Diet and exercise are two of the most important things you can do to keep your body healthy, but they’re also two of the most difficult to follow on a regular basis. People who eat poorly and don’t exercise become overweight, which leads to other health problems that can be debilitating and even life-threatening. To keep yourself in shape, here are five easy steps to get fit today.
1) Start Working Out
No matter how much you hate working out, it’s a must if you want to get fit. Fitness can be as simple as choosing an activity and sticking with it for at least a month—walking, swimming, playing tennis—whatever. Exercise causes our muscles and bones to become stronger in ways that also improve health and mobility. Most people who exercise regularly also sleep better and have fewer cravings, which means eating less food (often without thinking about it). The more active we are, the easier weight loss becomes. And there’s no need for high-intensity workouts; something as easy as walking helps lower blood pressure and contributes positively to our overall health.
2) Eat Healthier
Take a good look at your diet and try eliminating processed foods; not only will you feel better by eating better, but you’ll burn more calories. And remember: If you’re trying to get fit and lose weight, sleeping enough is key—most people require seven or eight hours of sleep per night. It’s also important that your body gets at least two days off from exercise each week. Both of these steps help improve recovery time so you can build lean muscle and burn fat efficiently.
3) Sleep Better
The less you sleep, or worse, if you get too little of it at once, your body stops processing food effectively. This is why people who skimp on sleep tend to gain weight easily and have a hard time losing it. If you’re serious about losing weight and getting fit, aim for seven or eight hours of shut-eye a night—and avoid any screens at least one hour before bedtime. Use your phone as an alarm clock instead of checking e-mail, texting with friends or browsing Instagram.
4) Track Your Progress
But I’m not a numbers person, you may say. If that’s really true, try signing up for a health-tracking app or service. Choose one that works on your phone and help you track your food intake, exercise output and progress. And, if you’re worried about privacy, don’t be: Apple and Google require apps (and third-party websites) with access to sensitive information like location data or contacts to use two-factor authentication. That means they’ll ask for something in addition to your username and password before they give out any data—so all of your information is protected before it gets anywhere near prying eyes.
5) Listen to Your Body
It may seem counterintuitive, but you should pay attention to your body before you start exercising. Everyone is different, so you’ll need a little trial and error to figure out what kind of activity is best for you. If a certain style of exercise makes your body hurt or prevents you from doing it for long, that’s not good. Pay attention and notice if something hurts or feels particularly uncomfortable before going full force with an exercise regimen. There are also lots of online forums where people discuss different kinds of exercise programs; if one seems like it’s going to be too intense for your level, try asking questions on those forums or doing more research into a different program that suits your needs better.