15 Tips For A Healthier Future-You
Do the things your fitter self does – today!
We’ve all got a strong mental image of how we’d love to look and feel. As a runner, how do you want to look in 3 years from now? Slimmer, stronger, more toned? That “future you” will come about thanks to the healthy habits and daily choices you make over the years. So why not start now?
Here are 15 tips for that future you. By reverse engineering your progress, you can see exactly how to get there. Which of these changes will you start making this week?
15 Things Your Future Self Will Thank You For
1 – Move more. Daily activity counts just as much (if not more) than dedicated exercise. So move as much and as often you can, every day. Stand up, walk around, stretch, dance in the kitchen. Walk outdoors. Do manual chores. Tackle the garden. Wash the car. Walk the dog. Play with the kids. Your 10,000 steps should be a daily minimum.
2 – Do exercise you love. Exercise is important, and women who exercise regularly live longer and enjoy better health. But it’s important to enjoy it. You love running – so run. But if you fall out of love with it, find something else. Maybe come back to it later. Or maybe move on. The point is – enjoy your exercise and accept that this might change throughout life.
3 – Track your progress. This includes training and other exercise. Without tracking the basics, you won’t know what is working (and what isn’t working), nor will you know what needs improving. You can track with an app, notes on your phone, pen and paper, a journal. Just keep notes. Winging it doesn’t work for health.
4 – Think of health and physical improvement as a long game. Start seeing it in terms of months and years, not days. Sure, the days add up to the years. But the bigger picture is much more important than the daily worries and mini battles.
5 – Drink more water. At least 2 litres a day. Get into good hydration habits now. Don’t be one of those people who barely drinks any water. Water is crucial for the health of every cell in your body, and for your sleep, mood, mental wellness, energy levels, digestion, and skin.
6 – Get serious about sleep. Its the one healthy habit that underpins everything else, even nutrition and exercise. You know what your bad sleep habits are. Sort them out now and focus on getting 7-9 hours quality sleep a night.
7 – Eat enough protein. It’s not just about muscles (although they are actually important, too, after all it is your muscles that create the firm body you want). Protein keeps you fuller, supports your muscles and bone health, and is used by all the cells in your body. Track your intake for a bit to see how much you get. Aim for 0.8g per 1lb body weight (a 160b woman should aim for 130g protein a day).
8 – And if you struggle to eat enough protein, use a basic whey or plant protein powder (without any fancy additions) once a day as a protein drink with water, snack on protein (hardboiled eggs, Greek yoghurt, cooked chicken…) and think “protein first” at every meal and snack.
9 – Fill half your plate with vegetables or salad. Most of us do not eat enough vegetables every day. The “5 a day” recommendation is the very least you should accept. Aim for much more. Your savoury meals and snacks should always include vegetables or salad ingredients. They are low calorie, high fibre, and packed with micronutrients. They = health.
10 – Do some kind of weight training. This doesn’t mean lifting weights (although that is a fantastic thing to do – so at least try it once in your life). Do some kind of exercise that puts your muscles and joints under resistance. It strengthens bones, encourages good posture, supports your metabolism, and gives you confidence in your body as you age.
11 – And do some cardio. For now that might mean running. But try some other things too. Long walks, biking, kayaking, climbing, team sports… anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you out of breath. It’s important for your heart – and we need to look after our heart health.
12 – Walk outdoors. Long walks are amazing for your emotional wellbeing, for feeling connected with the world, for having some me time – and for burning calories. Walking helps support CV health, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, digestion, sleep, mood and so much more.
13 – Think about losing fat, not losing weight. Fat loss means reducing your body fat levels whilst maintaining your strength. Aim to be lean, healthy, and athletic, not light and small.
14 – Use your diet to control your body fat, and use exercise to control your fitness, strength, and lean mass. Stop trying to use exercise to create a calorie gap. Exercise is for health, happiness, joy, and fitness. Food is the easiest way to control calories when you need to.
15 – Live life for yourself. Build the body you want. When you are older, your health will be the most precious asset you own. Make decisions every day that support and contribute to good health tomorrow.