The saying “genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger” may sound cliché. But there’s a powerful truth behind it: Our daily habits have an enormous impact on our health and vitality. And those actions and decisions compound over time—for better or worse.
Embracing new daily rituals can help you have more energy and set the stage for a long, healthy life. But to set yourself up for success, you need to start by first creating a plan.
“Maintaining healthy habits can be challenging at times—life will throw us many curveballs throughout the day,” says Sarah Pope, a certified personal trainer at Life Time. “When you plan what you need to accomplish, you’re more likely to stick to it.”
So whether you’re kickstarting a new fitness regimen, looking to get healthier overall, or searching for ways to keep active when you’re busy, these five daily habits recommended by personal trainers will help you reach your goals.
Five healthy daily habits personal trainers want you to try
1. Schedule your workouts, but remain flexible
The verdict is in: A mountain of science-backed evidence shows that regular exercise will significantly extend your healthspan. For example, a 2018 study concluded that lifelong exercise promotes longevity by delaying the onset of 40 chronic diseases.
But on hectic days, finding time to work out is easier said than done. Creating a fitness schedule in advance, similar to adding meetings to your calendar, can make you more likely to squeeze in some daily movement, no matter the circumstances.
“Schedule workouts during time slots that you know will work, whether you need to create a new schedule each week or more often to accommodate your other obligations,” says Nicole Davis, a certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews. “If you miss a session or your schedule changes, keep in mind that flexibility within your plan is key to staying positive and seeing it through in the long run.”
2. Get outside every day
Rain or shine, spending time outdoors can work wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Research shows that outdoor physical activity boosts your health and mood more than doing the same thing indoors. Plus, you get some of that highly sought-after vitamin D, which is crucial for good health.
Megan Roup, a certified personal trainer with The Sculpt Society, tells Well+Good, “I work from home, so it’s important for me to start my day with a little sun on my face and a walk around the block. It helps to wake up your entire body and get your brain working for the day.”
3. Start your day on the right note
Mornings are a sacred time that sets the tone for your entire day. According to a 2016 study published in Sleep Science, implementing healthy daily habits first thing after you wake up can improve your mental health and well-being, setting you up for success.
“Start your days with honoring yourself, your body, and, most importantly, what you have control over,” advises Pope. “Whether it’s meditation, yoga, running, or strength training, I strongly suggest to all my clients to get their workouts completed first thing in the morning, regardless if they’re morning people or not.”
4. Make healthy foods the easy option
“Prepare healthy meals ahead of time,” says Davis. “Even if you don’t have time to cook a week of meals, at least preparing some snacks or a few of your meals can help you stay on track.”
If you don’t have healthy food readily available, you’re much more likely to grab something less than nutritious when you’re hungry—and then get hit with that dreaded energy crash. Pope says, “For me, viewing food as fuel means eating for your lifestyle, preparing for your fitness goals, or simply knowing that what you consume can make or break your energy for that entire day.”
5. Make sleep a top priority
A good night’s rest isn’t just critical for feeling alert and focused. It’s also essential to optimize your physical fitness and get the most out of your workouts by helping your body rest and repair. Even if you’re consistently working out with intensity, it could all be for naught if you’re not getting enough sleep.
“Your body needs ample sleep to recover from day-to-day stresses like work and exercise,” says Davis. “If you struggle to keep a solid sleep schedule, try to plan and set a target bedtime that works with your other responsibilities.”