How to form healthy habits

A few simple changes to your everyday habits is all it takes to move towards a healthier and fitter you.
Published 16 September, 2018

Create healthy lifelong habits

Healthy eating and food

1. Drink more water
It's so easy and so beneficial. Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, preferably water. Another benefit of staying well hydrated is that you won't mistake thirst for hunger.

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2. Eat the rainbow every day
Aim for foods of as many different colours as you can to maximise your nutrients. Pin a picture of a rainbow to the fridge to remind you.

3. Be eager for omega
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain function, as well as normal growth and development, so aim for at least one omega-3 food source every day, whether it's oily fish, a handful of walnuts, a spoonful of ground linseed on cereal, or a handful of macadamia nuts.

RELATED: The lowdown on nuts and seeds

4. Try new foods
Eating lots of different foods every day is more likely to lead to better health outcomes,” says Nazha. That’s because you’re reaping the benefits of the various vitamins and minerals from a wide variety of sources. Be adventurous! Choose a new recipe to try each week, explore foreign foods or prepare the foods you love in different ways, like making cauliflower rice, sweet potato toast or courgetti spaghetti.

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5. Grow something from scratch
Make a resolution to grow something from seed. It could be sprouting seeds or herbs if you haven't got a big enough garden for a full-blown veggie patch. It’ll help you get used to thinking more about eating food in its natural state.

Moving more and keeping active

1. Train functionally
Get away from those fixed weight machines and use Swiss balls, free weights, cable machines and your own body weight, instead. Not only will you use more muscles this way, you could end up spending less time in the gym – and realise that you can do some resistance training anywhere, anytime.

RELATED: 6 reasons to start weight training today

2. Stretch more
Most people concentrate on strength or endurance without considering that stretching is also an important part of a well-rounded fitness routine. Stretching may help improve your flexibility, which in turn may improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury. It's a good idea to tack it onto the end of your normal workout when your muscles are warm.

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3. Less can be more
Some people spend a lot more than an hour in the gym or try to cram too much into each session. It's about training smarter, not longer. By incorporating high intensity interval training into your cardio or resistance programme you can knock your workout over in 30 minutes or less, leaving more time for family, friends and other activities.

4. Focus on breathing exercises
Get out of that chair and focus on correct posture and relaxed, diaphragmatic breaths, which will combat aches, pains and also serves as an escape route from a stressful day.

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5. Avoid overtraining
Do too much of the same thing, or work the same body parts, over and over again and you could become overtrained. Instead it's best to change it up regularly by varying your training over the week. And don't forget to alter your routines regularly so your body doesn't get used to doing the same exercises. Vary your training programme with weights and consider how the regular exercise you’re doing is making you feel, not just whether or not it’s changing how you look.

Health and your wellbeing

1. Enjoy your body in movement
Walk briskly, dance or swim. The right time for fun exercise is always now. Exercise gives you a natural high – your day will be easier, you'll enjoy more energy and get a better night’s sleep.

RELATED: How today's workout affects tonight's sleep

2. Choose better health intentionally
Enhance your self-esteem by doing everything in your power to promote your own wellbeing. Honour and nourish your body.

3. Have a dream
Write down everything you want to do, be and have. Or record yourself saying it and listen to it every night just before you go to sleep, seeing and feeling a colourful movie of your vision. Allow your subconscious to manifest it.

RELATED: Create healthy habits with mantra power

4. Connect to your peace
Build rest and ‘me time’ into your schedule. Sit quietly, breathe deeply and take the time to listen to your body.

5. Practise self-love and forgiveness
Love and accept yourself exactly as you are. Love and accept others in the same way. Give up trying to control and learn to accept.

RELATED: Learn to love yourself in 30 days

6. Establish mini-goals
We’re only human. For most of us, it’s daunting to think about losing 20kg or running 10km. So take small steps, first. Whether it’s starting a physical activity routine with a five-minute walk or bringing a homemade lunch to work a couple of days a week, you’re more likely to reach your goal when you break it down into small steps (or mini-goals). And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly those steps add up!