Even during a pandemic, when life isn't as busy as it normally is, it can be really hard to stick with healthy habits surrounding exercise and diet. On top of that, we're stuck inside small apartments (most likely extra small if you're living in New York City), with limited options to get fresh air and workouts in.
While you certainly could go jogging with a mask on in Central Park every day, no one can blame you for not feeling up for it. But as someone who usually gets a lot of steps in while living and working in NYC, you might have seen your health decline a bit these past few months. It's time to take baby steps towards improvement in any way you can.
If you're having trouble following through with major health goals, try implementing these easy, quick and effective lockdown-friendly habits for long-term beneficial results.
Drink a tall glass of water as soon as you wake up
Starting your day with this habit will make your water intake goals more achievable. It will also give your morning an extra boost of energy. Want to take the challenge up a notch? Drink a tall glass of water right before each meal. It will help you feel full sooner, too.
Giving our healthy "to-do's" a designated time and place makes it more likely that we'll stick with them.
Take the stairs
You probably don't come across as many stairs now as you did during your morning commute (entering and exiting subway stations counts as a workout in New York). But if you do happen to stand before an escalator and a flight of stairs, remember this piece of advice. It's the oldest trick in the book, and an effective one at that. Don't let your laziness get the best of you if a mini workout is so easy to fit in. Even better if your apartment building provides that option every time you leave the house.
Instead of signing up for the gym, subscribe to a virtual workout class
Signing up to the gym is a classic New Year's resolution. Now, guess how many gym memberships end up going to waste after merely a month. You're right: a lot.
Instead of forcing yourself to leave the house for exercise (and ending up finding excuses), sign up for an affordable (or even free) at-home workout class. It's also a very pandemic-friendly option. No excuses now! When things are back to normal, you might even be excited to try some local gyms or workout classes in the city.
Remove the grease from your pizza
I know you're rolling your eyes at this, but soaking up some of that grease on your pizza with a paper towel might be the difference between a semi-healthy diet and a looming fatty liver. It's a quick but effective way to limit your fat intake over time, especially when you eat greasy foods regularly. Don't worry, it won't make your pizza any less enjoyable.
We love smart and easy hacks that actually make a difference.
...and then, enjoy it with no regrets
When reading the previous point, you probably thought "I'm already eating a whole pizza, what difference does it make?". Well, it does make a difference. So you can enjoy the entire thing and still feel like you made a tiny sacrifice for your health.
Implement a healthy ingredient into your favorite dish
Pizza is an essential part of any diet. Especially in New York City. All jokes aside (remember, I'm not a health expert), it's an indispensable indulgence few of us are willing to give up. So if you're looking for smart ways to balance your diet, there are some easy-to-implement options.
Healthy food doesn't have to be unappealing. Find ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into dishes you like (pineapple on pizza, anyone?). If you love making pasta for dinner but tend to go with the prepared sauce, add some fresh tomatoes or mushrooms to it. Quick, easy, extra nutrients.
Prep your meals for the week
You've heard it a million times, but it's actually a smart thing to do. You won't be scrambling for things to eat, and you can automatically include those healthy ingredients into every meal.
Work on your posture
This is something that's so obvious, we usually forget to pay attention to it at all. But with long hours spent at your desk and on the couch, paired with minimal time outside being active, your posture is more important than ever to look after. If you catch yourself slumping over for hours on end, it's great that you're even noticing. Try to give yourself a little nudge every now and then to stand straight, and you'll eventually do it automatically. Get up every half hour or so and walk a few steps to keep from developing stiff muscles and aches.
Moisturize. You too, sir.
Another daily habit your body will thank you for later on.
Floss every day
Start flossing once a day, in the morning or at night, and you'll find yourself doing it without a thought in no time. We often forget how important it is until it's been a while and... ouch. Do your teeth (and your heart health) a favor by making flossing a habit.
Do squats while brushing your teeth
If you're one of those people who hates exercise, this is a brilliant way to get some moves in and get your heart rate up while you're already doing a daily chore.
Stretching is better than no exercise
Speaking of exercise... While you know you should be moving regularly, sometimes you just don't feel like it. Instead of doing nothing, do some light stretching. Even 5-10 minutes will be beneficial, and you won't feel bad for having done nothing at all.
What are your favorite easy health hacks to implement during lockdown, or even into a busy lifestyle after the pandemic? Share them in the comments!