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WELLNESS

10 Healthy Habits to Stay Fit in 2020

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Want a better physique, or get back on track after an indulgent holiday? Check out these handy tips if you want to stay fit in the new year.

1. Set measurable goals – and checkpoints
The type of goals we set determines whether we’ll succeed. Far-fetched, vague resolutions are hard to follow through, so instead of goals like “get fitter”, try measurable objectives such as “exercise five hours per week”, which give you clearer targets to work towards. Set sub-goals and add in checkpoints to review your progress along the way – it can be intimidating to consider a big goal, so break it down into smaller, achievable steps.
2. Follow the 80/20 rule
You have to run at least 1.5km to burn 100 calories, but you only need to eat a chocolate chip cookie to absorb just as many back. In other words, your diet is key if you want to get in shape. That doesn’t mean you need to cut out guilty pleasures entirely, though. Follow the 80/20 approach: it advocates for consuming healthy food 80 percent of the time, and indulging in treats for the rest. This maintains a good (and happy!) balance and is a lot easier to follow.
3. Eat slowly
Chewing kicks off the digestion process – and there’s a school of thought that advocates prolonging this step. Chewing each mouthful 20 to 30 times would bring numerous benefits: it’s said that slowing down will help you reduce food intake, minimise the risk of digestive problems, and also enhance the amount of nutrition you’re getting.

4. Adopt a healthy eating plan
Diet plans help you make healthier choices by providing black-and-white guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat. Some popular plans include the Keto aka low-carb diet, the low-fat DASH diet, and the Mediterranean diet which emphasises fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish. Not a fan of strict diet plans? You can still incorporate certain aspects of them into your own diet, like going meat-free once or twice a week.
5. Fast intermittently
Intermittent fasting, which involves dividing the day or week into periods of fasting or eating, has been hailed as a useful method in bringing about a stronger and leaner body. There are different ways to carry it out, such as alternate-day fasting and the 16/8 method (fast for 16 hours and eat two to three meals within eight hours each day). Intermittent fasting instantly reduces calorie intake, and in the meantime, the body is able to initiate cellular repair.
6. Can’t put those snacks down? Switch them up for something wholesome
Eliminating unhealthy snacks with salt and refined sugar will make a real difference. Replace them with fresh nibbles and healthier options, such as vitamin-rich berries and plain nuts. Check out Tong Chong Street Market in January and February, where organic ingredients take centre stage. Or, look to shops like O’Farm and Food for Life for a selection of organic snacks.

7. Move around wherever and whenever possible
Our sedentary lifestyle is linked to health issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and weekly trips to the gym just aren’t enough to counteract the harm. The solution? Move more on a daily basis. Try walking meetings, aka conferences conducted between co-workers while on foot, and replace your coffee breaks with walking breaks – you’ll be surprised how a little fresh air and movement can reboot your system. On the way to work or back home, get off public transport one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
8. Exercise, exercise, exercise
If you’re always too tired after work to exercise, why not spend your lunch hour getting fit? Find a buddy at work to keep you motivated – the Quarry Bay Sports Centre has plenty of facilities for rental, with badminton, table tennis and squash among the activities on offer. For something a bit more adventurous, head to Verm City, one of the city’s biggest rock-climbing studios. Or, why not set up a regular football match in the Taikoo Place area to initiate some friendly competition between teams from your office or neighbouring companies?
9. Include workouts in your travels
It’s easy to forgo working out while on the road, especially when it’s a business trip with a jam-packed itinerary. Inspire yourself to stay fit by choosing a hotel equipped with a gym, or one that offers guided fitness classes. Or, invest in portable gear like resistance bands, which can be used anytime and anywhere.
10. Get enough sleep
For the average adult, six to eight hours’ shut-eye will ensure the body can recharge its batteries, but it can also prevent weight gain and poor health. Sleep deprivation disrupts insulin sensitivity, which, when functioning properly, regulates blood sugar levels in your body. Ultimately, this results in cellular fat storage that may even lead to diabetes. So the next time you’re feeling sluggish, make sure to catch some zzz’s – your body will thank you for it, in more ways than one.
Packing your own lunch makes it easier to keep track of what you’re eating – try these lunchbox ideas to keep you healthy and nourished!
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