Approximately one in four Americans visited a gym, exercise club, or fitness studio in 2019, according to the IHRSA.
There are always new fitness fads and trends, but it can be difficult to understand which of them actually work. In truth, some of them do more harm than good.
You’re better off sticking to scientifically proven fitness advice. If you’re looking to get in shape, read on for some unmissable health and fitness tips that will put you on the path to success.
1. Make Time to Move Your Body
Where else to begin but exercise? It’s a crucial ingredient in any healthy lifestyle. And there’s strong scientific evidence that regular physical activity offers a wide range of valuable benefits.
One Italian study of nearly 3100 men and women aged 65 and older highlighted the importance of daily physical activity. They were initially assessed in 1995–1997, and follow-ups were conducted 4 and 7 years later. In 2018, researchers studied the participants’ medical records.
Their findings showed that those who exercised regularly had significantly lower rates of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. As well as improving heart health, exercise can help people stave off other long-term conditions such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
Physical activity is the best way to prevent weight gain, and it will also improve your energy levels and blood circulation. It improves memory, helps you sleep better, and can reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Joining a gym is an excellent option if you want to avoid various health issues, but there are many other ways to move your body. Running, jogging, walking, or cycling outside are all great ways to get your daily dose of exercise.
2. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Don’t disregard your mind when considering any health and fitness goals.
Mental health problems significantly increase your risk of suffering from physical health problems, and vice versa. There’s overwhelming scientific evidence that being in a good mental state can help you maintain good health.
That’s why it’s essential to develop good mental practices, such as meditation or consciously choosing to focus on the positives in your life rather than the negatives. Seeking help from loved ones, or therapy can also be very beneficial in this regard.
There are physical activities, such as tai chi and pilates, that support your mental well-being.
Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical and mental benefits, helping practitioners feel a strong sense of well-being. Join a yoga class with a qualified teacher who can guide you through postures and deep breathing for positive effects on the body and mind.
3. Get Together
Regarding exercise classes, working out in a group setting has been shown to boost motivation and make exercise more fun by increasing your endorphin output.
It’s easy to lose your way if you’re exercising alone each day, but getting together with other people on a fitness journey means you can hold each other accountable. In one 2017 study, researchers found working out in a group brought about significant improvements in all three quality of life measures: mental (12.6%), physical (24.8%), and emotional (26%).
Exercising in a group setting is also an excellent way to make new friends and meet like-minded people. It’s more enjoyable, and you’re more likely to push yourself that little bit extra with supportive people around you.
Whether it’s functional strength training or a walk in the park, lots of people have a workout buddy. Possibly thanks to a healthy sense of competition, sessions become much easier when you’re in another’s company. On top of that, a plethora of scientific evidence suggests strong social relationships lead to a happier and healthier life.
4. Pay Attention to What You Eat
You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘you are what you eat.’ Don’t be a doughnut!
You don’t need to go on the latest trendy diet to be fit and healthy, but you must be aware that your food choices have a major impact on your health and well-being.
You’ll never reach your fitness goals if your eating habits revolve around junk food. Be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Stock your kitchen with whole foods like fruit and vegetables, because snacking on a nutritious banana is much better than picking up junk that’s high in fat, salt, and sugar.
Nuts and seeds help regulate body weight and are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
To avoid weight gain, eat smaller portions instead of overeating. You should also try to avoid consuming processed foods and excessive amounts of sugar, because science shows they have a negative impact on your physical health.
Stay away from fizzy drinks, but remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day because you can’t burn fat and calories without adequate fluid. On that note of H20, let’s see how a whole body of water can benefit your health.
5. Go Swimming
Swimming is lower impact than other forms of cardio, but it’s a fantastic full-body workout. It’s great for your cardiovascular system, and can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. In a study of over 80,000 people, swimmers had a 41% lower risk of death from cardiovascular problems and stroke.
The beautiful art of swimming can also reduce stress and lower blood pressure. It’s an excellent way to burn calories, and getting into the pool can tone muscles while building strength and endurance.
It’s especially helpful for people with arthritis, a disability, or a variety of injuries that make land exercises too painful. Swimming is a safe option, and it provides similar benefits.
Our saltwater indoor heated pool is open year-round and is perfect for feeling weightless in a range of aquatics classes. Swimming has also been shown to boost energy levels and improve sleep, so give those goggles a wipe and dive in.
6. Don’t Neglect Relaxation
Stress is awful for your physical and mental health and can contribute to fatigue. Take a little time each day to relax your body and mind. This can be done through deep breathing techniques or relaxing stretches.
If you are able to, treat yourself to a massage and its many health benefits. It reduces pain and muscle soreness, improves circulation and energy levels, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. And, most importantly, it feels great.
Relaxing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. Your digestion suffers under stress, but relaxation reverses that process and reduces inflammation.
Experts suggest ending the day with relaxation, which can be done by meditating or reading before bed. Relaxing and calming the mind are key to a good night’s sleep.
7. Create a Habit
If your schedule allows it, exercise at the same time each day to create a habit. Exercising has undeniable immediate benefits, but long-term engagement has been shown to provide longer-lasting benefits.
You may have to make an extra effort at the beginning, but making exercise a habit is a crucial way to stay fit. Once it’s a habit, you’ll no longer have to convince yourself to put on those workout pants. Research suggests that morning workouts lead to faster habit formation compared with evening exercise.
Positive habits can replace negative ones. And regular exercise and healthy food choices will probably replace old habits concerning poor sleep and diet. One new healthy habit can transform your whole life.
If you want to make the habit stick around, it’s important that you enjoy whatever exercise you’re doing. If running on a treadmill isn’t fun for you, this habit is unlikely to last more than a few days. Try alternative methods of exercise, such as kickboxing or Zumba.
While you want to create a positive health and fitness routine, don’t be rigid or afraid to make adjustments as needed. Maybe the 05:30 alarm is something you dread, or perhaps you’re feeling shoulder pain. Adjust your exercise habit because it needs to work for you.
8. Write Down Your Goals
It’s proven that smart fitness goals are beneficial for various reasons. A fascinating 2015 study showed that people who wrote down and assessed their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who only formulated goals in their heads.
Setting objectives allows you to hold yourself accountable, gives you a clear direction, and boosts motivation. By making small and attainable goals, you won’t be intimidated, and you’ll look back and see that you’ve climbed a mountain one step at a time.
You can also give yourself conditional rewards for achieving your goals. Tracking your progress and remaining aware of your measurable objectives will give you extra strength to keep going in the right direction.
There will probably be times when you fail to achieve your goals, and it’s important to be gentle with yourself here. Otherwise, your whole fitness journey could implode. And when you meet your goals along the way, reward yourself. There’s no downside.
9. The Great Outdoors Are Great for Your Health
Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and sunshine. Even if the sun isn’t shining, outdoor physical activity is a surefire way to boost your health and happiness. A review of five studies found a consistent positive relationship between being outdoors and subjective vitality.
Exercising outside is a great alternative for those who don’t want to sign up for a gym, and the terrain will also challenge your body more than a flat indoor surface. As your parents may once have told you, the fresh air will do you good. And sunshine is the best source of vitamin D.
It’s understood that simply spending time outdoors is good for your health. Leaving the comfort of your home for the great outdoors has been shown to reducestress while lowering blood pressure and heart rate. It’s also prescribed by health professionals for boosting energy levels, mood, and mental health.
Nature is healing and forever will be. Public health experts in Japan advise their citizens to spend time walking outdoors, a practice known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
10. Sleep Well
Bad sleep can quickly take its toll on your physical health. And many experts suggest sleep is just as important as diet and exercise for maintaining optimal health.
According to the research, sleep is a massive individual risk factor for future weight gain and obesity. One alarming study found that poor sleep was linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
Sleep is a crucial function that recharges the body and mind, leaving you refreshed and alert upon waking. It’s recommended to get around 8 hours each night.
Failing to get enough sleep can affect our physical and mental functions the following day. It can also have a negative impact on our ability to fight disease and develop immunity, as well as our metabolism and chronic disease risk.
11. Be Kind to Yourself
Self-compassion is a vital foundation for any fitness journey to bring you joy. A kind and loving attitude towards yourself will result in a healthier and happier disposition.
Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others and don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall short of your goals. There’s no shame in taking a couple of days off or having a cheat meal. Be patient with yourself, respect your progress, and remember to have fun.
You’ll feel and look healthier with positivity flowing through your veins, and you’ll be able to appreciate each step along the way.
The Science Behind Health and Fitness is Simple
Follow these 11 tips supported by science, and you’ll soon be leading a happier and healthier life. It’s not rocket science. Eat well, exercise, and practice self-care because your outer appearance will always reflect the inner.
Did you find these health and fitness tips helpful? Contact us if you want support on your fitness journey and take advantage of a free pass to our gym.