Whether you’re a let’s-lift-weights sort of human or a run-til-my-legs-fall-off type of exerciser, you are aware that developing a new fitness habit starts with a massive behavior change. It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic is still presenting many uncertainties, but one thing remains true: Your health and wellness should always be a priority. If I learned anything in 2020 is that we must always be ready to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and facing new challenges.
Most people want to start the new year setting new dietary and fitness goals but few are able to maintain this new habit after the first few weeks of the new year. Not because they lack "motivation", but simply because they lack proper guidance. “How do I begin?” is one of the top fitness questions I often get asked, as a pro athlete and understandably so. Beginning any journey is intimidating, let alone one that is health and fitness related. But with the proper information and preparation it doesn’t have to be.
Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced lifestyle with a proper fitness routine will provide many benefits into 2021 and beyond. A new habit is a small decision you make and action you take every day. According to Duke University researchers, about 40% of our daily actions are due to the habits we have developed. Put another way, an individual’s life today is essentially the sum of their habits, says James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits.
I always say that in order to make any new habit easier to do, we should always start with an incredibly small new thing that isn’t reliant on motivation and willpower. Motivation comes and goes, and willpower is something that is easily exhausted as it is used throughout the day. A new habit needs to be so easy and simple that an individual can’t say “no” to doing the habit, it’s just naturally achieved.
Everyone’s mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing are very closely linked. If one declines, the other is likely to decline as well. Ideally, you should prioritize habits and activities that foster both good mental and physical health.
Regular exercise is critical to good physical health. When you can get out and get moving several times a week, it promotes a healthy weight, good muscle tone, and healthy joint function. You’ll be less likely to experience an injury, and it can offer relief from chronic physical health conditions. People are always asking “Where do I start?” This may sound silly – but the place you want to start is with proper hydration. If you are not getting enough water and healthy fluids than every other system in your body is affected. Your body systems will literally become sluggish if you are neglecting this simple foundation.
In addition, regular exercise is excellent for your mental health. It’s a great way to relieve stress and regulate your energy levels. When you exert yourself, your brain produces endorphins, a hormone that people associate with having a positive attitude. This hormone also desensitizes your perception of negative feelings or physical strain. People who start their day with a little bit of exercise have reported enhanced concentration and motivation. They’ll also be more likely to make healthier food choices.
Identifying barriers and challenges ahead of time can be an effective way to address them before they become overwhelming. I know it can be super easy to give up on goals and new habits when life gets challenging. That’s why it’s critical to remind yourself that a day or even a week of setbacks will not ruin your path to achieving your new goals.
Remembering to always look forward by envisioning what life might look like if you stick to your new habits and make the changes necessary to live more healthfully and in line with your values and aspirations. These are the things that will keep your hope, motivation and enthusiasm for achieving your goals at a high level throughout the process of change.
Luckily, there are already healthier options of foods and drinks on the market that can help people get their essential vitamins and minerals without the extra calories from added sugar intake. Products like whole grain rice or pasta, oats, fat-free or low-fat dairy, zero-sugar yogurt are already available on any market and can drastically help with the switch to a low-sugar diet. If you ever feel like you don't have enough knowledge or time to adjust into a better nutrition schedule, I'd suggest finding a professional of that area to better help you achieve your specific goals.
As I always mention, keeping your body hydrated is the bare minimum you can do to optimize mental and physical well-being. As a professional swimmer, I always have to make sure my body is at its maximum level of hydration, so I can perform at my best during everyday workouts and swim meets. Walking around with a water bottle or sports drink bottle has become part of who I am. When I go to that morning run or workout I always make sure I have a bottle of Hydra-Guard with me. Staying hydrated not only helps me to stay on top of my physical performance, but also I make sure I am always at my best mentally.
Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits into 2021 and beyond. Products like Hydra-Guard Sports Drink also help me to make sure I have my proper amount of Vitamins and essential electrolytes to keep me healthy and active all year. One bottle has 20% the equivalent Daily Value of Calcium we need alongside with only 5g of REAL Sugar and no artificial anything.
Ultimately, taking steps towards better mental and physical health will complement one another. When you have a good attitude and you feel well physically, you’ll feel less vulnerable to stress. Moreover, you’ll feel as though the world has more possibilities and there’s more to look forward to during your busy week.
Many professional athletes endorse the use of sports drinks to better prepare them and to stay mentally and physically sharp throughout their season. Minnesota Vikings’ Running Back Alexander Mattison also emphasizes the importance of sports drinks like Hydra-Guard in his preparation to play at the NFL level. “I believe that staying Properly Hydrated with products such as Hydra-Guard is very important because as an athlete, it becomes part of a healthy lifestyle choice and it helps me to prevent any injuries,” says Alex.