fitness without the inevitable dose of guilt a couple of months down the track:
Step it Up
Never made it to that Step class at the gym that you swore would be a weekly ritual? Never fear! There are stairs everywhere, so why not use them? A simple choice to avoid elevators and escalators as much as possible will make a surprising difference to your aerobic fitness and will help you shed inches off your waistline. In the office, at the train station, at the department store, wherever you find yourself, using the stairs is an absurdly simple, yet effective health strategy.
Go the Distance
Similarly, implementing strategies to move more without turning your life upside-down can yield great results. Heading around the corner to pick up a couple of things from the supermarket? Ditch the car and walk, or ride your bike instead. If you must use the car, consider parking a couple of streets from your destination and hoofing the remaining distance. Even short bursts of foot or peddle power can get your heart and lungs working and burn calories.
Zen Your Diet
Keto, Paleo, Atkins, No-Carb, South Beach – whatever fad you choose, it’s going to require significant effort and changes to the way you shop and eat. It might sound ridiculously simplistic, but one of the most effective ways to lose weight is just to eat less. The Japanese have a concept called “Hachiwari Manpuku”, which literally translates as “80% Full”. It’s an ingrained part of their culture to stop eating before they feel completely full. Fewer calories in means fewer to burn, so why not give the Hachiwari Manpuku concept a shot?
Stand By Me
You’ve probably heard the catchphrase “sitting is the new smoking”. While the jury might be out on how precisely accurate that may be, there is no question spending more time upright is better for you. According to some estimates, an additional 3 hours standing per day burns the equivalent of running 10 marathons over the course of a year. Standing also provides resistance strengthens your bones and muscles, can help improve your posture and may contribute to improved digestion, liver and kidney function.
Sleep It Off
No, it’s not too good to be true. Getting more sleep can genuinely help you stay fit, healthy and lose weight. The first and most basic reason is that if you’re unconscious, you can’t eat. The midnight munchies can add a disturbing amount to your calorie count. Meanwhile, it’s been conclusively shown that a proper night’s sleep helps to align your metabolism so that your processing your food intake more efficiently. This aside, better rest means you’re more alert, your reflexes improve, and your internal organs get the rest they require to function at optimum levels.
Look After Your Feet
You didn’t really think you were going to get away without a foot-related entry, did you? Your feet contain 50 of the bones and employ 60 joints and over 200 muscles, tendons and ligaments to hold them together and keep them moving. All this hardware absorbs hundreds, if not thousands of kilograms of force every day, yet are further from your heart than any part of your body, which impacts blood flow. Ask anyone who has suffered an Achilles tendon injury, plantar fasciitis or other debilitating foot or heel ailments, and you will quickly understand the impact these can have on the entire body, especially hips, back and shoulders. In particular, if you decide to take on some of the advice above, such as standing, taking the stairs and walking more, make sure that you have good quality-sturdy shoes with plenty of arch and heel support so that you can keep moving and enjoy the health and fitness benefits that they bring.
See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Improving your health without reworking your schedule doesn’t have to be rocket-science. Give some of these simple, eminently achievable and minimally disruptive strategies a shot, and pretty soon you’ll be able to give that vision board a celebratory fist pump.