When it comes to fitness challenges, many of them tend to focus on exercising. This is not a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming if your goal is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Indeed, exercise is just a fraction of what you can do to adopt a healthy lifestyle. As such, you are advised to lean more on health challenges than exercise challenges. We have compiled one of the most practical 30-day health challenges to help you adopt healthy habits. The program does not contain anything out of the ordinary, making it very easy to implement in your daily routine. Even so, we suggest you talk to a healthcare professional before giving it a try. So, without further ado, here is our 30-day health challenge!
30-Day Health Challenge For You
The best 30-day health challenges are usually all-rounded. This means that their sole focus is not just on nutrition or exercise. Instead of this, they tackle various elements of healthy living to help you adopt diverse health habits.
We have thoroughly analyzed these healthy practices and used them to compile the following challenge. But before you do start this 30-day fitness challenge, we urge you to consider your discipline, dedication, and commitment. The only way you will transform or change your life with this challenge is if you are in the right mentality and keep with it till the end. Here is what it encompasses:
Day 1: Eating More Fruits And Vegetables
We kick off this challenge by recommending you increase your daily fruit and vegetable servings. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, yet many people fail to eat them in plenty.
They provide us with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which our bodies require for proper functioning. For example, we need fiber in our bodies to ease digestion, prevent constipation, and increase satiety levels.
Medline Plus suggests you try eating three to five servings daily (6). Talk to your dietitian to determine how you can incorporate them into your diet plan without affecting your daily calorie limit. Again, be sure to talk to them about incorporating fruits and vegetables with low calories and high fiber, mainly if you want to shed extra pounds.
There is a notion that you are required to drink eight glasses of water daily. As a result, most people are constantly pushing themselves to drink at least eight glasses of water daily, which is very tricky for many.
A 2002 study concluded that there is no scientific evidence for recommending drinking that much, and too much water could be harmful because it may result in hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants (5). So, instead of forcing yourself to drink a certain number of glasses, experts advise you to drink enough water for you, whatever that may be. They acknowledge that you will know you are drinking enough water by looking at the color of your urine. If your urine is pale yellow to clear, then you are well-hydrated. Also keep an eye out for common symptoms of dehydration, such as dry skin, headaches, or infrequent urination. And remember that you may need to drink more on certain days than others, depending on the weather and your level of physical activity.
Day 3: Chew Your Food Slowly
Digestion starts in the mouth. That means, if you want a smooth digestion process, you will have to chew your food slowly. Try to chew each mouthful at least 30 times. It will help in breaking down the food into small pieces that make digestion much easier and faster. It will also slow down the pace at which you eat, giving your body more time to recognize when you become full.
The challenge on this day is to ditch unhealthy snacks for healthier ones. For example, instead of eating a bag of potato chips, we recommend having some celery sticks and nut butter. These snacks are vital as they are low in calories and help keep the unwanted pounds at bay. In addition, you can try other healthy snacks, including hard-boiled eggs, low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt with some berries, air-popped popcorn, and nuts (2).
Day 5: Maintain The Correct Posture
Most of us struggle with poor posture, especially if we spend most of our time behind the desk. As a result, we may experience headaches because of straining the back of the head, neck, jaw, and upper back (10). You may also experience neck and back pain due to stiffness. So, try to keep your back straight while standing or sitting to reduce the strain on your spine and related pains and aches.
Day 6: Take The Stairs
We understand that you work or live on the sixth or eighth floor, and the stairs are a nightmare. Even so, we do urge you to take them instead of the elevator. Doing this gives your legs and lower body a good and thorough workout. Remember that this is walking, which is an example of aerobic activity. This means it will pump your heart rate and even help you burn some calories.
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The goal today is to take a walk and enjoy your surroundings. You can tag along with a friend or family member or decide to spend this time alone. Similarly, you can choose to keep to known locations or walk to new places for an adventure. Walking is an example of an aerobic activity that helps you torch calories without struggling.
Day 8: Stretch
Stretching is essential as it helps in increasing the flexibility of your muscles. In addition, it fights stiffness or tightness and increases blood flow to your muscles, all of which make you relax. Similarly, it makes it easier for you to perform various activities because your muscles are flexible and have reduced injury risk.
Day 9: Eat Dinner Three Hours Before You Sleep
Although most of us cannot help it, we eat dinner an hour before bedtime. This could be due to running late somewhere and not getting home on time. This does happen, and so there is nothing to worry about if the situation cannot be changed.
That said, we challenge you to try as much as possible to have your dinner three hours before your bedtime. It will make the digestion process start early enough, making you rest better and easier.
There is a saying that laughter is the best medicine. So, you are urged to laugh and smile whenever you get a chance. It helps reduce your stress levels by improving your mood.
Day 11: Minimize Your Salt Intake
Although salt enhances the flavor in our foods, it makes your body retain fluids and even raises your blood pressure (9). Therefore, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking not more than 2300 mg of sodium or 2.3 g every day. This equates to roughly one teaspoon of salt (7).
Day 12: Jot Down Three Things You Are Grateful For
We tend to forget that we have accomplished or are blessed with so much, especially when we are at low points. This can be discouraging and even increase our stress levels. Instead of focusing on what is bothering you, shift your attention to what you are grateful for or have accomplished. It leads to a positive mindset, one which we need to conquer daily stressors.
Congratulations on increasing your vegetable intake to 3 to 5 servings daily. However, we now want you to try out a new vegetable, mainly one you have not had before or for a long time. It could be zucchini, spinach, asparagus, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage.
Day 14: Get Adequate Sleep
There is a lot that comes with not getting enough sleep. You become grumpy, moody, have reduced concentration, and may even lose focus. All these can disappear if you get enough rest. Similarly, you also get to reap other benefits, including better weight management, better calorie regulation, and reduced risk of depression and heart disease (11). Adults between 18 and 60 years are advised to get sleep of 7 hours plus (8).
Day 15: Meditate
We are halfway done, and on this day, our challenge is to spend 3 to 10 minutes meditating. It can be tricky for beginners, which is why we recommend guided meditation. You can always download a guided meditation app if you are wondering where you can access such help. Try to track your feelings, mindset, and emotions before and after you meditate.
Today we challenge you to enter your kitchen and prepare a meal of your choice. You can choose to prepare it with your kids, spouse, or by yourself. Again, we are not limiting you to any meal plan or recipe. Go with whatever makes you happy.
Day 17: Set A Goal
The challenge today is to spend at least ten to twenty minutes writing a personal goal. Remember that it has to be specific, realistic, measurable, and time-bound. Go through your to-do list or bucket list if you have no idea where to start crafting the goal.
Day 18: Practice Mindful Eating
The challenge today focuses on mindful eating, which will help you revamp your eating habits. We suggest that you eat at the dining table and without any distractions such as your phone or the television. You will realize that doing this makes you concentrate on your food and helps you focus on other healthy eating habits, such as chewing your food slowly.
Although it seems like common knowledge, some people forget or ignore the practise of brushing their teeth. It makes your mouth house germs and food particles, which may lead to several teeth problems. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you brush your teeth twice, at least in the morning and evening (1).
Day 20: Read Something Motivating
The challenge today is to spend at least twenty or thirty minutes reading something inspiring. You can choose to focus on one area of interest, for example, finance. As such, you may gather material on how to invest wisely or personal finance tips.
Day 21: Keep A Food Journal
The challenge today is to keep a food journal. This is significant, as it helps you keep track of your daily calorie intake and the types of foods you consume. Typically, this will require you to jot down everything you had, including your snacks. If not, you can always download apps that allow you to account for everything you are eating.
Day 22: Take A Cold Shower
Yes, the challenge today entails taking not a hot but a cold shower. Believe it or not, a cold shower may strengthen your immune system, increase your alertness and mood, reduce pain and improve physical recovery (4).
You do not have to be a yogi to do yoga. Start by doing simple yoga moves that will eventually pave your way to the more complex ones. However, if you do need help, do not hesitate to consult a licensed instructor or yogi.
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Day 24: Sun Bask But Apply Some SPF
It is essential to sun bathe as it enables your body to make vitamin D. However, remember that the sun also contains harmful UV rays that can damage your skin. To avoid this damage, consider applying healthy sunscreen. Ask your dermatologist about the recommended SPF.
Day 25: Hang Out With Friends Or Family
This mere act of hanging out with your loved ones goes a long way in decreasing your stress levels. When family surrounds us, there are fewer chances of being wary but instead happy. As a result, you end up being in a good mood, which reduces your risk of depression, anxiety, and stress.
The challenge today is to partake in something you enjoy doing. For example, it could be drawing, dancing, swimming, or painting. Whatever it is, spend some minutes or hours of your day partaking in it. It will make you more relaxed and calm, which keeps stress at bay.
Day 27: Eat When Hungry
Do not eat just because food is available or because you are bored. Instead, you are advised to eat when you feel hungry. Eating because of boredom or easy access to food may lead to a calorie surplus, contributing to weight gain.
Day 28: Do Strength Training Exercises
The challenge for the day is to participate in a strength training program. It might mean going to the gym to access various types of equipment. However, if the regime utilizes dumbbells, a kettlebell or barbell, and you have them, you can perform the routine at home.
Remember to be very careful whenever you deal with machines or weights as there is a higher risk of injury. It would help if you asked a trainer to supervise or guide you through a strength training program.
Typically, most individuals are used to eating three large meals. These are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead of this, some experts now recommend eating five to 6 small meals throughout the day. These meals reduce the time for waiting to eat food, which may trigger overeating (3). Again, blood sugar begins to fall when you have not eaten after three hours, and this eating pattern stops this from happening (3).
Day 30: Take Your Supplements
The last challenge for this 30-day health challenge entails taking your supplements. However, you are not the one to prescribe for yourself the supplements to take. Talk to your healthcare provider, and they will assess your health and determine what supplements you need to take, if any. Again, let them know if you are taking any medications or supplements to avoid counter interactions from the various prescriptions.
The Bottom Line
If you want to transform your life and live healthier, forget about the 30-day exercise challenge and concentrate on the 30-day health challenges. These programs focus on improving your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The following 30-day health challenge focuses on simple habits that lead up to healthy living. For instance, eating more fruits and vegetables, brushing your teeth twice, hydrating, exercising, meditating, and sun-basking. Remember that this program is only effective so long as you stick to it. As always, talk to your healthcare provider before starting this program.
Sticking to a healthy diet based on your health needs, allergies and preferences is a great idea, however when combined with a workout plan that meets your goals, it might bring you significant benefits. Better mood, stronger muscles and endurance are just some.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 8 Strategies For a Healthy Spring (2021, cdc.gov)
- 9 healthful snacks to eat for weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- 6 Meals a Day for Weight Loss (2014, webmd.com)
- Are there any health benefits to a cold shower? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Drink More Water? Just Say No, Says Doc (2011, medpagetoday.com)
- Fruits and vegetables (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- How much salt should a person eat? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How Much Sleep Do I Need? (2017, cdc.gov)
- Is too much salt harmful? Yes (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Posture: Align yourself for good health (2016, mayoclinic.org)
- Why sleep is essential for health (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)