Some aspects of health and fitness cost money, and others do not. With rising costs of seemingly everything these days (from gasoline to groceries) I thought I’d share a few free things that everyone can do to support their health and fitness goals.
Before diving into it, I have a quick favor to ask. As we try to share health & fitness tips through our blog, we are running into some challenges. Social media companies like Instagram and Facebook constantly tweak their algorithms to try and keep you on THEIR platform. What this means is they tend to NOT show you much content that would take you OFF their platform, for example a link that would take you to this blog. That said, the favor I ask is that if you find the content here helpful please share it with a friend (text message, email, etc.) to help spread the word. Thanks in advance.
1) GO FOR WALKS
Walking is good for many things, including helping build a baseline of aerobic fitness (particularly for those new to exercise), burning some calories, getting your joints moving, stress relief, and it can be an opportunity to do something healthy with friends. One of my favorite benefits is that it gets you “off your screen” for a while; even if you choose to pop in your headphones and listen to music or a podcast, at least your eyes will be up looking around and not glued to a screen. For readers who are currently sedentary (or mostly sedentary) going for regular walks also helps you start to build a routine of exercising on a regular basis. I suggest starting with walks that are 20-30 min, and building up from there.
2) GO TO BED EARLIER
Sleep is beneficial for any health & fitness goal: building muscle, losing body fat, feeling more energetic, having more mental sharpness, etc. For most people, with a bit of advanced planning and time management they can usually make it work to go to bed 30-60 min earlier (this may require you watching one fewer Netflix episodes, but I promise you’ll live). While that may seem nominal, experience tells me that it can be a game changer for most people.
3) KEEP YOUR PHONE OUT OF THE BEDROOM
Piggy-backing on sleep, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Due to how “attached” most people are to their smart phone these days, this one tends to be difficult for people. In fact, people who I have mentioned this strategy to often get visibly anxious, and even defensive about their habit of bringing their phone to bed with them. I can personally attest to the improvements in A) how quickly I fall asleep, B) the quality of my sleep as measured with an Oura ring, and C) how rested and recharged I would feel after I swapped my smart phone for a regular alarm clock.
4) MAKE A GROCERY LIST
This is a great example of something that most of us learned as children, yet a lot of adults struggle to do consistently. If you are someone who goes to the store and just “wings it” with your grocery shopping, then you are missing out on one of the easiest ways to improve your health and fitness. We all eat, so we all need to go grocery shopping. I doubt that anybody reading this will be surprised to hear that the quality of your food matters. I also doubt that anyone will be surprised that if you don’t have healthy food readily available, that you’ll probably end up eating “grab and go” style food, which is almost always a less healthy choice. If you want to make healthy meals for yourself then it starts with buying the right ingredients. A little bit of planning in advance will go a long way in helping you eat a more nutritious diet.
5) MEAL PREP
If you are unfamiliar with the term, “meal prepping” means to cook healthy food in bulk so that you have it readily available. Most people who work a Mon-Fri schedule do this on Sunday so that they have healthy lunches and dinners for the week. The more commitments you have in your life the more important this is to do. For example, if you exercise 3+ times per week, you have a career, and you are a parent, then “spare time” is a foreign concept to you. If you do not meal prep for the week, then there is a good chance that many of your meals will come from drive thrus … and I doubt that I have to tell you that drive thru food is not the best choice to support your health and fitness goals.
If you can do these five things on a regular basis then it won’t take more than a couple weeks to start to notice substantial improvements in how you feel. If it sounds like too much to start doing all five at once, then start with grocery shopping and meal prepping. Presumably, shopping and cooking are things you already do anyway, so it is really no extra time or energy commitment. All it will take is a little advanced planning and some Tupperware to have you eating healthier and improving your health and fitness.
Again, if you found this info helpful please do me a favor and share with a friend. Thank you!
– Tony Gracia