Of all the actions you could take to improve your wellbeing, there are five habits that will create disproportionate value in your life.
Fitness professionals know and practice these habits. Now you can reap the benefits too.
Move your body everyday.
Exercise is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth.
Everyone has access to it in some capacity. It could be a simple as a walk or light stretching. Whatever you decide, moving your body everyday will dramatically improve your wellbeing in a variety of ways.
The benefits of daily movement include: increased energy, improved mood, better sleep, and less aches and pains, to name a few.
But life can get busy, so how can you take time for daily movement when your life doesn’t revolve around exercise?
I call it a minimum activity plan. (MAP)
This is the minimum physical activity you need each day to feel your best. If you can do more, great! But when life gets chaotic, just try to reach this minimum.
My minimum is a two-mile run outside.
Chris Liddle, A-Team coach based in Edmonton, CA, says his minimum is completing a few miles on his echo bike at home.
Your minimum might be a gentle walk around the block. In each case, we can feel good at the end of the day knowing we moved our bodies.
You can create your own MAP to reap the benefits of daily movement.
Get an appropriate amount of sleep.
There is a growing body of research to suggest that being chronically sleep deprived is more detrimental to your health than we thought.
In fact, research has shown that being awake for prolonged periods is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit.
Set a sleep schedule for yourself to get a minimum of seven hours each night. Create a night routine to put your phone away, to shut off any screens, and to do something relaxing (like reading) to allow yourself time to wind down from the day.
(And if you can’t get rid of the screens altogether, try a National Geographic documentary. Trust me.)
Even though sleep is super important, occasionally have the sleepless night out with friends.
Strong social ties are becoming more rare because we spend so much time on social media.
The benefit to spending quality time with friends and family can’t be understated. You need these bonds to be happy and improve your wellbeing.
On a trip to Rome, My girlfriend and I coincidentally had friends who were there on their honeymoon. We decided to meet up at a restaurant to have dinner. Dinner turned into multiple bottles of wine, lots of laughs, and staying there until well past two in the morning.
We had to be up early with a busy site-seeing schedule the next day. We opted to lose a little sleep, because how often do you get to hang out with friends in a foreign country?
Be sure to make time for these social events, even if it means occasionally losing some sleep. It’s worth it.
Go out of your way to experience new things.
A lot of people don’t understand the power of experiences to shape their lives.
New experiences—everything from traveling to trying new skills—can make you happier, shift your understanding of the world, and can even keep your brain sharper. Not to mention, experiences can create fond memories and give you some great stories to share later on.
Adam Son, a fitness coach based in Ann Arbor, MI, shares a recent experience hiking in subzero temperatures. He said of his new experience, “I’ve hiked before, but never in the snow or cold and with only footsteps to follow as the path.” Surely a memory he will remember.
New experiences will enrich your life.
Find an activity to help you manage stress.
Chronic stress can deteriorate the body.
It can make it harder to lose weight, and lead to a variety of other physiological problems. (Like digestive problems, for example.)
Every person should identify one or more activities that helps them relieve stress.
For me, its running outdoors. There’s something meditative about it, the rhythmic motion of my body liberates my mind and allows my thoughts to wander.
Chris reaches his meditative state by playing the drums.
Adam via fantasy novels, spending time getting lost in the vast universes within them.
Some might opt to build puzzles, while others turn to knitting. Whatever you choose, be sure to do it frequently to help manage stress levels.
Movement, sleep, friends, experiences, and stress relief. Prioritize these five habits to disproportionately improve your life.