If you are one of the millions of people who hate to exercise, it’s good to know that there are ways to get healthier without exercising. In fact, life itself offers plenty of opportunities to incorporate simple methods for ramping up general health without having to hit the gym, follow a strict diet or count every calorie.
Here are 14 of the easiest ways to get healthier without exercising:
1. Stay Hydrated
There has been lots of research showing that maintaining the proper hydration level can helps eliminate hunger pangs, promote mental alertness, remove toxins from the blood, improve the overall look of the skin, banish constipation and even contribute to deeper, more rejuvenating sleep.
You don’t need to drink special types of water, either. Simple tap water is fine, or just drink whatever your usual water preference is, including spring, distilled, water-rich foods whatever. Most authoritative sources on the topic also note that anywhere between 50 and 80 ounces per day is enough for complete hydration. A common rule-of-thumb is to consume, per day, the number of ounces equal to half your body weight in pounds. If you weigh 160 pounds, then 80 ounces of water daily is a good benchmark for proper hydration.
2. Eat Half Your Portions
This suggestion is subjective but gets the job done for most people. Whatever your usual portion size is, try cutting it in half and just eating that much for a meal. Follow this guideline for all your main course food items, being sure to store the remaining portions in the frig. Part of the system involves waiting for about 30 minutes after eating that “half-portion meal.” If you still feel hungry, then it’s okay to eat another quarter portion from the stored items.
Most people who choose this method notice that after a few days they rarely need anything else after the first round. Why? The answer lies in typical Western eating habits. We tend to consumer much more food than our bodies need. By eating less and then waiting a half-hour, our bodies learn to get by on reasonable amounts of food.
3. Try Meatless Mondays
Cutting out meat one day per week is an easy way to explore other, more healthful food choices. Experiment with lighter fare or just make Monday’s dinner a simple pasta salad. Your body won’t rebel too much by doing a single meal substitution, so this is an easy way to earn a few health points with minimal effort.
4. Enjoy Smoothies
This is probably the only item on the list that might require you to purchase something. But a blender is a very helpful kitchen appliance that will serve you for many years, so don’t worry about the small expense. Anyway, you’ll need a decent blender to make smoothies.
The health magic of smoothies is this: you can add super healthy things like spinach, quinoa, chia seeds and your favorite fruits to tasty drinks. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of smoothie recipe books and websites that focus on healthy recipes. Try a few and you’ll notice that replacing a few breakfast meals or lunches each week will go a long way toward promoting better health.
5. Keep a Food Journal
Many people swear by this tip not only for promoting general health but for dropping a few extra pounds. And the best part is that zero exercise is involved. But keep in mind that keeping a food journal takes a bit more discipline than most people expect.
Here’s how to do it right: Use your phone or a standard pen-and-paper journal to write down every single thing you eat and drink every day for one week. No cheating. No omitting “little things” or seemingly tiny snack items. The goal is to log everything you consume. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, as you review your entries after one week, how you slowly, subtly begin to alter your food and drink choices.
Most people are shocked to see all the junk food they eat, the sugary sodas, compulsive snacks and other unnecessary consumption. The effectiveness of this technique brings to mind an ancient Buddhist saying,
To see is to change.
6. Meal Plan For The Week Ahead
Make a complete meal plan, totaling 21 meals, for the upcoming week. Even if you do cheat, your compulsive intake will be much less if you have a written plan to look at as you begin each day.
7. Walk Everywhere
Okay, walking is, technically speaking, exercise. In any case, we all have to go about our daily lives, so why not incorporate walking as often as possible. There’s no need to drive to a post office that’s only two blocks away, nor is it necessary to drive to a nearby mall or grocery story to pick up an item or two. Walk, and find better health with every step. Use a monitoring walk app or watch like Fitbit to keep track of your steps.
8. Do Your Daily/Weekly Chores
Try to do some physical household chores each day, even if the tasks are only a few minutes each. Clean the bathroom floor, carry the garbage to the dumpster, or wash the windows. It helps to make a weekly list and add some physical work for each day’s regimen.
9. Use a Break-Reminder App
Talk about simple! You can download a break-reminder app like Stand Up! and use it every day to jog your memory. The app will tell you to take a stretch break, walk break, or do some physical chores. Whatever helps to get you moving and using your body is usually a good thing.
10. Store Unhealthy Foods Out of Sight
For people who want to lose weight, this is a simple, yet highly effective method for starting out on the right foot. Put all that “bad stuff” far away from plain view. As an added boost to good health, put fruit and healthy snacks out where you can see them. Studies have shown that people who hide away the unhealthy snacks tend to eat less junk food.
11. Ride a City Bike
Why not use one of the many city bikes that seem to be everywhere these days? Instead of driving to the nearby gym, opt to ride a bike or walk. City bikes are ideal ways to log some health-boosting miles on your legs instead of driving, burning gasoline and adding to traffic jams.
12. Use The Bathroom On a Different Floor
Workplace techniques for ramping up your general health quotient are numerous. One of the oldest techniques in this category is to use a restroom on a floor other than where your office space is. Preferably, aim for a restroom that is one, two or three floors below or above your floor. If you’re a five-day-per-week, nine-to-five worker, this simple technique will help your heart, lungs and muscle tone.
Two other closely-related office-based methods for getting healthier are parking in the farthest-away space and walking to co-workers’ offices for talks instead of using the phone. Potentially, you can add several miles of walking to your weekly work routine, which means you’ll be doing a lot for your longevity and physical well-being. There aren’t many other ways to get paid while getting in shape, but this is one of them!
13. Carry Your Groceries To The Car
As that corny old song lyric goes, “It’s the little things…” When it comes to finding ways to get healthier without exercising, this is one of the very little things that actually can make a difference. Of course, it doesn’t apply to those times when you have nine bags of heavy groceries.
But on those quick stops when you go into the market to “pick up a few things,” forgo the big cart and opt for a basket. That’s part one of this technique. Carrying a basket while you shop forces you to notice each item and helps prevent impulse buying. Bonus: You might save a few dollars by employing this technique.
The main part of the effort is to carry the bags to your car after paying for them. Some experts call this kind of approach “free exercise” because you’re actually building it into your routine. Pro tip: Park your car in the farthest spot from the store entrance and you’ll double the power of this clever way to boost your health.
14. Maintain Good Posture
Keeping proper posture engages multiple muscle groups. We actually get a mini-workout just by standing and sitting up straight for several minutes at a time. There’s no need to get compulsive with this technique. Instead, start out small by aiming to maintain perfect posture while walking, sitting and standing for about 10 minutes at a time, four times per day. Slowly work up to ten times per day and you’ll likely notice that your musculature is firmer all around, particularly in the mid-section.
The reason good posture contributes to overall health is that it engages our body’s core muscles in the back, front abdomen and sides. This is a two-for-the-price-of-one technique: you’ll gain core strength and look better at the same time.
Which of these habits are you currently doing or would love to try? Share your thoughts by commenting below!