Looking at habits can be a gentle, more sustainable approach compared to extreme diets, detoxes and concoctions that will start to surface in the coming weeks. So we hope you enjoy the twist. Here’s the 12 healthy habits countdown…

12 Healthy Habits

1 hour movement/exercise session

Aim for one hour of exercise and/or movement per day. Don’t worry about what you’re doing, the main thing is you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, there’s a much better chance you’ll keep doing it which is the big trick to success long term. The secret? It’s the consistency that brings results. This time of year is also the perfect opportunity to try lots of new things; Zumba, spinning, pump, running, horse riding, CrossFit, pilates, yoga.

2 hours no phone/technology

We live in an age of constant connection. While it’s given us an incredible opportunity, there also comes a point when you ask is the technology in your life working with you or against you? Just one article in Time magazine showed that nearly 85% of adults couldn’t go for a day without access to our phones. While experts agree that technology addiction is clearly a growing problem, hard statistics are still a work in progress. But there’s no doubt we could do better ongoing ‘without’.

2019 should be a year to focus on disconnect.

3 meals per day

Long-term results come from consistency. Start by taking the focus away from what you’re eating. Look instead to how. And that starts with making time to eat three consistent meals per day. If you can add some focus around those meals, even better. This means sitting down, chewing slowly and focusing on the food on your plate.

4 Mobility Moves Daily

Taking care of your body spans further than just exercise. Your joints and movement patterns need attention and that means giving mobility time. How often do you stretch before or after training? How often do you practice mobility to improve your squat for example? They’re different areas but both need some room in your day from time to time. You can focus on different parts of the body but let’s start with the hips. Try these four moves when you wake up or just before bed.

  • Squat hold – hold the bottom position of a squat (as low as you can) for 30 seconds. Work up to a minute if you can
  • Pigeon Stretch Hold 30 seconds each side building up to 60
  • Couch stretch  Hold 30 seconds each side building up to 6
  • Jefferson Curl Start with 3 sets of 10 with no weight. Hold a broom or bottle of water if you like.

5 servings of vegetables

The simple fact is we don’t eat enough vegetables. Think of one serving as a cup portion. Add as much colour to your plate as possible.

6 Glasses of water

You know this one already. It’s simple but not easy. Aim for just 7 glasses and you’ll be on a good path to hitting your 2 litres.

7 Swans are swimming

This is a great time of year to do some swimming. There are multiple benefits of cold water immersion including increased fat burning, blood sugar balancing, enhanced immunity and much more. This is just one article talking about the benefits of cold exposure with a list of studies listed at the end.

8 hours of sleep

Without sleep, we would die. Sleep is when your body has the opportunity to recharge. Here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.

9 Ladies dancing

Give yourself a break and let your hair down. Use some time over the holidays and in January to enjoy fun activities with the family. Get outside, let your hair down and laugh. It’s not all about food.

10 thousand steps

Most of us zone in on ‘the gym’ for our daily activity when in actual fact this forms a tiny portion of our day. Taking out 8 hours of sleep, you have 15-16 hours a day to capitalize on movement. This also adds to your caloric expenditure, the health of your joints, your mental health and much more. This is where an activity tracker can come in handy. For some people, this number will be easy and for others incredibly hard. Experts say that while 10,000 steps a day is a good number to reach, any amount of activity beyond what you’re currently doing will likely benefit your health (source).

11 Minutes of meditation

Switching off from technology is a great start but why not take it a step further and be selfish. Seriously, how often do you take time to truly think about yourself in the present moment? We won’t repeat ourselves. This article lists some of the many benefits of mindfulness and some tips to get started.

12 Drummers Drumming

Most of us will engage in social activities this festive season. If you wake up after your office Christmas party with the sound of 12 drummers drumming in your head, take steps to get back to routine pronto. You can’t change the night before but you can change what happens next. Start with water but feel free add some electrolytes (a pinch of salt and honey would do the trick as well as store bought) to go an extra step. Next, make sure you get extra sleep the following evening. While the alcohol adds a few setbacks, the biggest trap is, of course, the food you eat the next day(s) combined with lack of sleep. Avoid ordering in and try to cook the meals yourself. Make a point to prep some things the day before and keep it simple by leveraging the oven/slow cooker.

As always, these tips are designed to be a bit of fun. Everyone is different so please consult your doctor if you’re not sure about any of the above.