Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle but find yourself feeling like wellness is out of reach? The truth is wellness is accessible to all. You don’t need a lot of time or money to achieve a healthy lifestyle; it’s simply about making the small daily choices that add up to big long-term change.
For World Health Day 2021, I want to help you in your journey to living a healthier lifestyle. If you’re ready to make a change, I’ve collected 30 wellness ideas to help you choose wellness one day at a time. Try one, pick a handful, or use them as a checklist. These tips are simple and accessible to all, and when added together, will change your life.
1. Go on a 20-30 Minute Walk or Jog
We all know we should be more active, but physical activity can tend to get lost in the midst of our busy calendars and the daily grind. Walking or jogging is one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity to boost your metabolism, help you maintain weight, and reduce your risk for disease. If you have a hard time squeezing fitness into your day, try waking up just 30 minutes earlier for a walk or jog. It’s a great way to start the day!
Looking to spice up your walk? Try this fun 20 Minute Interval Walking Treadmill Workout for Beginners!
2. Stand Up More Often
Try to stand more throughout the day. Standing is not just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Get up and move around, stretch out your muscles, fill up your water bottle, or even take your work call outside for a walk around the block. Standing is a simple and easy way to improve your health.
3. Lift Weights for 5 Minutes a Day
Strength training is important for strengthening our muscles and bones and keeping us functionally fit for all kinds of daily activities. If you just can’t bring yourself to get into a regular strength training routine, start with just 5 minutes a day of lifting something heavy - dumbbells, kettlebells, water bottles, or other household items. Use what you have to complete simple exercises like squats, bicep curls, overhead press, and rows. Even 5 minutes a day can help you start building strength and physical fitness.
Have time for a full workout? Try this 15 Minute Functional Dumbbell Strength Workout!
4. Park Further Away
Park your car further away from the store or your office, so you have to walk a little further to get from point A to B. This is an easy way to force yourself to get more activity throughout the day and a nice way to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Better yet, consider an active commute if you’re close enough to your office for a bike ride or run.
5. Stretch Regularly
We’ve all heard stretching is good for us, but it’s one of those things most of us rarely make time for. Stretching feels great, and your body will feel even better afterward! Increase mobility and lengthen your muscles so you can move better and feel better all day long.
Give this 5 Minute Mobility Routine a try, designed to wake up your body, increase range of motion, and leave you feeling refreshed.
6. Take Your Workout Outside
There are tons of benefits to working out, but more and more research suggests it’s important to spend time doing outdoor activities as well. Why not combine the two for a peaceful nature walk? Or head to the park and give these fun outdoor workouts a try!
7. Do a ‘Fun’ Workout at Least Once a Week
Enjoying your workouts is so important for your mental health and the overall longevity of your fitness routine. To be successful, a fitness routine must be consistent. Breaking up the mundane of your workout schedule to find ways to play and have fun during your workouts can help keep you consistent and happy with your workout routine for the long haul.
Organize some yard games with your family, go on a hike, or join a local studio and schedule a class once a week that you can look forward to. Remember, this is about you, not anyone else, so pick something that sounds exciting to you!
8. Add More Cardio to Your Routine
Cardio may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I can appreciate that. But as a fitness instructor, I also know the vast importance of cardiovascular exercise for our physical health. Cardio helps us burn calories, lose or maintain weight, improve heart health, boost our mood, and so much more!
Try out our 10 Minute All-Out Elliptical HIIT Workout, 20 minute Interval Walking Treadmill Workout for Beginners, Power Intervals & Power Strokes Rowing Machine Workout, or our Beginner Cycle Bike Workout.
Don’t have access to cardio equipment? Check out these 3 Walking & Running Workouts that could easily be done in your neighborhood or at a local track.
9. Set Some Fitness Goals
Setting fitness goals can be extremely helpful for many to provide direction, but also some accountability for working out regularly. If you set specific parameters for what you’d like to achieve, it’s much easier to hold yourself to it. Whatever your goals are, make them SMART:
- S: Specific - Who, What, Where, When, Why? Don’t be afraid to get into the details, and it will help you get more excited about achieving your goal.
- M: Measurable - How will you measure your results - pounds or inches lost, personal weightlifting record? Decide now so you can celebrate milestones along the way!
- A: Attainable - Do you have the resources to achieve your goal? If not, invest in what you’ll need to make your goal attainable, whether it be new shoes, a trainer, or fitness equipment.
- R: Realistic - Is your goal physically possible? Many people create goals based on what they’ve seen others achieve or how others look. It’s important to remember your bodies are unique and create a goal that’s realistic and healthy for you.
- T: Time-Based - When will you achieve your goal? 1 month, 3 months, 6? Mark it on your calendar.
10. Invest in New Fitness Gear
Having the resources around us to make our fitness goals possible can be incredibly powerful in helping you make the move from wanting to be healthy - to hooked on practicing a healthy lifestyle. If you’re someone who’s been thinking about making healthy changes but doesn’t know where to start, it starts with investing in yourself. With the right fitness equipment and gear, you’ll be prepared to jump right in and put your best foot forward towards a fitness routine you look forward to every day!
11. Don’t Skip Your Warmup & Cooldown Warming up and cooling down are both extremely important for your overall performance during your workouts but also your safety. As we get older, we begin to learn how important it is to take care of our bodies, and warmups and cooldowns are your dedicated time to be gentle and give your body what it needs.
Not sure where to start? Give this 5 Minute Mobility Routine to Warm Up Your Body a try for your warmup; it’s designed with gentle movements to wake up your muscles and increase range of motion before your workout. After your workout, cooldown with this 10 Minute Essential Full Body Stretch.
12. Eat Your Greens
Eat your greens! I feel like my mom when I say that, but it turns out mom was right. Leafy green veggies are packed with nutritious fiber, vitamins, and minerals to fuel our bodies from the inside out. To fuel up on good-for-you greens, try adding a serving of leafy greens to at least one meal throughout the day. Check out our 7 Healthy & Fresh Spinach Recipes for delicious and easy ways to start incorporating more greens into your diet.
13. Hydrate All Day
Your body needs water to survive and thrive. When you’re hydrated, your body is primed and feeling its best. Drink a glass of water in the morning and another glass of water before bed each night. To stay hydrated throughout the day, carry a water bottle with you, and get up for a walk to the water cooler to refill your water bottle a few times a day.
14. Drink Coffee & Tea Plain
If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, it can be easy to forget all of the added sugars and calories that come along with your afternoon pick-me-up of choice. Challenge yourself to drink your coffee or tea black. You may not enjoy it as much as your favorite sugary latte, but you may realize this is a simple way for you to regularly cut down on the extras and eat a little cleaner throughout the day!
15. Prepare More Home Cooked Meals
Eating at home is healthier, and not to mention way more delicious. While not all of us can find the time to make home cooked meals every night, try to make a home cooked meal at least once a week. When you cook at home, you have more control over the ingredients you put into your meals, and nothing fuels your body better than a healthy home cooked meal (not to mention - hello. tasty leftovers)!
Need ideas? Try out our Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps or this veggie-packed Chicken Pad Thai Recipe for a clean and filling dinner.
16. Decrease Added Sugars in Your Diet
Refined sugars only add empty calories to your daily sugar intake and can increase your risk of diabetes and obesity(1). Do a fridge clean out! Check the labels of common store-bought goods in your cupboards like marinara sauce, granola bars, or salad dressings and replace these items for smarter low-sugar options.
17. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is just as important as lunch or dinner, but the meal many of us tend to skip. A healthy breakfast can fuel your brain and body, so you’ll think and perform better for the day ahead.
For some tasty options to fuel up first thing, check out our article for 8 of the Best Easy & Healthy Breakfast Recipes. Many of these are easy to freeze and refrigerate and are perfect for a grab and go breakfast for the days where you just don’t have time to pause and enjoy!
18. Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains are a great source of fiber and can help fill you up to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. They’re an important part of a healthy whole foods diet and provide vitamins and nutrients that processed carbs cannot. Aim to replace refined grains like white bread, pasta, baked treats, or pastries with healthy whole grain choices.
19. Check Up on Gut Health
If you’ve been feeling like your immune system is running on empty, it may be time for a gut health check. A healthy gut is the key to good physical and mental health, immunity, and more! An easy way to start is by eating more probiotics like plain yogurt or kombucha. Try to get one good source of probiotics in your diet each day.
20. Add a Boost of Healthy Fats to Your Next Meal
Don’t forget the healthy fats! While protein and carbs seem to get their fair share of love, we often forget about the amazing benefit of incorporating healthy fats into our regular diet. Emphasize healthy fats found in natural food sources, like avocado, nuts, seeds, and fish. When cooking with oils, go for healthy unprocessed and unrefined options like olive oil, avocado oil, cold-pressed safflower oil, or sesame oil.
21. Be Positive
We all get into negative spirals, sometimes thinking we can’t achieve our dreams or be who we want to be. However, negative self-talk won’t get you there; in fact, it’s likely holding you back. When you change your mindset, you give yourself the power to change your life. Rather than talking yourself down, talk yourself up and see the amazing changes in your everyday life!
22. Do Something Social
After a year plus in pandemic mode, we all deserve some high-quality social time. Whether it’s with those in your household or friends near and far, schedule a dinner out, a FaceTime call, or a trip to a local park. Make a plan you all feel comfortable with and invest in the relationships that are important to you. When we spend time with those, we love we remember who we are, who we want to be, and where we want to go, as well as empower those around us to do the same. You’ll be amazed how social time will boost your mood!
23. Prioritize Your Sleep Schedule
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for overall health and well-being. Most healthy adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Focus one week on improving your sleep schedule; each night, add a new strategy to help you determine what works best for you. Some helpful strategies may include reading before bed, reducing blue light exposure, taking a hot bath or shower, and more! Check out our article on How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep for more ideas.
24. Make Time for Creativity
Fostering creativity in everyday life can be a great tool to destress and boost your mood(2). This is all about finding something you enjoy doing and then doing it for no reason other than pleasure. What sounds fun to you? Try painting, coloring, baking, or gardening. Once you’ve determined your creative activity of choice, set aside a few times each week to enjoy!
25. Pay it Forward
Doing something nice for others won’t just benefit them but you too. When we give, we get so much more in return. Start with simple things, like letting someone cut ahead of you in line, sending a card you’ve been meaning to send, grabbing lunch with a coworker or friend, or bringing a home-cooked dinner to someone who needs it. The more you give, the more you’ll want to.
26. Set Intentions Each Morning
Setting your intentions for the day can be a great way to bring more purpose into your life and focus your mind on what’s most important. Spend 5 minutes in the morning jotting down your top three goals for the day. These list items may be big or small, or even small steps on your way to achieving a larger goal.
27. Do Something You Love Everyday
In the midst of everyday life, it can be easy to lose sight of things that bring you joy. Set aside time to do things you love every day, whether it be pausing for 5 minutes to play with your dog in the backyard, taking a walk with your family after dinner, or taking a longer commute home to enjoy the view. It’s often the simple things that can infuse our day with so much more meaning and joy.
28. Practice Gratitude Daily
If you find yourself getting easily stressed, pausing to find gratitude may be the last thing on your mental to-do list. Reduce stress by being thankful for the good in your day. Gratitude can cancel out negative thoughts and worries while helping you relax and savor the good moments in everyday life.
29. Treat Yourself
Treating yourself may feel counterintuitive to a healthy lifestyle; however, rewarding yourself for the good moments and being gentle to yourself during the hard can be a great way to practice self care in your regular routine. Treats don’t have to look like expensive gestures or unhealthy indulgences, and sometimes it’s the small and simple things that can provide the most joy.
Try treating yourself to a healthy smoothie, nourishing meal, or a new book. The best treats are those that will encourage you in a positive way and leave you feeling fresh, satisfied, and nourished, whether mentally or physically.
30. Create a Self-Care Schedule
Self care is the practice of making time for your physical and emotional wellness. If you’re following along with the above list, odds are you’re getting the self-care you need. But for most of us, while we know we should be doing these things, it can be hard to get into a regular routine where all of our needs are being met.
Create a schedule where you make time for self-care. While this may sound the opposite of listening to your body and its needs and then acting to care for it - a schedule is what many of us need to make wellness a practical part of our everyday life. You don’t have to start with everything on this list. Just pick a few to start adding to your schedule and see how taking care of yourself regularly can transform your life!
(1) “Fructose, Insulin Resistance, and Metabolic Dyslipidemia” BMC, 2005, https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-5. Accessed 6 April, 2021.