A series of intensive gym visits or a summer fitness program can have great short-term effects for your health and well-being, but to make meaningful long-term improvements you may be better off integrating small changes to your daily routine. Adjusting the way you eat, work and rest — rather than concentrating on a fad diet or short-lived burst of workouts — can be the best way to sustain your new healthy outlook, so staying fit becomes a matter of fine-tuning your lifestyle, from breakfast until bedtime.
In fact, even before you prepare that healthy morning meal (ideally one quarter protein, one quarter carbs and the rest fruit or veg) you can set the tone for the day by getting up early to meditate or exercise. It has been shown that early-risers are more pro-active in general — although whether they get up because they’re pro-active, or are pro-active because they’re early-risers, is still in question.
If you have one of those jobs that puts you behind a desk for the best hours of the day, it’s time to fight back: our bodies weren’t designed to sit staring at a computer screen for eight hours in a row, so mix things up by taking an hourly stroll around the office (boss permitting), taking an ‘active’ lunch break and stretch those muscles while you’re working.
Your resolve can waver late in the day, which is another reason why it’s good to set a few new disciplines in stone. You don’t have to jog all the way home, but consider making a habit of getting off the bus one stop early and enjoying the evening air as you walk the rest of the way. Don’t dine less than three hours before bedtime. If this habit leaves you hungry, you can snack on complex carbs such as popcorn or fruit. Snacking like this can even prevent your body storing fat and aid muscle repair (remember that desk workout?).
To set out on this healthy and sustainable new regime, you might want to bookmark this excellent new infographic, which explores all of these areas of improvement and more. Fitness is a matter of lifestyle and not of shoehorning in a well-meaning but short-lived get-fit-quick program.
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