5 Daily Habits to Boost Your Physical Health
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to be physically fit. The trick is to work in small and healthy habits into your everyday lifestyle. Eventually, your actions will be so routine that you’ll build a healthier and happier body without even thinking about it. Here’s a few simple habits you can start implementing now to help boost your physical health.
You might think that walking is not a big deal, but the truth is it can make a huge difference in your physical health. In fact, you can burn an equal amount of calories going for a long walk than you can going for a brief fast run. Walking is a low impact activity, it can reduce adrenal stress, and it can fire up your metabolism. Make walking a habit by aiming for at least 10,000 steps a day, but the more the better. You can track this stat with fitness trackers, pedometers, or even with many smartphones. A few easy ways to get in a walk is to enjoy your cup of coffee on the go during a morning stroll, take a walk after dinner while you digest, park farther away from a destination, or get off at an earlier public transportation stop to walk the rest of the way. To add an extra strength building component, try wearing ankle weights during your walks - just be sure to start with low weights and work your way up.
While we are on the topic of movement, biking is another fantastic way to increase your physical health. Biking not only strengthens your leg muscles, but it also can improve your cardiovascular health. If you think about it, there are many ways to work a bike ride into your day. Instead of ordering food in, opt to bike to the restaurant and pick it up. Instead of taking public transportation or ride-sharing, bike to meet up with friends or run errands. Biking is not only good for you, but it also can be a fun way to explore your neighborhood.
Drink More Water
You’ve likely already heard about the importance of drinking enough water, but you might not know why it’s important and how much you really should be drinking. Drinking water is important because the body uses it in cells, organs, and tissue to regulate a variety of bodily functions - after all, our bodies are made of about 60% of water. Becoming dehydrated can wreak havoc on your physical health and prevent you from feeling well enough to be active. Health experts recommend approximately 2L of water a day (or about 8 8oz glasses) to maintain adequate hydration. An easy way to track your water intake is to get a 1L water bottle and aim to fill it up and drink it twice every day.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is one of the easiest ways to improve your physical health from the comfort of your own home. Stretching keeps your muscles strong and flexible to prevent them from becoming shorter, tighter, and unable to extend properly, which can make them weaker. This is important in both preserving your muscle’s functionality and the range of motion in your joints, which is especially vital to maintain as we age. Make a habit of stretching every morning before you get out of bed. There are a ton of “bed stretching guides” that offer you a quick and easy model to adopt. You can also make use of your time watching YouTube or Netflix by simultaneously stretching. Set small goals, like touching your toes, and track your incremental improvements.
Reduce Your Caffeine
Sorry coffee addicts, but reducing your caffeine intake can be another way to improve your physical health. "Why?", might you ask. Caffeine is a drug, and consuming too much can make your body dependent. You can even become lethargic and suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you’re dependent and do not consume enough. Caffeine addicts often fall into a loop of high and low energy: when they feel tired they boost their energy with caffeine, only to have it fall again and repeat the cycle. Too much caffeine can also cause headaches, irritability, nervousness, and more. Experts say that up to up to 400 mg of caffeine per day (about 4 cups of brewed coffee) appears to be safe for most adults, however sometimes less is more. Try gradually swapping out your fourth (then third) cup with a tea that has less caffeine. The goal is to reduce your body’s dependency so you can start to experience a more even keel energy level throughout the day.
We hope that by making small, healthy habits a part of daily routine, we can all craft a healthier lifestyle and boost our physical health. Although these changes are small, they add up to make a big difference.
Cover photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels