20 quick ways to improve your health

You want it: weight loss, fitness, and a healthier you. Pills, potions, and protein promise it all – it's just a phone call away, and you can have it now.

Sorry, but you can't have it NOW. What you can have are new habits that create a healthier you: today, tomorrow, or maybe the next day. But if you invest in some new strategies, you will change.

Strategies like these:

1) Wake with movement.

Turn off the alarm and drop for 10 push ups, 10 squats, and 10 sit ups. Drink a big glass of water, and then perform another round. Early energy beats hitting the snooze button three times.

2) Drink more water.

More water means less need for drinks full of sugar. And studies show that people who preload their meals with a pint of water achieve extra weight loss.

3) Walk at lunchtime.

Sitting all day is the new smoking, so get outdoors for some movement, sun, and stress relief. Add a healthy meal, and you come back to work with positive energy instead of food coma and fast food farts.


4) Join the gym.

There are group classes, your mates, your new mates, music, and professional advice – all of it gets you moving.

5) Quit the gym.

Get outdoors by the water, and understand that bodyweight sessions are just as efficient (and safer) as any gym workout. And a dose of Vitamin D from the sun is damn healthy.

6) Increase the fruit and veggies.

Only five per cent of Australians meet the daily guideline for fruit and vegetable consumption. That is appalling, and that must change.

7) Get app'd up.

Smartphone apps can monitor your sleep, steps, caloric intake, push ups, heart rate, and couch to 5km progression. If technology keeps you committed, then geek it out.

8) Get amped up.

Get inspired, because inspiration breeds movement. From our Olympians and Paralympians to everyday folks doing amazing things – their inspiration gets you moving with intensity. Professionals even consider music a legal, performance enhancing drug.

9) Go to bed at 10pm.

Sleep is underrated, yet sleep affects your mind, heart, weight, and so much more. Rest, repair, and relax with more zzzz's.

10) Enter an event.

Crossing the finish line is a fun accomplishment. Australia is loaded with 5km fun walks, 100km charity hikes, and (half to full) marathons. There's something for every age and fitness level this time of year.

11) Portion control.

Eat less, would ya? Gluttonous behaviour is the problem.

12) Cheat, because it's OK.

Some weekend indulgence with wine and a reasonable portion of dark chocolate is lovely treat after a healthy, hard working week. Just say no to the five times per day treats – you're not a dog.

13) Ignore the experts.

A new study proclaims we've been scammed - there's no link between cholesterol and heart disease. Other experts disagree. From paleo disciples to cleanse and detox programs, to Instagram models and even me. Ignore us all, and figure out what's healthy and maintainable for your lifestyle and body.

14) Arm yourself with three workouts.

During lunch, on holidays / business trip, or just watching the kids play footy, you've got time for a bodyweight session if you have three high intensity sessions in your mind.

15) Make your bedroom a temple.

You don't need the energy and distraction from a smartphone, tablet, and television in your bedroom. Turn your bedroom into a cave for two healthy activities – sex and sleeping.

16) Put down the sauce.

Barbecue and tomato sauce, along with many salad dressings are loaded with sugar. Utilise spices, olive oil, and lemon as healthy alternatives.

17) Decrease the drug intake.

That sneaky smoke and extra cup of coffee, then an extra glass or two of wine during the week. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are all drugs. Along with weekend benders if you party hard? Too many peaks and valleys in energy create an unstable lifestyle.

18) Create a food diary.

When you write it down, you're much more likely to stay committed to a healthier diet – in fact, studies show you'll lose twice as much weight. If you don't? Bring it to a dietician for expert advice.

19) Weigh yourself.

Don't get obsessive, but checking your weight two or three times per week keeps us all on track.

20) Examine your priorities.

One question – what does your health mean to you? Make sure your health is more important than high scores and Instagram likes. The house of cards falls quickly if you don't have your health in order.

It all sounds so simple, right? It is. But we've lost our way and let obesity lead us to complex diseases that can all be prevented with simple lifestyle changes.

Oh yeah. Just one more.

21) Get started.

Many want it and dream about it, then procrastinate. Nothing happens on the couch with one hand in a bag of chips and the other holding the remote. It happens after you get started, and then you sweat, swear, laugh, and commit to changing your habits. Those habits, mixed with patience become a healthy lifestyle.

Got any healthy habits you can't live without? Let Michael know in the Comments section.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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