Top 10 health and fitness tips

2021 has been a very hard time for us, 2022 will not. Let us fight this phase with health and fitness. Staying healthy can not only increase your immunity, it can also bring out that beautiful smile of yours. It is often hard to keep track of what we have to do every day to follow a healthy and fit lifestyle. This article will give you the top 10 health and fitness tips to follow in 2022, as well as a checklist in the end. 

As always, if you find this article to be useful, feel free to share, like, and comment down below. 

1.Correct Your Posture

correct posture diagram

One of the biggest mistakes that most of my clients in my Zumba class make in the beginning, is not maintaining a correct posture. This in turn gives lesser results and more injuries, thereby slowly deteriorating our willingness to workout everyday. 

What Is Good Posture ?

Good posture refers to maintaining the position of your spine in its natural curves. The spine has three natural curves at your neck, mid back, and low back.

Why Is Good Posture Important ?

A good posture can help keep your nerves and blood vessels healthy. It also helps support your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Our body muscles are naturally designed to endure any sort of movement or physical activity with the help of the supporting muscles that are planned to be targeted when doing something. If we don’t follow a good posture, the muscles targeted would differ and thereby cause a miscalculation in the effort endurance. As you might have guessed, this causes the wrong muscles to get strained and hence causes aches, pain, fatigue and other physical issues. 

How to Keep Good Posture When Sitting ?

To practise a good posture while sitting, Keep your feet rested on the floor whilst evenly distributing your weight on both hips. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed while keeping your ears lined up over your collarbones. 

How to Keep Good Posture When Standing ?

To practise a good posture while standing, repeat the same procedure as for sitting, while keeping your knees straight. Note that your legs should have a slight knee bend so you’re not hyperextending or locking your knee joints. 

back posture correction when sitting and standing

How to Correct Your Posture ?

To correct your posture, all you need to do is practice the above mentioned steps while sitting and standing. Apart from this, the most effective way is to add 5 simple exercises everyday to your workout routine, namely pushups, squats, birddogs, bridges and planks. 

2.Daily Cardio

man and woman running on a treadmill

Cardio is simply any type of exercise or movement that can increase your heart rate and breathing rate, thereby strengthening those muscles and the blood vessels associated with it. There are different forms of cardio training, one of the most widely known is Zumba Fitness. As a licensed instructor, I provide Zumba classes online, feel free to check it out.  

Can We Do Cardio Daily ?

Yes, we can do cardio daily. Cardio is a really good form of calorie burn, and daily cardio is definitely recommended. Try to add a 30min cardio daily, with an exercise of your choice. Try lifting weights, as weight lifting can release growth hormones which will burn more fat. 

Why Is Daily Cardio Important?

As mentioned before, daily cardio strengthens your heart and blood vessels. This is because cardio exercise makes your heart rate accelerate and properly pump blood.The main health benefits of daily cardio are 

  • Great for weight loss
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Reduces the risk of several diseases
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Naturally boosts energy
  • Great for mental health
  • Better sleep
  • Helps the immune system

Over Doing Cardio

As amazing as it is, too much of anything is always bad for us. Cardio helps in fat loss, but beyond a limit it starts burning muscle as well. The main problem with muscle burn or muscle loss is that we end up being very tired, thin and unhealthy. This is one of the reasons why only 30 mins of daily cardio is recommended. It is also the reason why my Zumba classes are once every two days and not everyday. 

3.Healthy Eating Habits

fitness and nutrition

It is important to consider what goes inside our body similar to how we train the outside of our body. For ease, consider workouts to be the door and nutrition to be the key to fitness. You can’t really open the door without the right key. 

CLICK HERE to see the top 10 healthy eating tips you should follow in 2022. 

Why Should We Eat Healthy Food ?

Eating healthy is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The top 10 benefits of healthy eating are

  • Improves heart health
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Improves mood
  • Improves gut health
  • Improves memory
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Manages diabetes
  • Strengthens teeth and bones
  • Gives you a good night’s sleep 
  • Improves memory and brain health

4.Stress Control

Stress is the prime factor that holds every aspect in fitness together. As you would know, if you are stressed, you wont feel like working out, you might tend to eat more food and sugar, you will overthink and break your sleep, the list just goes on. Stress is controlled by the Cortisol hormone in our body and is seen more in women. Scientifically speaking, the increase in the Cortisol hormone (STRESS) can induce an increment in the Ghrelin hormone (HUNGER). As we learned in the previous section, unhealthy eating will disrupt our fitness achievements. Hence it is very important to be able to control stress. 

I have written a more elaborate article on Cortisol and how it affects women for a women’s health care and wellness app, Elara Care

CLICK HERE if you would like to learn more about it. 

How to Control Stress ?

There are many practices that can help you with controlling stress, I personally recommend following a few steps as shown below 

  • Practise meditation and deep breathing
  • Take a time out every once in a while for self love and self care
  • Keep a strong sleeping schedule of at least 7hours a day. 
  • Keep away from friends and family that pull you down 
  • Try to keep a positive attitude towards any issue that you face
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking 

What foods are good for stress?

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • yogurt

Stress Control Exercise

Any exercise that can help you ease your mind will help you with stress control. If you don’t have a set of exercises in mind, CLICK HERE to see 5 simple exercises that you can try at home everyday which can in turn help you in controlling stress. 

5.Drinking Water

a young woman enjoying a bottle of water while out for a run

Why Is Water Important For Fitness?

Water is your body’s everyday fuel. Staying hydrated can help you with your performance, strength and power during any and every exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints.If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.

Can You Lose Belly Fat by Drinking Water?

Yes, water has many qualities that make it part of the calorie burning family. Studies show that drinking adequate water can help burn 2-3% more fat and also helps in suppressing appetite. Water also helps in metabolizing or digesting stored fat also known as lipolysis. In other words, drinking water is essential for burning off fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat.

How Much Water to Drink a Day

basic formula to calculate the amount of water to be consumed each day with respect to the persons body weight

There is a simple calculation to how much water you should drink a day. 

Water (in liters) to drink a day = Your Weight (in Kg) multiplied by 0.033.

6.Don’T Skip Breakfast

Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. There are many reasons why it is so. 

The name itself signifies, breakfast is a form of breaking the overnight fast and thereby starting a new cycle in our digestive system. It also supplies the required energy, glucose and other nutrients that our body needs. Hence it is always good to have a heavy and healthy breakfast. 

The simple science behind food is, Morning breakfast gives us energy till evening, afternoon meal gives us energy till night and dinner gives us energy till next day afternoon. Read it again to understand it better. This is the reason why most people don’t feel too hungry in the morning (because their dinner was heavy and it is still fueling them) and skip breakfast. This is also the reason why there are some strict diets and nutrition plans that suggest to only have food twice a day. If you have an active lifestyle, then you should definitely stick to the 3 meal plan.      

What Happens if We Skip Breakfast

Skipping the morning meal can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low. Breakfast helps replenish it.

Skipping Breakfast Disadvantages

  • Weight gain 
  • heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • irritability or mood swings
  • menstrual irregularity
  • low energy levels
  • low memory and hormonal stress

7.Get Enough Sleep

A pug puppy cuddled in a blanket and sleep deprived

One of the easiest and yet most neglected parts of our life is sleep. Sleep is also considered as one of the four pillars of fitness. For an adult, 7 hours of sleep is the recommended time.

To know more about the importance of sleep CLICK HERE  

8.Avoid Alcohol

Saying no to a friend offering alcohol

Alcohol consumption is injurious to our health. A very widely known fact. But what is the main reason why alcohol is bad for us in terms of fitness? Alcohol affects the body physically and psychologically. It induces tiredness in our muscles thereby making us more sluggish and attracting obesity. It also affects our brain cells and functions, giving memory loss and a sense of craving more. 

One of the main reasons is that alcohol has sugar in it, and often people mix it with soda or such sugary drinks. As a whole, it becomes liquid sugar which confuses the brain for digestion. Therefore it sediments as stored fat and makes us obese. 

CLICK HERE if you would like to see the Top 10 healthy eating tips for 2021

9.Avoid Bright Lights Before Sleep

A man using his phone with bright lights on bed, before sleep

As I mentioned before and in my article about sleep, Sleeplessness can cause a major complication in our fitness journey. Our body has an internal clock that triggers our body parts to stay alert when needed and rest when required. Lights play a significant part in this. As long as our eyes are exposed to bright lights, our body feels as if its still the day and so it keeps signalling our body to stay alert. This trigger will stay triggered until our body feels like relaxing, even if the light is switched off after some time. Therefore it is also better to slowly hint our body that the day is coming to an end. As the evening approaches, turn to red lights and dim lights so that our body goes down in a steady pattern and hence we get a sound sleep. 

10.Daily Walk

two women going out for their morning daily walk

Walking daily is one of the best routines you should consider doing. Just 30 mins of walking everyday can make a huge difference. A very important point to remember is ; If you walk for 10 mins and if you do weight lifting for 10 mins, you will definitely burn more during the weight training. But that burn would be to both your fat and muscle (note that this does not mean weight training is bad). While walking, the only thing you burn will be your fat. As the saying goes, Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Benefits of Walking Daily

Daily walk can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.

How Many Steps Should I Walk Daily

A study in 2011 found that a healthy adult can take approx. 4000 to 12000 steps daily. I personally suggest making a 10,000 step daily target (use a fitness tracker if necessary). Walking 10k steps can burn from 300-400 calories. 

Quick and Fit Recap

A mum and her daughter fit and happy looking at each other

Fitness is a slow and long process as I always say to all my clients and friends. But when achieved, it is all that we have ever wished for. So it is important that we make sure our building blocks are perfect. If you have already been following these steps, then you are already in good hands. If you are still not feeling healthy after following these tips, then maybe you should focus on fixing your stress, sleep, workout or nutrition.

Take a screenshot of this checklist so that you can make sure you do it everyday 

  1. Correct your posture
  2. Daily cardio 
  3. Healthy eating habits 
  4. Stress control 
  5. Drinking water 
  6. Don’t skip breakfast 
  7. Get enough sleep 
  8. Avoid alcohol 
  9. Avoid bright lights before sleep
  10. Daily walk  

Resources

Diane Rellinger (2016) – Regular breathing and proper posture when exercising is important – https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/regular_breathing_and_proper_posture_when_exercising_is_important 

Top fitness – THE MAIN HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARDIO EXERCISE – https://www.topfitness.com/blogs/blog/the-main-health-benefits-of-cardio-exercise 

Shift workspaces (2019) – 5 Benefits of Eating Healthy – https://shiftworkspaces.com/5-benefits-eating-healthy/ 

Cathleen Crichton-Stuart (2018) – What are some foods to ease your anxiety? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652#nine-foods-to-eat-to-help-reduce-anxiety  

Elara care (2021) – How Cortisol Affects Women’s Health and the Menstrual Cycle – https://elara.care/cycle-hormones/how-cortisol-affects-womens-health-and-the-menstrual-cycle/ 

Jennifer Huizen (2018) – Can water help you lose weight? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322296 

Times of India (2014) –  Never skip your breakfast – https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/Never-skip-your-breakfast/articleshow/11566363.cms#:~:text=Disadvantages%20of%20skipping%20breakfast%20Experts,low%20memory%20and%20hormonal%20stress