Let’s face it:
Taking the first steps toward establishing healthy habits and an active lifestyle can be challenging. Not everyone is going to be a super athlete and most of us would prefer to developing simple habits to stay moderately or slightly active.
What’s a moderately active lifestyle?
If you are like me & don’t fit in the category of “marathoners” or “fitness addicts”, then you have come to the right place for advice 😊. Small victories definitely count! A moderately active lifestyle is a set of habits developed to help you stay fit, healthy and happy.
There is a lot of information out there, but picking up useful and actionable habits can be challenging. So I will share the advice that has worked for me, and will hopefully help you pick up easy habits to stay active and fit. To that end, I’ve put together a list of five fitness tips that the everyday person can easily and reliably use.
Five Fitness Tips to Stay Moderately Active
Let’s take a look.
1. Focus On Consistency
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”
—James N. Watkins
Popular opinions suggest that we need the right training program or the perfect diet to make any fitness progress. So, many people today believe that nothing short of having the ideal plan will help them improve. The truth is, consistency matters a lot more than trying to be perfect.
Even a sub-par fitness plan will deliver incredible benefits in the long run, so long as you apply yourself consistently and focus on making small progress. Instead of trying to be perfect, do things you can sustain. If that means exercising for ten minutes per day and eating healthily 80 percent of the time, then do that.
Over time, even small efforts compound to huge improvements, so long as you persist.
Resesarch has shown time and time again that having a “plan of action” increases your chances of being consistent: define the “what, how long, where, when”. For example “I will stretch (What) for 5 minutes (how long) in my bedroom (where) just before going to sleep (when)”. You can write this down and place the message on your bed table to improve the changes that you will follow-through and make this a consistent habit.
2. Walk More
Walking is one of the most underrated ways to become more active, improve your health, and take your first steps toward developing healthy fitness habits.
While many people overlook walking because it’s easy, the activity offers many benefits. For example, walking is a fantastic way to burn extra calories each day and control your weight. For reference, a 120-pound person can burn around 60 calories per mile.
Walking is also a great way to boost your mood, aid digestion, and improve cardiovascular health. The best part is, walking is simple, non-intimidating for beginners, and you can easily fit it into your everyday life.
What finally worked for me to do more walking is having specific “Walking opportunities” (I couldn’t find a better term but hopefully you understand what I mean!). Obviously these habits depend on your location and what you enjoy doing in life. Here is what worked for me and can perhaps inspire you to find out what would work for you as well:
- This was before COVID, but I used to pick up a newspaper on the week-end at my local gas station or starbucks (both about 7-8 minutes walking distance from my place).
- Listening to my favorite podcast or music help me go outside for a random walk.
- I just make a habit of going outside and walking while I talk to my friends and family over the phone.
So my advice is for you to think about combining walking with a fun activity during or after the walk (reading the paper, listening to music, talking with friends).
3. Practice Portion Control
Many people believe that healthy nutrition is about eating the right foods and avoiding the harmful ones. These days, with the keto frenzy in full force, many people believe that not eating carbs is the key to good health and longevity. The truth is, your body needs a wide array of nutrients to function well. So it’s essential to keep a varied diet and consume many different foods.
What matters more is that you practice caloric mindfulness and portion control. Instead of limiting the types of foods you consume, learn to enjoy various foods in moderation. And yes, it’s also good to enjoy some of your guilty pleasures here and there.
To get started with portion control, take a plate and simply add what you think you should eat for that meal. Try to avoid second servings. If you still feel a need for more food, grab an Apple!
4. Get Enough Sleep
If you’re looking for healthy lifestyle habits, make adequate sleep your priority.
Good sleep is at the center of human health, and it plays a vital role in almost every process in the body. Sleeping enough allows us to feel better, be more creative, do better work, be in a better mood, and stay healthy for a long time.
Research also suggests that adequate sleep is essential for impulse control, memory, learning, and cognitive function.
So, four of the simplest (but most challenging) things we can do to elevate every area of our lives are:
- setting a regular sleeping schedule
- improving our sleep environment
- creating a relaxing evening routine
- remaining disciplined with establishing good sleeping habits
5. Do Things You Enjoy
Prevailing wisdom suggests that fitness is the necessary evil we need to endure to get fit, feel good, and stay healthy for decades.
This is not true. Fitness should be something you enjoy. As such, you shouldn’t follow advice revolving around must-do exercises or activities. Instead, focus on what you enjoy doing. That way, you will find the whole process a lot more engaging, and you will look forward to each upcoming workout.
For example, if you find traditional gym training boring, don’t do it and instead try something else. Good examples include sports, martial arts, dancing, rollerblading, cycling, and running.
You can also test different activities out and see what you enjoy doing best.
Continue reading our posts on building an active lifestyle.