You probably already lead a fairly healthy life; heck you’re hopefully still acing those new year’s resolutions you made at the beginning of 2018.
But by tweaking your lifestyle just a little you could boost your healthy habits even more and push yourself closer to your goals.
Experts have shared with us how we can propel ourselves to an even healthier way of living, be it taking up walking to work or upping protein intake.
1. Rise and shine
Healthy habit: Eating a balanced breakfast
Boost it: Increasing your protein intake
Your homemade granola, avocado on sourdough toast or blueberry overnight oats might make you feel saintly (and look good on insta) but you can kick-start your metabolism to the max by adding a good source of protein into the mix.
“Including protein in your meal helps slow down digestion, leaving you feeling more satisfied and fuller for longer,” says nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns. “This, in turn, can help with weight loss as you’re less likely to have as many calories.”
Think of adding a plant-based protein powder to your smoothie or porridge – they’re easy to digest and can be kept low-calorie, plus they can also be added to savory foods.
2. You’re sweet enough
Healthy habit: Skipping the sugar in your tea or coffee
Boost it: Cutting out sugar from your baking
First of all, well done for bypassing the sugar in your cup of joe, it’s an excellent start. But how about going that one step further and culling the sweet stuff from your cooking too?
It may seem an unpalatable idea but adding certain fruit and veg to your baking can pretty much do the same job as refined sugar but they’re much better for you.
“You could add carrots, raisins, dates, figs or bananas as natural sweeteners,” suggests nutritionist and author Dr. Marilyn Glenville. “Many people now make wonderful cakes from naturally sweet vegetables such as beetroot and carrot.”
Other natural alternatives include maple syrup, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup and stevia.
3. Think heavy
Healthy habit: Going to a HIIT session
Boost it: Incorporate weight training
HIIT and other cardio-heavy classes are great for torching calories and your cardiovascular health, but weight or strength training can complement such workouts really well and come with their own benefits.
“Weight training can be better than cardio exercise for boosting metabolism outside your workout, so it can aid fat loss or weight control when used in conjunction with HIIT,” explains Barns.
Strength training will also help protect and build your bone strength. It can be adapted for all types of body shapes and goals, so don’t worry about developing unwanted bulging muscles.
– RELATED: How To Encourage Your Partner To Get Healthy –
4. Jog on
Healthy habit: Completing a 5km run
Boost it: Sign up for a 10km run
If you’re confident in your ability to run 5k, don’t rest on your laurels. Push yourself to complete a 10k run – and maybe recruit a friend to sign up too so you help motivate each other.
“Working towards a new goal will motivate you to train harder and improve your fitness further,” insist Barns. “You’ll be surprised at how easy the 5k seems after that!”
5. Walk the walk
Healthy habit: Eating your lunch away from your desk
Boost it: Walk to and from work
It’s great if you’re managing to stretch your legs during your lunch break but try to up your daily steps by walking to and from work as well.
Brisk walking helps to get your muscles moving, blood circulating and your heart rate pumping.
Try getting off the train or bus a couple of stops earlier to squeeze the extra paces in.
6. Be whole
Healthy habit: Consuming your five a day
Boost it: Make the switch to wholegrain staples
You’ve nailed your fruit and veg intake but now it’s time to wave goodbye to regular white bread, pasta and rice and swap in brown and wholegrain alternatives.
These will release energy slowly and, unlike white alternatives, won’t flood the bloodstream with sugars as the carbs in wholemeal bread are broken down over several hours.
Glenville explains: “This gradual release will help you to feel full for longer, suppressing your appetite and stopping you craving sweet foods.”
7. Sleep like a baby
Healthy habit: Sleeping for seven or eight hours a night
Boost it: Add a magnesium supplement
You may have dutifully put down any technology at 10pm, run a bath or done a spot of meditation, but are you getting high-quality shut-eye when the lights go out?
Magnesium – dubbed ‘nature’s tranquilizer’ – is great for those who lead a stressful lifestyle or have trouble sleeping. However, it is something many of us don’t get enough of in our diets.
A supplement will help contribute to better sleeping patterns as well as relaxing your muscles and supporting your metabolism and energy levels.
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