44 Experts Share their Favorite Daily Health Habit
We asked 44 fitness and health experts to share their number one daily health habit.
Surprisingly, the most common health habit that was shared was something not directly related to physical training or exercise.
More than a dozen of our contributors identified spending some time for gratitude first thing in the morning as their must-do habit every day. This could take the form of body appreciation, writing down the list of things you're grateful for, or simply taking a moment to appreciate waking up.
This was closely followed by tips on on various forms of exercise and activities that will keep you moving throughout the day. A few also emphasized the importance of drinking a glass of lemon (or lime) water upon waking up.
Read to learn more about the details of each healthy habit…
My number one daily health habit is a collective execution of health, happiness, and hope in order to prime myself for my inspirational mission: to Inspire and Create Goodness… For Goodness Sake! The secret of health and successful life in my opinion is “The 6 Tenets of FinerHealth: Proper Diet, Adequate Sleep, Happiness, Existing in Love, Creativity, and Spirituality.”
2. Alex Timmons
I make a plan and then just do my best to stick to it. I find that just having a plan is a great start. You don't need to follow it 100% to be successful. Something in the class of life, a B is pretty damn good. For instance, one of my most common annoyances is ending my work day with the realization that I have no idea what's for dinner. I just started using this new tool called EinsteinEats; it's like an all in one nutrition solution. It helps you discover new meals and shows you how to cook them. It actually orders your food for you (via instacart I think) to save time. Pretty cool, but I'm just a beta tester now.
My #1 daily health habit is to start every morning with a refreshing lime/lemon water to get the digestive juices flowing and begin everyday with gratitude. I believe that setting your day up with gratitude and water sets the tone for your day and the rest of your day will fall into place with better meal choices and more joy in your day.
My number one daily health habit is appreciating my body. I used to spend so much time hating my body for how it looked that I couldn’t find second to appreciate all of the things that my body does for me – breathing, blinking, heartbeat and so many more. Having gratitude for my body every day helps me remember that my body is worthy of good care, and that supports me in making good decisions for my health.
6. Debi Silber
Besides spending a few minutes connecting through journaling or meditating and drinking lemon water early in the morning, here’s a tip that fitness clients from over 20 years ago that I’m still in touch with tell me they still do and so do I.
Before I go to sleep, I lay out my fitness clothes and before I leave my bedroom in the morning, I put them on so the first opportunity I have, I can get my workout in. This strategy gives me a mental “head start” knowing a workout is coming up and I’d feel terrible going back into my bedroom to change out of them if I didn’t get that workout in! As I’m getting the kids ready for their day, taking out the dogs, etc. the thought of that workout is on my mind and I get to it the first opportunity I have.
Such a simple tip but it’s kept me working out in the morning for 25 years!
I work out every day. Even though I backpack every day while guiding Fitpacking trips, when I’m off the trail I still go to the gym. It not only keeps me fit and happy, it keeps my clothes fitting well (which means that after a while the clothes are hopelessly out of style).
My # 1 daily health habit comes down to controlling my time which is much more powerful than merely “time management.”
Every day I wake up between 5 and 6 AM and begin getting work done. This allows me to have time to train on an almost daily basis where most people use the excuse of “I don't have the time”, I make the time by controlling the start of each and every day.
Related to this, I am open minded and able to exercise anywhere and everywhere. I can train at my gym, outdoors using body weight, surfing, tennis, sprints, using the kettlebell in my backyard. I use everything around me to engage in play and exercise so I don't pigeon hole myself into only being able to train in the gym.
Fitness is all around us!
A downward dog a day! I just make sure to stretch my body and feel my breath daily!
(Photo Credit: Target)
10. Briana Michel
Start your day with moderate protein and high fat with a side of veggies and NOT any other carbs. Carbs first thing in the morning stress the body by raising insulin and cortisol, leaving you to be hungrier soon after that meal and throughout the rest of the day. It also signals the brain and body to use carbs for energy and instead of stored and dietary fats. That means if you don’t go burn all that glucose immediately most of it may get stored as body fat.
Fat is our friend! Healthy fats are extremely nourishing to the body, brain and joints. It helps with healthy cholesterol production and balancing hormones. We NEED FAT! Always get bountiful amounts of healthy fats like mct oil, avocado, coconut, olive oil, wild caught fish, organic grass-fed grass finished meats organic raw nuts, grass fed butter and so on. Eat the fat, love the fat and it will love you back by keeping your mind sharp and your body lean! Starting your day with veggies boosts phytonutrient, helps balance fluids and increases fiber intake and energizes your day!
11. Ben Booker
My number one daily health habit is rest and repetition. I do my best to get plenty of rest at night, but also downtime with my family. Seven to nine (7 – 9) hours of sleep is what I strive for, and then spending a few hours a night at a minimum with my wife and three kids. This is what I try to repeat which allows for less stress, better workouts, joy, and healthier overall living.
12. Lucas James
Sleep is my number one daily health habit. I get at least 7 hours of sleep a day and go to bed at the same time every night. Consistent good sleep allows me to have plenty of energy to workout, be productive at work, and cook healthy meals. I also prioritize sleep as #1 over nutrition and fitness with all my clients.Steve Edit: for those struggling with getting to sleep, here is an article about how to get to sleep on time
13. Helen Ryan
Always keep moving. I try to do a something in terms of exercise every day – and it doesn't have to be anything big. I exercise usually in the mornings (even for just 15 or 20 minutes) and then throughout the day I squeeze in pushups, squats, some yoga stretches, daily choices like taking the stairs, parking farther away, going for a quick walk, etc. When I am working a lot in front of my computer I try to get up from my desk every hour and do 3 to 5 minutes of something – anything – to keep my body active.
14. Dan John
I don't eat, but I drink coffee and water, until my writing assignments are done, my college work is graded and I work out. Then… eat. This way, when I “break the fast” all I have to do now is “new work.” It gives great clarity to my work and day.
15. Cindy Santa Ana
My number one daily health habit is this: I remember that perfection is unattainable. I just do my best given whatever situation presents itself. An extra bite of cake one time in September will not change the way I look in June.
17. Lore Earley
My #1 daily health habit is to connect every morning with my soul/authentic voice and listen to what my inner compass is guiding me to do that day. This allows me to stay in alignment with my purpose, my core beliefs, and my physical health goals. My soul voice is my intuition, and when I can stay connected with it, I best serve my clients and can live by example.
18. Sharon Palmer
My #1 daily health habit is to focus on whole plant foods, and to avoid the “crap.” I don’t waste my food choices (or calories) on foods that don’t provide powerful nourishment to my body. So, that means everything I eat is packed with nutrition. I live on legumes, tofu, whole grains such as oats and quinoa, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. These foods are delicious, because they are combined with love and care with a blend of global spices, herbs, a touch of extra virgin olive oil, ginger, garlic, and lemons. When I want a treat, I have a square of dark chocolate.
19. Kristin Shaffer
My specialty is helping busy women achieve the body of the dreams, and I walk the talk. The #1 daily habit that enables me, and the women I help all over the world, to get and stay in incredible shape, is pre-planning what to eat for the day by preparing meals in advance. I'm a crazy fanatic about this one very simple, but critical, habit that literally changed my life and countless others. By preparing meals in advance we ensure our bodies are fed with lots of healthy foods that fuel our day rather than having to scramble when we're hungry and ultimately choose foods that don't support our goals.
20. Andrea Metcalf
Drink water before and after sleeping at night. Just a great habit to get into. I never seem to get enough water in so this helps. [From Steve: Here are 3 of the best water filter pitchers that can help you stick to this habit.]
Floss before bed. There's research to the bacteria that drains from your mouth down your throat from having food stuff stuck between your gums – not to mention entering the bloodstream. Flossing helps clean the mouth and strengthen the gums. It's like cardio for your teeth.
Eat a high protein breakfast. Not all breakfasts are created equal but get some protein in each morning to keep you blood sugar levels even and stop you from craving sugar throughout the day.
Stretch for 5 minutes in the morning. I'd ask you to take a walk as well but most people say they don't have the time. If you start with a stretch it might lead to something more!
Write or talk text into your notes why you're grateful for 30 days in a row. Start over if you miss one and keep going until you get the full 30 days complete. then read each one for the next 30 days.
21. Kathy Gruver
Most people are going to talk about a certain food or exercise that they do every day. Mine is a bit more esoteric. It has to do with choices. Every moment we have a choice. About what we think, what we focus on and how we respond. Stress is a big influence on our health and so much of stress is about our reaction to our external environment and influences. The traffic I can't control, the government and stock market I can't control… I can control my thoughts about it and how I respond. So every moment of every day I make a choice. I don't always succeed, but I do my best to choose the best thoughts and responses to the situations and people around me.
22. Lisa Bahar
It's a tough question and a toss-up, but when asked, it is the walking one that most would say is my #1, but I do sleep 8 hours, no mood altering substances, and walk 6 to 7 miles a day.
23. Joan Pagano
Habit is definitely key to developing an active lifestyle. The consistency of doing “a little bit a lot” has dramatic benefits for health and fitness. Every day I find ways to build physical activity into my day, whether by accumulating 30 or more minutes of walking in 10- to 15-minute doses or doing a continuous 30-minute jog. I regularly do three 15-minute weight training sessions a week and schedule one yoga class per week. None of this takes a lot of time and that makes it manageable.
24. Julia Chan
It's really hard to pinpoint just one but I guess the main one would be to start my day with good intentions and a good mood. I have a dog so early in the morning, every day, I give him a nice long walk in the park. During this time is where I set an intention for my day and regardless of how little sleep I got the night before or how grumpy I am feeling in the am, I turn on the positive vibes, switch the frame of mind, and turn it into a great mood. This intention setting can also be done in meditation or a quiet moment in the morning, too.
That starts a cycle of positive and healthy decisions that ultimately affects my food, how I approach my day, working with my clients, my workouts, stress level, and the list goes on. Even when dealing with tough, stressful, disheartening situations or people, I always go back to start of my day and remember my intentions.
25. Julie Sieben
My number one health habit is to go for a walk. Walking helps me to clear my mind, calm down, and have a different perspective on things that are going on in my life. Once I am calm, then I can address issues in a more healthy constructive way instead of in an unhealthy destructive way. I try to walk every day.
I coach women to lose weight fast and make it last. Since I am very goal-oriented, I start each day off with my #1 health habit, which I teach all of my clients: Sit in a cross-legged meditative position on your yoga mat, and do deep breathing. I visualize myself reaching my goals, of helping as many women as possible be happy with their bodies, and center myself for my day. I connect with my mission at the start of the day to stay on purpose. Similarly, I have my clients do this and visualize their weight loss success!
My #1 daily healthy habit as a physical therapist isn't even physical. It is the habit if listing the things in my life that I am grateful for. I have learned, read and studied all means of feeling happy in my life and being in constant gratitude is a theme that runs throughout any enlightened scholars advice for a better daily quality of life. By having an “attitude of gratitude,” I am creating a vibration in my life that attracts more things to be grateful for and creates a sense of love and safety in my life.
Life to me is about the journey, not the destination, and being grateful keeps me grounded and peaceful to navigate the constant surprises and challenges my day may face with grace and ease. Physically, starting my day by being in that state keeps my body in a parasympathetic space- a space of healing, as opposed to the constant fight or flight “sympathetic” state that stressors tend to trigger. This state preserves my body from adrenal stress, muscle tightness, and increased blood pressure that reacting from a state of stress gives us. Preventive medicine is the way to go.
29. Oscar Agramonte
My number one health habit is to move throughout the day. I have an app on my phone that goes off every 30 minutes. It’s a reminder to get up if I’m sitting down or just move if I have been still. Moving throughout the day will bring better benefits than going to the gym 3 times a week. Three 1-hour sessions a week at the gym will not undo the damage of sitting 8-10 hours a day. I like to use the app Stand Up! on my iPhone.
30. Corey Feldman
After having slept for 6-8 hours your body becomes dehydrated, so I wake up every morning and drink 8 oz to 12 oz of water and wait at least 30 minutes before eating solid food. After rehydration, your body will function and metabolize at its greatest efficiency. The activated system can then process the nutrition I eat and send it to the appropriate energy stores to be used throughout my day.
31. Denton Coleman
One of the most simple, yet powerful, daily habits I can recommend for one to perform is to consciously send a positive intention for health to be expressed in the physical body into the glass of water you should be drinking when you wake up. Through the research conducted by Dr. William Tiller, Dr. Masuru Emoto, and Dr. Gerald Pollack, we know that water possesses the ability to receive, store, and transmit conscious intentions.
When positive intentions are imprinted within a glass of water before it's consumed, the intention can be used by your DNA as instructions for facilitating desired change within the body (which we know takes place through epigenetic research). We have much more dictation over the functionality of our body than is typically taught, please embrace the power you have to enjoy good health!
32. Brandon Mancine
I do something active every day. I build and follow an exercise plan that will have scheduled workouts throughout the week. My wife and I regularly take part in active social events like races, athletic competitions or just going to a park with friends. All these count, but eventually a day will come up where we've had projects, travel and commitments take up our day and left us inactive. At the end of those days we will take a walk, practice dance (we took ballroom lessons a few years ago), go over some self-defense tactics or anything to get us moving.
33. Toni Sicola
My #1 daily healthy habit is starting my morning with a nice warm cup of bone broth. Bone broth is great for gut health in that it heals the gut lining and prevents permeability. Gut permeability is a major cause of chronic inflammation that can lead to health problems such as allergies, food sensitivities, and even some autoimmune problems. I healed my lifelong acne by drinking bone broth daily.
34. Rebecca Niziol
The one thing that has changed my life, business, and relationships more than anything else is committing to a daily ritual. It's the non-negotiable, sacred time I spend 10-15 minutes every day on connecting to myself and how I want to feel. The way I do that is through meditation. Ask yourself, “What do I want to focus on and what do I want to feel?” and then create a ritual that bring you that focus and those feelings.
Little head starts. I’m a towering fan of little advantages. I get a head start the day before and get everything ready. Whether that’s for a gym visit (pre-pack the bag so you can just leave the house) or a run (lay out the gear) or food. I pre-make much of the food I consume. That way, when it comes time to do the thing, I’m ready to do the thing. I do this at work too.
Theresa – I'm a yoga-and-walk girl. I find balance and calm every morning when I roll out my yoga mat in our backyard and listen to the birds and the rest of the world wake up. And I'm a much more centered mom, wife, and woman because of it.
36. Liz Barnet
My #1 daily health habit is foam rolling or some other form of myofascial release. I am very active day to day in addition to my own workouts. In order to combat soreness and muscle fatigue, prevent overuse injuries and for general well-being, I use a foam roller at least once a day for 10 minutes, sometimes twice! This also gives me a chance to focus on my breath (it can sometimes be uncomfortable!) so it serves as a moving meditation for me.
37. Dr. Luz Claudio
Every day, I meditate as soon as I wake up. I sit up in bed and I take about 20 to 30 minutes to just focus and get my mind clear. I don't always do it the same way. Most times I sit still and quiet at first controlling my breath and then going over how my body and mind are feeling. I go over every part of my body to just be aware of it. Sometimes, I just try to visualize my day, how I want it to go. Not planning, but rather seeing myself doing things that I want to do that day.
Other times I may use a meditation/visualization podcast to help me focus on one idea. I find that this is time well spent. I started this habit after I saw a report showing the effect of meditation in wound healing. Although the science on this is still evolving, I think there is enough evidence to suggest that the connection between the mind and body is powerful and very influential on health and well being.
38. Helene Byrne
I start my day by reading an inspirational quote my computer, and then I apply that quote as the “answer” to the first issue (no matter how trivial) that springs to mind. I've gained insight, motivation, and support from a wide range – everyone from Aristotle to Kevin Costner. This technique helps me start each day fresh with positivity. It's like having the wisdom of the ages free, at your finger-tips.
39. Bethany Lyn
Floss your teeth daily. Flossing your teeth daily is important for maintaining more than just a healthy mouth. Gum disease causing bacteria is believed to be linked to inflammation and hardening of the arteries, diabetes, strokes, lung disease, Alzheimer's, and even miscarriages. Make this healthy little habit something you do every day… after all, there's no point in having a healthy body without a healthy smile to go with it.
40. Kelli Calabrese
My number one health habit is take quite time daily to be grateful daily for everything I have in my life right now. I am first thankful and content for what I have as I contend for more excellent outcomes in every area of my life including spirituality, physical attributes, mental acuity, coachability, wealth creation, relationships, career and more.
In my quite time of gratitude, I focus consistently on looking for good in all situations as I focus on the day’s progress and possibility. In this quite time, I also train my imagination to focus on the greatest good possible to move me forward in each area I desire and am led. The quiet time allows me to be organized so that my day can remain calm and peaceful. It allows me to focus on solutions so that I can continue to develop even better habits regarding exercise, sleep, meditation, leadership, discipleship and growth.
41. Jen Jewell
Establish consistency with your approach to fitness. Are you a morning person or do you catch yourself hitting snooze each morning when the alarm goes off? Do you usually get tied up with family, kids and other commitments that may keep you from hitting the gym or getting in your workout after a full day of work? By taking a look at your habits, identifying them and being honest with what obstacles have popped up and prevented you from being consistent with your fitness, you will quickly be able to come up with a solution that will work towards getting (and keeping!) you right on track.
Establish what time of the day you are most likely to stick with for your workout, and make that your time each day. Prioritizing my fitness for first thing in the AM helped me get on track, feel more energized all day and freed up my evenings so fun so I never felt as though I was sacrificing a social life for my fitness goals. Set yourself up for success and get into the habit of being aware of what may be helping (or in some cases hindering) your fitness, and you’ll be earning those well-deserved results in no time!
Since I am a healthy home expert, my #1 daily health habit is that I do some sort of cleaning once a day. Keeping a clean and healthy environment is key to wellness. What you put into your body and your living environment are major influences to your health and well-being. Do a cleaning task once a day, vacuum, dust, clean toilets or showers, small tasks add up to creating a healthy home. This helps to keep dander, dust mites and mold to a minimum and helps promote a healthy lifestyle.
43. Greg Justice
My #1 daily health habit is to start by getting my mind right every day! Mindset is the key to overall health and happiness. I use the acronym B.E.W.D.A.S. and it stands for Begin Every Day With A Smile. By starting every day with a positive thought and attitude, it sets the rest of the day up for success.
44. Mandy Ingber
My daily health habit is 20 minutes meditation and a gratitude list.
I try to do this first thing in the morning, before I get to busy. It really helps to align me with the natural rhythm of the universe, keeps my stress levels down by allowing me to slow down and let go of control. After a timed 20 minutes of silent presence, I write a list of 10 things I am grateful for, 10 things I 10 well and 10 things I have absolutely no control over. I am then ready to begin my day!
That and drinking a minimum of 60 ounces of clean water. I prefer drinking purified water out of glass bottles. Hydration keeps my metabolism going, my digestion working and keeps my emotional state in check.