Vitality

6 Health And Fitness Tips For Busy People Who Want Results Without Trying

People want to be healthy, they just don’t know how. According to a Nielsen Health and Wellness report, nearly all Americans (89 percent) believe taking personal responsibility for their health is the key to staying healthy. However, only 70 percent say they’re actually willing to try to be healthier, while 66 percent say they don’t exercise enough and 50 percent say it’s too hard to eat healthy.

For those who are too busy (or lazy) to invest time into their workouts or healthy lifestyle routines, try some of our favorite science-backed tricks to a healthier life, with less effort. 

Drinking Water A quick trick to cutting down on calories is to drink two glasses of water before every meal. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

6 Hacks To A Healthier Lifestyle:

1. Downsize to Smaller Plates, Shallow Bowls, and Tall Glasses

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge experimented with portion sizes, packages, and tableware and found by simply eating off of smaller plates, participants ate 22 to 29 percent fewer daily calories compared to those who ate off of average plates.

The study’s co-author, Dr. Gareth Hollands, a senior researcher of health psychology at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, told Medical Daily: “It might be nice to think it’s all decided by people’s conscious choices to go ahead and do something, but we’ve actually seen all these environmental factors and external cues, including package and plate sizes, that are extremely important to shaping our eating behavior.”

In another study, researchers from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found when people were given the freedom to serve themselves from a buffet, those who ate off of larger plates overloaded and took more than a normal portion. Meanwhile, those with normal plates underserved themselves with smaller-than-normal portions.

2. Lay Out Athletic Clothes and A Mint Each Night

Plan on going for a run in the morning or getting to the gym for an early AM workout? Set out your workout clothes and any necessary gear next to your bed each night. It’ll be much easier knowing you don’t have to use your brain to find your socks or shorts as soon as you wake up.

If your workout clothes don’t inspire you to get up and go, place a mint or gum next to your alarm clock. Pop it in your mouth as soon as you wake up. A 2011 study found the act of chewing gum alone will wake the brain up to help us focus at the task ahead (like crawling out of bed). Mint also helps to give the brain a jolt to awaken the senses and help inspire you to get your workout in.  
 

3. Grab-and-Go Snacks

Hunger is the enemy of dieting discipline. Whether you’re keeping your calories at a normal range or hoping to follow through with a cleanse diet, hunger has the power to create impulsive eating behaviors. A recent study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found being hungry while ordering a meal can cause an unnecessary surge in calorie intake.

While meal prepping can significantly increase the likelihood you’ll stick to your diet, it requires a bit of planning and effort.  In the long run you’ll actually save time, money, and calories by cooking all of your meals in the beginning of the week. But if you’re not ready to commit to a full week’s worth of prep, creating on-the-go snacks and hunger-pang fighting treats can help you from overindulging at lunch and dinnertime. Separate grapes, low-sodium pretzels, and carrot sticks with hummus into zip lock baggies to hide in your desk drawer, fridge, or purse in time of need.

Never meal prepped before? Use our guide to learn the basics and get started. Read here.

4. Post-Workout Protein

Want to get the most out of your workout? Within 30 minute of working out, eat foods high in protein, such as hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, and grilled chicken. If you want to start on a committed fitness journey, try to optimize your intake with protein powder.

During workouts the body burns glucose as fuel, but eventually begins to break down muscle mass and make microtears. Your body needs to rebuild that muscle so it turns to carbohydrates and protein to help. Dietitian Kim McDevitt recommends a 4-to-1 protein-carbohydrate ratio of about 50 to 100 calories.

5. Drink 2 Cups of Water Before Every Meal

Drink up! A 2015 study published in the journal Obesity revealed drinking 2 cups of water 30 minutes before participants ate led to moderate weight loss over the course of 12 weeks. By simply drinking water when you first wake up, go out for lunch, or get home from work, you can improve your health without having to do much. Plus, keeping the body hydrated is essential to remove waste, lubricate joints, aid in digestion, and fight off headaches, dry mouth, and dizziness.

"The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity," said the study’s co-author Dr. Helen Parretti, a researchers at the University of Birmingham, in a statement. “Just drinking a pint of water three times a day before your main meals may help reduce your weight. It’s something that doesn't take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives."

6. Commercial-Break Workouts

For those days you just don’t want to go to the gym or can’t find the inspiration to tie up your running shoes, turn to the television for help. Turn on a favorite show or plan to watch a program that has commercial breaks (which means no binge-watching on Netflix). Every commercial break, rotate between sit-ups, push-ups, jump roping, lunges, squats, and wall sits, and if you have free weights, incorporate some bicep-curls and tricep-extensions. The variety is endless and the incremental workout you’ll get by the end of your program will make staying home worth it. 

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