When it comes to fitness, we try to think of the big things we can do to make the biggest change in the fastest way. We learn of a new way to “get fit fast”, then we go HAM trying to get there. We tend to believe that if we want to make big changes, we have to take big steps. Big steps can definitely help, but often times they are difficult to sustain, leaving us feeling defeated and regressing back farther from fitness than we were when we started.
An often overlooked approach to fitness is the little things. I’m talking about the small, slight changes that can be made to your diet and exercise that are easy to sustain and, over time, can add up to big results. I like to refer to these as “Fitness Add-Ons.” These are the little things you can add into your life that can really improve your overall health. Here are a three of my favorites…
1. Stretching Regularly
Stretching isn’t just for early morning wake ups and right before you exercise. Stretching is something you can and need to do throughout the day. As an office worker, I sit at a desk about 11-12 hours a day. Sure I get up and walk around to get some food, water, and hit the restroom, but I also take the time to purposely stretch. Every 90 minutes, I stand up, hit the restroom, get some water, and stretch. I rotate my hands, neck, and hips in circles. I reach high to the sky, left and right, in addition to a good twist both directions to stretch my back. I also bend over and tough my toes for 10 seconds.
This doesn’t take much effort or much time, but done frequently and consistently can keep you limber throughout the day. Make it a habit to stretch multiple times throughout the day. It has many benefits.
2. Monthly Challenges
I’ve written about Monthly Challenges before in my post about Fitness Groups. Monthly challenges are challenges that I take on every month to push myself just a little harder. They typically don’t take much time and can be added to the end of any routine you’re already doing. If you’re not doing a routine already, then use them to get started.
Monthly challenges can include running a mile a day, or a 5k a day if you feel so bold. You could do a circuit of exercises where you increase the sets or reps each week. I like to perform my monthly challenge right after I lift weights or go for a run. It forces me to do them when I’m already pretty exhausted from my regular workout. I feel like the small effort added at the end of my routine really adds a lot to my progress.
3. Fruits & Nuts Substitutes
One small change that has made a big difference in my health is substituting fruits and nuts for junk food snacks. I use to grab a candy bar, cookie, or piece of cake if I wanted a quick snack. Now instead of reaching for those unhealthy snacks, I reach for fruits or a cup of nuts. If I am in the mood for sweets, I’ll grab a banana (the greener the better) or a pear. Man, those pears can be really sweet. If I have a hankering for something salty, I get a half cup of mixed nuts. This small change to my diet has resulted in a fitter, leaner me.
Now, being the 5and2Guy, I didn’t give up the junk food totally. On the weekends I tend to have the junk food instead of the healthy snacks. More specifically, I’ve committed to only having junk food on Sundays or special occasions like parties. Just a way for me to up my game a little bit. It definitely helps and hasn’t been too horrible.
When it comes to seeing positive results in your health and fitness, it’s not all dependent on big changes or big moves. Small, slight changes, practiced everyday can make a big difference over time. Actually, most people are more likely to be successful with their fitness goals if they make small changes rather than the big ones. The big ones are overwhelming and hard to sustain. The small changes are not difficult to do. They only take a commitment and a discipline to make them happen.
You can add these three Add-Ons to your fitness strategy, or come up with some other little things, when practiced daily, can make a big difference over time. Perhaps you want to commit to doing 30 seconds of push-ups or sit-ups every 2 hours. Anything healthy you add-on can help. Figure out what you could easily slide into your schedule and commit to it. It’s only a matter of time before you see the results!!!