Have you ever declared to yourself to finally jump on the health and fitness wagon once and for all, only to fall off after a night or two of indulgence, call the whole thing off, and begin the cycle again the following week?
If so, you aren’t alone.
The good news is that a few simple mindset and lifestyle shifts can bring you from a see-saw fitness junkie to someone whose life is rooted in health and fitness practices – for the long run.
You see, fitness trends come and go, but developing the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that lasts is the key.
In fact, here are 5 practices you can implement today to lay the groundwork and maintain a fitness-based lifestyle.
Focus on Movement – Not Just “Exercise”
A healthy lifestyle is an active one – where movement goes beyond the four walls of a gym.
When you think of your “workout time” as one hour squished into a busy day, you may be missing plenty of opportunities to incorporate fitness naturally into your day (and ditch the stressful schedule!).
Walk or cycle instead of driving, invest in a standing desk, and switch up your social activities from happy hour to a brisk walk outdoors or fun fitness class.
Have a day slammed with meetings? Take some of those for a walk – you may find conversation and ideas flowing more easily than over the traditional conference table.
Hydrate First Thing
It may seem like a very simple habit, but rehydrating your body after a night of sleep is one of the healthiest ways to energize and detoxify your body.
As soon as you wake up, drink 16-24 ounces of room temperature water. Add a squeeze of lemon for some flavor, and incorporate some morning stretching to wake up your digestive system before eating your first meal.
Develop a Solid Home Workout
All too often, we use our busy schedule as an excuse for not making it to the gym and following through on our fitness goals.
But the fact is, you can accomplish most of the same strength and cardio workouts right from your own living room.
The key is finding something that you love, and will stick with!
Workouts for at home can include yoga or pilates, low-impact HIIT workouts, bodyweight strength training, and other options.
Investing in a few sets of weights and resistance bands can take your home workouts to the next level as well – the key here is developing a routine and mindset that your home can serve as your gym – thus removing the roadblocks to working out!
Prioritize Whole Foods
With all the nutritional trends out there, it can be confusing to know what works (and what you can actually live with).
While there is no “magic bullet” to nutritional perfection, you can simplify and “healthify” your life with one simple rule: “Is this a whole food that my grandmother would recognize?”
Think fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, fish – if you’re putting 70-80% whole foods on your plate (with an emphasis on plants!), chances are you’ll be getting the nutrients you need, and these nutritionally dense foods will crowd out the remaining 20% of “treats” that make their way into your diet!
Allow For Balance
Speaking of that remaining 20% – any sustainable healthy lifestyle must be rooted in a mindset of balance and flow. No one is perfectly healthy all the time, but our bodies are designed to bounce back and come back to a healthy stasis!
And after all, isn’t the healthiest lifestyle one that incorporates pleasure and joy?
When we trust ourselves to come back to our foundation of health and fitness, we can more deeply enjoy the dinners out with friends, the nights we miss a workout to enjoy a movie or time with loved ones, and ultimately we’re able to accept ourselves in all parts of the journey.
Remember that health and fitness isn’t a trend – it’s a lifestyle. You’re in this for the long run, so allow your practices to be joyful as you move, breathe, and nourish your way to your healthiest self.