The formula for getting in shape is simple, eat well and exercise. The only problem is that life is not that simple. Sometimes working adults don’t have time to get to the gym as much as they would like. Following a perfect diet is great in theory, but busy adults can’t always eat as well as they want.
Here are some micro-habits that anyone can do. They aren’t enough to get you your dream body, but they will move you in the right direction.
Drink Water When You Wake Up
Drinking water is important. According to the CDC, “Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood change, the body to overheat, constipation, and kidney stones.”
Unfortunately, most people don’t drink enough water. One simple way to drink more water is to leave a glass of water next to your bed at night. Then, drink that glass first thing in the morning.
Drink Water With Every Meal
Getting into the habit of drinking water with every meal helps you in two ways.
- It increases your daily water intake.
- It makes you eat less food.
Number one is obvious. Number two is a little more surprising to most people. Drinking water fills your stomach up a little, which will lead to you eating less without feeling deprived.
Walk During Your Phone Calls
Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to fit into your day. Unfortunately, the average American walks a little over 5,000 steps per day. Most people would benefit from finding a couple of easy ways to fit some more steps into their day.
One easy way to get some extra steps is to walk during your phone calls. You can easily do that without sacrificing the quality of your call in any way.
Park in The Back of The Parking Lot
Another easy way to get some extra steps is to park at the back of the parking lot. This step might not seem like much, but think about how many times you drive somewhere. Trips to the grocery store, restaurants, work, and anything else you do will contribute a couple of extra steps. Those steps add up over time with minimal effort on your part.
Eat Fruit or Vegetable With Every Meal
Nutrition is one of the things that people never seem to agree on. There are more different types of diets than I can count. One of the few things that most diets agree on is that fruits and vegetables are good for you. That means that people eat enough fruits and vegetables, right?
Of course not.
According to the CDC, only 1 in 10 adults eats the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. It would be unreasonable to expect yourself to become a fruit and vegetable person overnight. A better goal would be to make sure you eat at least one fruit or one vegetable with every meal. Once that becomes a habit, you can increase your intake from there.
Stand Up and Stretch Every Hour
The Mayo Clinic analyzed 13 studies on sitting. They found that sitting for more than eight hours a day without activity increases your risk of dying at a similar rate to obesity and smoking.
The simple solution would be to sit less. Unfortunately, many people have jobs that require them to sit most or all of their workday. One way to help this is to set a timer every hour. Whenever that timer goes off, stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes.
Carry a Healthy Snack in Your Bag
Snacking is the enemy of every good diet. When we are hungry between meals, we naturally reach for whatever is most convenient, which usually means junk food.
Carrying a healthy snack with you solves that problem. My favorite options are nuts or fruits. Nuts are better than fruits, though, because they won’t go bad if you don’t eat them or forget them in your bag.
Slow Down When You Eat
It takes your brain around 20 minutes to realize your stomach is full, which is one of the main reasons people overeat. When you always eat quickly, you make it far too easy to overeat.
Slowing down gives you a better chance to notice when you are full. If you are eating with other people, it can also make the meal more enjoyable. Enjoy a good conversation with your family and friends while you eat. Your family and your waistline will thank you for it.
80/20 Your Diet
100% adherence to a diet is a fool’s errand. Even if you manage to succeed, you will be miserable. Tasty food is often not the healthiest. Indulge every so often. Getting in shape doesn’t have to make you miserable.
This is not a license to ignore good dietary habits completely. Just live a little. A good rule of thumb is to try and make roughly 80% of your meals “healthy.” That will leave you with 20% of your meals to live a little.
Take Sleep Seriously
A lack of sleep has many negative effects on the human body. And yet, according to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. If you are part of the 33% that doesn’t sleep enough, you need to seriously consider improving your sleep habits.
I get it, life gets busy, and it's not always easy to get enough sleep. Even if you can’t get a full 8 hours of sleep, you should still make an effort to sleep more. Small improvements in your sleep habits are better than nothing.
Getting in shape is difficult, and it does not happen overnight. When you consider all the responsibilities that adults have, it gets even harder. Thankfully, implementing a few micro-habits will help make that process a little bit easier.