18 Healthy Habits To Start Today
We all have behavioural habits — actions we take every day. Whether it’s brushing your teeth, having your morning coffee or what time you go to bed, your daily actions - big and small - can contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.
According to research, habits are the automated responses we have that are cued by aspects of the context or environment. Behaviours become habits through repetition, where links become embedded in our memories between certain environmental cues or events and an action or response.
Cues can be as simple as your alarm clock ringing to prompt you to have a shower, or having a snack as soon as you get home from work. Habits are also motivated by a reward, like the pleasure of catching up on your favourite TV show after dinner or the feel-good endorphin rush from a workout.
Many of your daily actions happen without much conscious thought because they have become habitual, but it’s important to remember there are always different choices available to you if you want to see a positive change in your life.
If all of your habits add up to create your lifestyle, it’s worth focusing on establishing healthy habits to help you feel your best!
What are healthy habits?
These are the actions you take every day, whether consciously or unconsciously, that improve your health and wellbeing.
You may have some healthy habits you don’t think twice about because they are so ingrained in your routine, such as having a smoothie for breakfast every day, while other habits might still feel like an active work in progress, like making an effort to exercise each day or drink enough water.
While creating new habits (or breaking old ones) isn’t always easy, the power is in your hands to prioritise the habits that will make you feel your best and begin to behave in new ways. You’ve got this!
Try these habits to improve your health
If you haven’t been feeling like the best version of yourself or want to make a positive change, Sweat is here to support you every step of the way. Small changes lead to big wins, so here are some of our favourite healthy habits you can cultivate to move you closer to better health, fitness and wellbeing.
Healthy eating habits
Life is busy and we all have times where ordering in or grabbing food on the go is the best option, but establishing healthy eating habits can go a long way towards feeling your best. Good nutrition can give you more energy, improve your health in many areas such as digestion, immunity and skin, as well as help to make your training and recovery more effective.
Here are a few healthy eating habits you can implement:
Carry a water bottle
Staying hydrated is important for digestive health, your skin, the transportation of nutrients around your body, temperature regulation, sleep, cognitive function and your fitness too! If you carry a water bottle you’ll be reminded to drink regularly, and it’ll become second nature to reach for your bottle rather than another coffee or a sugary drink.
Have healthy snacks on hand
Often find yourself staring into the abyss of your pantry or fridge? Us too. When it comes to your snacking habits, an easy way to set yourself up for a day of healthy eating is to make sure they’re actually available! Having healthy snacks on hand is also key when you’re working out as it’s natural to feel hungry more often.
Make a point of including some nutritious snack options on your shopping list, such as nuts, fresh fruit, crackers and hummus or bliss balls. If you’re heading out for the day, pop some snacks in your bag and you’ll be prepped!
Plan your meals
Going to the supermarket and buying a bunch of fruit and vegetables is a great start, but it’s not going to be particularly helpful if you don’t know what you’re doing with them.
Before you head to the supermarket, try to make a meal plan for the week and write a list of exactly what you need. This not only sets you up for a week of nutritious meals, but also minimal food wastage!
Try to include a source of protein in each meal
Protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery, as well as the health of all your cells and tissues, such as muscle, bone and hair. Plus, it helps you to feel satisfied and full for longer. Aiming to include a lean source of protein in each meal is a good way to make sure you’re eating enough, such as eggs, lean meats, yoghurt, beans, nuts, seeds or tofu.
For many of us, our eating habits leave us feeling subpar simply because we’re not paying attention to what or how we’re eating. Eating mindfully can mean eating more slowly, paying attention to your hunger signals so you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, or you could even just try eating without the distraction of your phone or TV.
Enjoy a variety of foods
Although we are creatures of habit, eating a variety of foods is important to make sure you’re getting plenty of nutrients. If there’s not much variety in your diet, here are some ways to spice it up:
- Try to eat the rainbow each week, or buy a different fruit or vegetable each time you go grocery shopping
- Try to make one new recipe each week or fortnight — this is a great way keep things interesting, consume a variety of nutrients and have fun in the kitchen
- Try a meal or meal kit delivery service - this could be a new long-term healthy eating habit, or just something you do every once in a while for inspiration and a change!
Healthy sleep habits
Sleep is essential for energy, mood and workout recovery but also for many other factors including your immunity, cognitive function and mental health. Some nights you’ll have a better sleep than others, but here are some sleep habits you can implement to improve the quality and amount of sleep you get each night.
Set an alarm to prepare for bed
It’s so easy to get caught up finishing off tasks or binge-watching a new series. Before you know it, it’s hours past the time you intended to get to bed.
Getting more sleep starts with getting into bed at a good time, so why not set an alarm as a cue to start preparing for bed? Remember to factor in however long your bedtime routine usually takes, or work backwards from when you need to wake up to make sure you get enough shut-eye.
Include exercise in your day
Finding time to move your body every day can help you to sleep better at night. Daily exercise doesn’t just help to leave you feeling more tired at night, it also produces a range of hormones and endorphins that support your overall wellbeing and mood, supporting better quality sleep.
Create a bedtime wind-down routine
By the time you hop into bed, you want to be feeling relaxed and sleepy, and what you do before bed can be a help or a hindrance. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or feel wired instead of tired, you might want to try:
- Having a warm bath or shower before bed
- Turning off all devices at least 30 mins before bed
- Dimming the lights at least 30 minutes before bed
- Doing some gentle stretches
- Having a herbal tea such as peppermint or chamomile
- Reading a book
Healthy mindset habits
Your thoughts shape your actions, so it’s also important to focus on how you can make healthy thinking part of your day.
Define your why
In moments when you don’t feel motivated to move your body or make a nutritious meal, knowing why you want to make these choices can be powerful.
Is it to feel more energetic and confident? Perhaps to be fitter and stronger to keep up with your kids? It could even be as simple as staying healthy to avoid sickness. It’s also normal for your why to change over time, so doing a regular check-in to reassess your source of motivation is a great idea.
Be grateful every day
Expressing gratitude can be an effective way to boost your mood, see the good in your life and help you to maintain a positive outlook on the good days and the not so good. Practising gratitude doesn’t take a lot of time or effort and it has been shown to positively affect relationships and overall wellbeing — why not give it a shot?
Start a mindfulness practice
A mindfulness practice can help to keep you grounded when life gets stressful. There are lots of different ways that you can practice mindfulness, such as conscious deep breathing, meditation, yoga and journaling, so feel free to experiment and find what works for you.
Learn from the best
One of the best ways to feel motivated to make healthy changes and improve your life is to follow inspiring leaders or read their stories.
We love following the trainers on social media - they’re full of motivational tips, encouragement and humour, and getting stuck into an inspiring book can do wonders for your outlook and drive.
Looking for your next read? Check out Britany William’s favourite recommendations!
Healthy exercise habits
Choose a training style you enjoy
We’re all about the feel-good power of movement here at Sweat, but some training styles will feel better for you than others. If you think you don’t enjoy exercising, we reckon there’s a high chance you simply don’t enjoy how you’re exercising.
Different training styles available on the Sweat app include strength training, HIIT, boxing, Pilates and yoga, and the sky's the limit when it comes to cardio options. Walking has so many benefits and is easy to get started, but you could also try things like swimming, dancing, cycling or running.
Warm-up and cool down
When you’re pressed for time, skipping your warm-up and cool down can seem like a way to save on time. However, taking five minutes for your warm-up and cool down is important to help reduce the risk of injury and help prepare your body for the workout ahead.
Cooling down is also important to return your body to its resting state gradually. Your cool down helps to regulate blood flow as your heart rate slows and helps to prevent possible dizziness.
Do strength training
Strength training helps to build lean muscle, improve bone density and body composition, and prevent injury. You can do strength training at home or at a gym depending on what suits your lifestyle. No matter how you like to work out and how much time and equipment you have, there are plenty of strength training programs and On Demand workouts available in the Sweat app.
Get your steps up
Aiming for a daily step target is a great way to keep your body moving throughout the day and avoid spending hours on end sitting down, and it’s also a great way to motivate you to squeeze in a walk, run or Sweat session.
Stretch and recover
Prioritising your recovery is just as important as your workouts are and you can speed up muscle recovery with active recovery sessions and much-needed rest days. Resistance training puts stress on your muscles, breaking down tissue and stimulating repair and growth that ultimately makes the muscle stronger.
That’s why it’s important to allow time to recover between workouts. If you follow a workout program or are challenging yourself in your sessions, make sure you include regular scheduled rest days.
Get started with new healthy habits today!
No matter what health and fitness goals you set for yourself, healthy daily habits are what will help you achieve them!
When you want to implement a new habit, connect it to a cue that already exists in your day or create one, such as changing into your workout clothes as soon as you get home from work, or going for a short walk as part of your lunch breaks.
If you’ve decided to make a commitment to work towards a healthier lifestyle, you aren’t alone! You can share your journey, feel supported and find inspiration from other women around the world who have similar goals when you’re part of the Sweat Community!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.