The new year is well underway and you may have had goals for your health and fitness.
Whether you've already started to get healthy, or looking to get going, it's always helpful to have a bunch of health and fitness goals you can have in your back pocket. I keep a list of health goals in my phone so I can always check in on them, this might help you too.
The secret with any progress is to start slow and develop one habit before moving on to the next. Taking on too much at once will just lead to frustration, burnout and failure. So start small and think about a long-term game.
Here are seven great goals:
1. Drink More Water
You're no doubt aware that you need better hydration but it goes beyond just that. Water is a critical thing involved in countless functions in the body including digestion, absorption, transportation of nutrients, and even cognitive function.
Make it a point to drink half your weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. I take a large bottle and I mark out where I should be down to a certain times of the day to help keep me on track and it's really been helping.
2. Stop Drinking Your Calories
You don't realize what a big help this can be and it's easy to do. When you drink your calories such as soft drinks, juices, specialty coffees, and milk you take in a good chunk of calories with no real effort. They don't need to be broken down, digested, or absorbed and may lead to weight gain. They also spike your blood sugar which can lead to crashes and more cravings.
One of the best things I ever did was swapping out soft drinks for things like water with lemon or some sparkling water if you like carbonated beverages.
3. Stretch More Often
Think of stretching as part of your workout. I hate stretching but don't allow myself to leave until I've gone through some full body stretches. Stretching will help you in the recovery process and will also help with:
Increased range of motion
Better blood flow to muscles
Prevention of back pain
So take five to 10 minutes at the end of your workout or stretch in the mornings.
4. Build More Lean Muscle
Most people have this as a goal but it's one you want to include if you're looking to get healthy and fit this year. Besides just looking good having more lean muscle comes with other benefits such as:
It helps improve your posture
Helps your body carry less body fat
Boosts your metabolism
Strengthens your bones
Protects and improves joint health
Helps performance and athletics
Watch: The new Canadian Food Guide features some significant changes
5. Eat More Greens
You will want dark leafy greens as this is a way to boost your nutrient intake. Anytime you can replace grains with greens this will be a good move as it will provide you with more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients which are vital for improving your overall health. I always struggle getting in greens but I've found that making smoothies with a base of spinach is really helping me get more in each day.
6. Get More Sleep
If you're trying to get healthier and fitter but depriving yourself of sleep, you'll be facing a real uphill battle. When you deprive yourself of sleep, you can create more of a stress hormone release in your body. If this continues over time, you can be looking at some bad issues one of which is it makes it a lot harder to lose weight.
So if you're looking at real health and wellness make it a goal to get a good seven to eight hours of deep restorative sleep each night. Create a wind-down routine, stick with it and start it at the same time each night. Try to cut out blue light from electronics at least an hour before sleep and be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day to get the best sleep possible.
You might have to get drastic like me and cancel Netflix. It's a sacrifice but it makes sure I'm not up until all hours watching crap.
7. Do One Pull Up
If you're looking for a specific fitness goal to work towards, this is it. It may seem simple but getting to the point you can do one unassisted pull-up shows your progression and strength. If you can already do one pull-up look to do multiple ones. If you can't do one yet you know how challenging they can be and it's a great attainable goal you can work towards.