1. Laugh More.
There’s a reason they say laughter is the best medicine. Studies from the University of Maryland show that while relieving stress, laughter promotes a smooth blood flow and healthy blood vessels.
2. Don’t Worry So Much About Calories.
Calories aren’t the enemy. Calories are energy. If you boil down everything you eat to meaningless math, it takes all the fun out of food. Nutrition isn’t just simple numbers, but a commitment to knowing what’s in what you eat and taking ownership of it.
3. Get a Dog.
According to research, people who have dogs are twice as likely as those without to engage in regular exercise, probably because that adorable little mutt takes a half hour of schlepping before he shits.
4. Eat Actual Food.
If you can point to the food in Cheetos, I’ll give you a dollar. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat Cheetos, just remember that it’s empty calories, so you need to balance it out with something that has actual nutrients in it.
5. Switch to Water.
Americans are chronic snackers, but routinely filling up with water instead not only helps you meet your daily needs (of up to a gallon a day) but cuts back on that constant craving for nosh.
6. Eat More Fish.
Nutritionists have long argued for the merits of the Mediterranean diet (high in white meat and fish), because fish is high in Omega-3s. There’s a reason that Italians live longer. Having a healthy amount of fish can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 33%.
7. Drink Your Wine, Shelby.
Although moderate alcohol consumption in general helps prevent blood clots and artery build up while lowering cholesterol, the antioxidants in wine are argued to have a particularly positive effect — so long as your don’t drink too much. The same goes for the antioxidants in coffee. Moderation is key.
8. Be Active in Your Downtime.
You don’t have to go on a 30-mile run, but switching that cafe date to a coffee walk-and-talk allows you to get outside and burn calories while you have your gossip session.
9. Snack with Fruit.
But of course, we all love to snack anyway (because hummus) so just nosh healthier, and there’s no better snack than nature’s dessert. Grapes, bananas and strawberries are perfect replacements for those tasty-looking Doritos.
10. Or Grab Your Nuts Instead.
Masturbation is great (and a wonderful form of cardio), but I’m talking about the food kind. Nuts are a great form of protein and a great substitute for snacks that are high in fat. It helps get rid of that bad cholesterol your doctor is always warning you about.
11. Stop Smoking.
You won’t gain weight. I quit six months ago, and I’ve never been healthier in my life. It helped me stay active, when I wasn’t constantly gasping for breath, and promote a healthier mentality. When you’re smoking, it’s not just the cigarettes that are killing you. It’s you.
12. Take Work Breaks.
In addition to being mind-numbing, sitting at a desk for hours on end has been shown to have a negative effect on overall health, while decreasing your life span and your will to live. Thus, get up and move around. Take a piss break. Refill your water. Go talk to the co-worker you have a crush on. Just get up and do something.
13. Take Your Partner Dancing.
Guys, you know how she always wants to go out? Take her. While satisfying her needs, dancing also burns an estimated 150 to 300 calories an hour, depending on if its slow dancing or a full-on twerk. Twerk for your heart, y’all.
Statistics from the Mayo Clinic show that regular flossing can add up to three years onto your life, and data from past experience shows it makes you much better to make out with.
15. Eat More Earlier.
There’s a reason you should never skip breakfast: Starting out with your heavier meals early gives your body time to burn those calories off throughout the day. Get a big breakfast, a smaller lunch and a light dinner. In Spain, dinner is really just a glorified snack, so you don’t take those calories to bed with you.
16. Go for a Walk After You Eat.
While helping burn calories, it’s a great way to promote blood flow and healthy digestion. It also staves off that nasty food coma you get after eating way too much, which I almost always do.
17. Exercise Portion Control.
Americans are chronic buffeters, eating until you feel miserable. Try the French way instead. The French stop eating when you feel “80% full,” satiated but not so full you want to puke. It also saves room for dessert, which we all love.
18. Clean When You’re Angry.
You know how your Mom always washes dishes when she’s mad? There’s a reason. While promoting a clean living space (which is good for mental health), it’s a low form of cardio and a nice stress-relief, lowering blood pressure by taking your mind off nagging problems. Don’t dwell. Scrub.
19. Throw Some Cardio Into That Lifting Routine.
Building muscle mass is great for your rate of heart disease, but a workout routine with variety helps promote overall fitness and cardio vascular health. Besides, working out is more enjoyable when you get to mix it up a bit. Sign up for a Spin Class or Rumba. I don’t know what Rumba is, but it sounds fun, right?
Research indicates that relaxing activities like knitting, sewing, crocheting or doing crossword puzzles, cryptograms and Sudoku is good for your heart and overall wellness by lowering your heart rate and your stress level.
21. Do It With Friends.
Having regular workout buddies isn’t just good for spotting. You’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals when you have other people holding you accountable. It’s harder to skip a day if there’s someone waiting to work out with you.
22. Incentivize Your Goals.
Last year when I started marathon training, I put ten cents into savings for every mile I ran, which I would use on a splurge. It’s not much money, but it helps you be more intentional about your goals and makes the experience of training feel more real. Also, who doesn’t love treating yourself?
23. Make the Switch from Soda.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a Coca-Cola as a treat, but as a staple in your diet, switch to other healthier drinks that tickle your sweet tooth instead. I’m a Gatorade or Nake Juice person — all the flavor, but with some pretense to being healthy.
24. Eat Chocolate.
In addition to being delicious, dark chocolate has been shown to lower risks of heart disease, help stop blood clotting and prevent cancer. It also makes you a nicer person to be around.
25. Get Cardio in the Bedroom.
That’s right: Nookie isn’t just good for your blue balls. It’s also good for your heart, a form of both exercise and endorphins. (For why this is good: See Legally Blonde.) Studies also show it lowers your risk of heart disease and helps you keep a healthies blood pressure.
26. Go for a Protein Smoothie Instead of Ice Cream.
Everyone loves desserts and you’ll never hear me shame Ben and Jerry’s, but a great alternative is to sneak something healthy into that sweet treat. Just because it’s tasty doesn’t mean it can’t also be secretly good for you.
27. Love Your Body, Because It’s Yours.
Working out doesn’t have to be body negative. Real exercise is also fitness of the mind — about choosing to be happier and healthier. It’s easier to do than when you look at exercise as self-care instead of self-flagellating. Don’t treat it like punishment. Just make the intention to start finally treating yourself right. There’s no better love than the kind we give ourselves.