30 Instant Ways To Improve Your Health & Fitness

by tinareale on January 31, 2012

Too often we get caught up in big plans and big ideas with our health and fitness. Which diet to pick? Which workout plan to follow? This worked for so and so. That helped such and such. We may feel the need to figure it all out, before actually taking our first step of action. I know I can plead guilty to that!

Well, how about stopping that. Instead of planning away, DO something to improve your health and fitness. Sure, a magic pill to *poof* turn us all into Olympic athletes or even our doctor’s star patient doesn’t exist. Healthy living takes work. You won’t achieve health with a blink of an eye – but you CAN start improving it…instantly. So do something. Today. Right now.

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1. Fix your posture. It will help your body work more efficiently, keep your muscles properly aligned, relieve aches and pains, and help you look 5 pounds slimmer. Pull those shoulders back and sit/stand up straight!

2. Plan a workout. Scheduling time for your workout will make you much more likely to succeed at actually doing the workout. You may not be able to fit in a workout for another few hours, but at the very least, put that workout on your calendar.

3. Do a plank. A full body exercise that can challenge you anywhere. Well, except for maybe a public bathroom floor. Ick. Regardless, find a clean spot and start planking. What do you know? It can help with that posture, too.

4. Eat some produce. You know fruits and vegetables are good for you. Simply eating a serving (or two or five) will help you feel refreshed and healthier. Fit some into your next meal.

5. Drink some water. Nature’s cleanser. We’re meant to drink it. Often. Just do it.

6. Go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be an hour long session, but simply getting up and moving around regularly throughout your day has been linked to better overall health. Instead of sitting in your desk chair all day, take a few 5-10 minute walking breaks sporadically. Head out around the neighborhood when you get home. Basically, every bit of movement adds up. Move more. Even little bits at a time.

7. Pop a vitamin. While vitamins never take place of a solid, nutritious diet, many of us can all use a little help with a multi-vitamin. They even make them chewable now. Come on! You can take one.

8. Stretch. Regularly stretch out stiff muscles through the day. Take 10 minutes after that planned workout. Similar to posture, stretching will keep your body working optimally…which means, you feeling good.

9. Write down the positives. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Write down as many positives about yourself as you can. A healthy self-image is part of a healthy body.

10. Write down goals. Next up, write down your goals. Write down WHY better health/fitness matters to you. Knowing the why and the goal will drive you to taking action.

11. Visualize. You have the goal, but do you have the image. Picture your success. Picture positive results. It may seem hokey, but it works. And at the very least, it can’t hurt, now can it?

12. Stand instead of sit. Whenever you can, stand up instead of sitting down. It uses more energy. It can help with your posture. It all goes back to little changes adding up over time.

13. Take some deep breaths. Stress is a killer. It can deter your best laid plans. It messes with your hormones. It’s just not cool. Use whatever stress coping technique you have in your arsenal – such as stopping to take some deep breaths and count to ten.

14. Talk with someone who inspires you. Spend some time with someone you admire and that encourages you, even via phone or in an email.

15. List out past successes. MizFit Carla just shared an excellent post about holding onto success in a tangible way. I love this idea. Knowing that we have succeeded at various things in the past helps us believe we can succeed in other ways today.

16. Stop mindless munching. Eat without distraction. Plate up your food. Pop some gum if you can’t stay out of the office candy jar. Be aware.

17. Start a food journal. You don’t have to go off the deep end with meticulously tracking every morsel and gram of carbohydrate, but being aware of the food you choose to eat can go a long way in helping make better choices on a regular basis.

18. Do 20 squats. Quick and effective.

19. Do 10 push-ups. Quick and effective.

20. Don’t give in to a craving. Saying “no” even just once can reaffirm your willpower and that you can  make healthy decisions. You don’t have to say “no” every time, but it does need to become a good habit in general.

21. Wear something flattering. Choose clothing that fits your current body and leaves you feeling good. Stuffing yourself in pants two sizes too small will likely end in discouragement…not motivation.

22. Plan, prep, and pack meals. Have a plan for healthy eating. Do some prep work to make those choices more accessible. When you’re prepared, it’s easier to stick with the changes.

23. Find a healthy alternative. We all have our favorite foods. For the more indulgent ones, research and find a recipe or alternative that  provides more nutrition and can fit in a healthy diet.

24. Find an accountability partner. Search out someone that you can trust to hold you accountable and that wants to help you achieve your goals. There is power in numbers. Use it to your advantage.

25. Watch portion sizes. Natural nut butter is a healthy choice for unsaturated fats…but it’s still 100 calories per tablespoon. Watch those portions. Things add up fast!

26. Repeat a positive mantra. Find a motivational quote and repeat it to yourself when challenges arise in your fitness journey. It may just help you stay on track in that key  moment.

27. Eat regularly. Try to break your meals up in a way that doesn’t leave you super hungry by the point of the next meal. Controlling your blood sugar and energy levels through regular meals and snacks keeps smart eating habits going strong.

28. Go to bed earlier. Sleep impacts so many things – including hunger and stress levels. Make sure you get enough rest.

29. Establish a reward. Knowing that your actions will lead to a reward of some sort can be very motivating. Just make sure you pick a healthy reward, like a massage and not a whole cheesecake to yourself. Deal?

30. Lose the all or nothing mentality. If you had some cookies after lunch, don’t decide to go out to El Burrito Grande for dinner to top things off with a pile of nachos, two margaritas, and 6 tortillas stuffed with cheese. If you don’t have time for a full hour workout, do a short one instead.

It all boils down to making wise decisions as often as possible. They all add up. Make the best of each and every day. That’s it. Cheers to healthy living!

Which of these help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle? Which do you wish to practice more?

{ 66 comments }

1 Khushboo January 31, 2012 at 7:06 am

Number 30 really hit home for me! I used to be the biggest ‘all or nothing’ person, especially with workouts! If I didn’t have an hour to spare, I didn’t the point of working out. Luckily that mindset is long gone–> even 20 minutes is long enough to work up a sweat!

2 JAHANGIR May 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm

TRY AND TRY. YOU WILL BE SUCCESS

3 Katie @ Raisins&Apples January 31, 2012 at 7:07 am

For me, having specific goals with a hopeful completion date has ben HUGE in motivation. So have non-food rewards, like new sports bras and tops for working out!

4 Jordan Lynn (Ciao Cow) January 31, 2012 at 7:09 am

Number 30 for me too! I vehemently struggle with an all or nothing mentality, but I have gotten a lot better. My struggle is particularly with eating. If I eat too much earlier in the day, I’m tempted to just let any notion of being healthy go out the window, but in reality, eating too much or something less healthy doesn’t mean you should throw out any semblance of balance. Great tips though! Thanks for sharing!

5 Cheryl @ eatplayluvblog January 31, 2012 at 7:13 am

Ones I’m working on:

Plan, prep, and pack meals.

Stretch.

Visualize goals. — my hip is gonna get better…the power of positive thinking!

6 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 31, 2012 at 7:15 am

Awesome tips! I’ horrible at the posture thing. I’m always slumping!

7 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 31, 2012 at 7:22 am

so true! I loved this post, doing something little like this can make a big impact :)

8 Mattie @ Comfy and Confident January 31, 2012 at 7:24 am

Great Tips! I really related to a lot of them and I try to incorporate a lot of them into my every day life!
Thanks.

9 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 31, 2012 at 7:36 am

love these tips…all so easy and such good reminders that health doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym and a picture-perfect diet!

10 Sue @ Sue In Training January 31, 2012 at 7:54 am

Those tips are awesome! I love the simple things.
I immediately adjusted my posture when I read #1. I just returned from my almost daily 20 minute lunch break walk, had a big salad for lunch, and now I’m snacking on a banana, sipping on a glass of water.
#28 is something I’ve been struggling with for quite a while. Usually, I get about 5-6 hours of sleep per night, interrupted at least once, and I’m always tired. I probably really should work on my sleeping habits.
I’ll try some of the other tips later when I get home.

11 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life January 31, 2012 at 8:00 am

Great list!! I’m still working on…
28. Go to bed earlier
12. Stand instead of sit
8. Stretch
1. Fix your posture
However, I did kill #3 yesterday with a 120 second plank (**toots her own horn**) ;)

12 tinareale January 31, 2012 at 10:00 am

Toot away! That’s awesome!

13 Stacy @ Stacy Eats January 31, 2012 at 8:06 am

Great tips! You had me sitting up straighter as soon as I read number one. :)

14 Heather (Where's the Beach) January 31, 2012 at 8:29 am

Love this list actually. Definitely agree on the posture and most definitely on finding positives (hence my to-enjoy list)

15 Jess January 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

Excellent advice! I’m personally really tuned into my posture, my core and my (in)flexibility, three areas I’ve been trying to place more focus on. ll three are SO important to overall strength and injury prevention, especially as a runner, but also really important for EVERYONE to be aware of and focused on.

16 Heather @ Run Eat Play January 31, 2012 at 8:46 am

I love this post! Right now I’m actually working on watching my portion sizes and going to bed early. I stay up too late, but after the kids go to bed is the only quiet time I have!

17 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

These are great! Number 11 is a very good one, every time I’m doing a longer run I visualize myself running and finishing the Chicago Marathon!

18 tinareale January 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

Me too! Hehehe. ;)

19 Jess @ BEBT January 31, 2012 at 9:01 am

Number 30 has been a big one for me. Balance is key! Such a great post! :)

20 Paula @ lipstick and lunges January 31, 2012 at 9:04 am

Great tips! I always struggle with drinking enough water and it’s such a basic thing! I hate to admit how many days I get home from work and realize I’ve had 2 cups of coffee and maybe a 1/2 glass of water all day, it’s bad!

21 Haley January 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’ve done well getting healthy and fit, but #22 is one I began yesterday and am going to the store later. I’m using E-Mealz (www.e-mealz.com) to plan 7 meals/week for my family. Dave Ramsey (Financial expert extraordinaire) recommends this point you made and someone else has already done the work for you! It’s a site made by moms for moms, and they give you a grocery list ($60-$80/week) based on your families preferences, #of people in your family, and EVEN based on your preferred grocery store’s sales for the week! They have a new plan for Whole Foods/Natural Foods and that’s the one I’m using. The service costs ~$5-$7/month, but if you refer people, they send you a check for your credit! Can’t beat it!

22 tinareale January 31, 2012 at 10:02 am

I’ve never done e-mealz myself but have heard RAVE reviews about it from quite a few people. Love the whole concept of it and a great tool. :)

23 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile January 31, 2012 at 9:35 am

Such perfect tips. Love them all, so true!!!

24 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List January 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

Pinning this now, Tina!!

25 Glenneth January 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

Love this list. I will admit it – my vitamins are gummies. LOVE them. I have found I really love doing planks. And my workout is on my schedule!

26 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 31, 2012 at 9:52 am

These are such great tips. Recently I’ve decided that any time I’m craving a snack during the work day, I get up, do a quick circuit (pushups, situps, squats, something simple) for about 5 minutes or so to really try to determine if I still want that snack. It helps distinguish between boredom eating and just needing a mental break! Sometimes it does the trick, other times I’m still heading to the kitchen afterwards ;)

27 tinareale January 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

And a great way to sneak in extra fitness!

28 Christy January 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

LOVE this!!!!! Thank you for being, well you!

29 Cat @Breakfast to Bed January 31, 2012 at 10:21 am

I feel like i should have E sit on my back (my 3yo) when I stretch, lol. I am so inflexible!!

30 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt January 31, 2012 at 10:25 am

After reading this I felt a little calmer. I’m going to print this and keep it at my desk. Loved it, thank-you

31 tinareale January 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

And thank you for the support! :)

32 Anna @ On Anna's Plate January 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

I love this post…such a good reminder that, when it comes to health, the little stuff really does add up!

33 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning January 31, 2012 at 10:44 am

I love every single item on this list- it’s hard to choose which ones I value/emulate the most! Hmm… I think that my faves would be: 1, 5, 8 and 15!! Especially 15!!
There’s definitely a few on here that I need to do a better job of putting into practice as well. :)

34 Carol @ Lucky Zucca January 31, 2012 at 10:45 am

Oh my goodness Tina, this is such an amazing post!! Thank you!! I really, really needed this today.

35 Paige @ Running Around Normal January 31, 2012 at 11:06 am

Great list, girl! And thanks for the reminder to go take my vitamins ;)

36 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers January 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

I love all of these and I try to do them all!!

37 Kiah January 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

I definitely like to incorporate posture into my day to day activities–when I walk through a doorway I’ll take a second to hold my arms up in the frame and be conscious of my posture. It helps with confidence, too :-)

38 Corey @ Learning Patience January 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Love all these tips! I always have to watch my posture…. I was needing some motivation today….and this helped a lot! Thanks!

xoxo from Trinidad

39 Amanda @FancyOatmeal January 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm

This is a great list! And they’re easy enough to do; not too intimidating. Thanks!

40 Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves January 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I want to get back to meal prepping! I’ve been throwing together unsatisfying meals and then snacking/over indulging later because I’m unsatisfied.

41 Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife January 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm

These are all great tips! I definitely need to go to bed earlier!

42 Shanna, like Banana January 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Yes yes yes! All so true. If I’m feeling sluggish, I bust out some tricep dips on the coffee table and then do some planks and chug a few glasses of water. It’s an easy way to feel reinvigorated!

43 lindsay January 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

walking has done me wonders, just even to the store, for fresh air. AHh, great tips friend.

44 Shannon ~ My Place In The Race January 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Love this! Thanks for posting :D I definitely have a problem with #30 myself.

45 Maggie January 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Number 30 is huge for me- I used to think if I ate a cookie at lunch, I might as well eat 12 more after dinner because the day was already “ruined.” I also definitely need to work more on my posture, I have frequent upper back and neck pain due to slouching!

46 Lindsay @ FuelMyFamily January 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I don’t have the all or nothing mindset with food but i seem to have it with working out. I need to get out of it. I am doing a day of lifting today during naptime, even if i only get 10 minutes in before the little princess wakes up wanting to eat!

47 Care @HealthierGirl January 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’ve been really trying to concentrate on number 30. I’ve made a lot of progress over the past 6 months or so but I definitely have to remind myself daily that balance is key.

48 Ro @ Eat Live Move January 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

You are so right, balance is key. Also, honoring where you are right at this moment is important. I know I have a tendency to focus on the future instead of appreciating where I am at this current moment.

49 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health January 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Awesome post! Pinned it so I always have these reminders :) . Number 30 was a big one for me to get used to but now that I have it’s great!

50 STUFT Mama January 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm

These are awesome Tina. Working on number 28 and number 30 pretty much changed my life! :) Off to tweet this!

51 jobo January 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm

These are awesome Tina! I am doing a few of these today: pushups and situps in my hotel room (check), wear a flattering outfit (check, check), and another for me – drink a lot of water! it always makes me feel better. Hydration does wonders!

52 Parita @ myinnershakti January 31, 2012 at 7:43 pm

LOVE this! I agree with all 30 items on your list. If I had to pick one to work on (although it’s tough), I would say #22 would be it. If I can just get myself to take 15 minutes at the end of the day and prep for the next day, I would save so much time and eliminate so much stress. Alright, Tina, I’m motivated now – things are going to change!

53 Lee January 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I need to work on a lot of them, but one that stands out is my posture. It’s awful.

54 Ro @ Eat Live Move January 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

My dualistic personality sometimes gets the best of me. So I thank you for the reminder to “lose the all or nothing” mentality. It’s better to focus on what’s going well or what you CAN do versus what you’re not doing.

55 allison January 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm

What a good list!!! When you focus on all the positive little things it makes the tough ones so much easier:):)

56 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection January 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm

LOVE this post, Tina!!

57 Miranda @ Biting Life February 1, 2012 at 12:55 am

Wow – I love this post! How inspiring :) I’m definitely going to keep these mind and try to incorporate those I don’t do often enough into my daily life. Thanks for posting this!

58 Jenna@FoodForLifeNews February 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

I think is probably my favorite and most useful post I’ve read! There are so many little things we can do to help improve our health, and some are so simple that we don’t even think of them! Having them listed out as reminders with be so helpful, and I will be printing this out to use as a check list and inspiration to maintaining a healthy life. Thanks so much!

59 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts February 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Awesome, awesome list!! The posture one is so true. You don’t realize how hunched over you are when you sit at your desk until you actually straighten up and then it’s like “WHOA!” And “shoulders down and back” is something I tell myself several times throughout the day. I have a tendency to scrunch up my shoulders all the time, which is so bad for your neck. Good stuff!! :)

60 Meredith @ DareYouTo February 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

LOVE THIS. A simple list that anyone can look at and do something healthy NOW. Well done!! THanks! Bookmarking for when I need inspiration.

61 Janice- The Fitness Cheerleader April 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Great list! I do a lot of those things already but have a hard time fitting exercise in. Because of that i plan plan plan. Without a plan I’d sit & do nothing.

62 Mahmood November 11, 2012 at 7:25 am

Awesome

63 Naveen42 December 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Amazing tips, i hope it will really help me.:-)

64 Barry Anderson May 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Yes very good sound advice for living right Barry Anderson aka Chef Barry Gourmet & Raw

65 Mutasim Billah May 31, 2013 at 3:36 am

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