With summer around the corner, it’s natural to think of ways to start living healthier, both to prep for swimsuit season and for general well being. But completely transforming your lifestyle from average Joe to fitness expert can be difficult and won’t happen overnight. To work on a healthier you with a minimum amount of hassle, try some of these lifestyle hacks:
1. Cut Out Sugary Drinks
Most people know how bad sodas are for them, with all their empty calories from high fructose corn syrup. But have you thought about the sugar you get from other drinks? A sweet tea or syrupy coffee concoction can be just as bad for you as a large soda. Try taking your tea and coffee without cream or sugar. If you really can’t stand missing out on some sweetness, try adding cinnamon — it’s sweet and has fewer calories than sugar.
2. Eat Off a Smaller Plate
When you’re making food at home, break out the appetizer plates when it’s time to serve yourself. Smaller plates make portions look larger, fooling your brain into thinking that you are eating more than you are. This will help you feel satisfied faster!
3. Use Stairs Whenever Possible
If you work in a multistory building, odds are you take advantage of the elevator or escalator. But if you can, try taking the stairs instead! You’ll work your legs and burn calories; a 170-pound male will burn 25 calories over 2 minutes of stair walking.1
4. Play Videogames (With Movement!)
Videogames might seem like the epitome of an unhealthy activity, sitting on the couch for hours in front of a screen. But they don’t have to be that way! Many games take advantage of movement sensors, tracking wands and floor mats to get you moving while you play. After a round of virtual bowling or a faceoff on the digital dance floor, you’ll have had so much fun that you’ll hardly notice you burned calories.
5. Get Out of Your Chair
If you have a desk job, sitting all day can hurt your health. In addition to the back pain that can result from poor posture, the lack of movement can wreak havoc on your metabolism — making you hungry even though you’re barely burning calories. To help, try to get up and walk around regularly throughout the day.2
6. Park Farther Away
When you drive somewhere, it’s tempting to park as close to the entrance as possible. Instead, reverse your impulse and park as far away as the lot allows. The extra walking will get your blood flowing and help you burn a few extra calories each day.
7. Eat Breakfast
It’s easy to forget the first meal of the day when you’re rushing out of the house but that’s a big mistake. A balanced breakfast gets your metabolism rolling first thing in the morning, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. It also boosts your energy and keeps you from getting hungry enough to binge on a high-calorie lunch.
8. Learn Bodyweight Exercises
Even if you’re avoiding the gym because you don’t have time to go all the way there or because you don’t want to pay for a membership, you don’t have to give up on exercise. Bodyweight exercises can be performed in your home or at a park, helping you save time and money while staying in shape.
9.Download a Fitness Tracker App
Sometimes the hardest part of staying healthy is keeping yourself accountable. There are a variety of smartphone apps that take some of that burden off you. Programs like Argus and MyFitnessPal can track your movement, log your diet and compare your progress to benchmarks you set. This will make it much easier to keep yourself honest while you try to stay healthy.
10. Listen to Music While You Work Out
Studies have shown that listening to music while exercising makes it easier for you to exert yourself, powering through pain while you focus on the tunes. Try making a playlist that’s the same length as your workout. That way, you can sail through the whole exercise session on a music high, stopping as soon as the music fades.3
1 Kallmyer, T. (n.d.). 15 life hacks for a healthier and slimmer you. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://healthyeater.com/slimming-life-hacks
2 Brilaki, M. (2012, March 31). 24 life-hacks to get healthier & fitter without actually exercising. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://fitnessreloaded.com/get-fit-without-exercise/
3 Flanzraich, D. (2014, September 10). 43 science-backed health hacks for busy people. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from https://open.bufferapp.com/43-science-backed-health-hacks-busy-people/