Ladies, you don’t need us to tell you that finding the motivation to always eat clean and regularly hit the gym is hard work. While we’re not advocating always talking the easy route, there are times when health-related life hacks come in handy. You know, small tips and tricks that don’t require much effort but that make staying healthy and fit a breeze, and can make your life better, more balanced and possibly even longer.
Here, we’ve gathered 40 genius healthy life hacks to help keep you looking—and feeling—amazing without that much commitment.
1. Cover a blister with duct tape.
When you feel the symptoms of an impending blister, apply duct tape over the irritated spot as smoothly as possible, taking care to avoid creases. It cushions the blister and won’t peel off—lots of power-walkers and runners swear by this method when Band-Aids aren’t cutting it.
2. Portion out your not-so-healthy treats.
If you always find yourself furiously craving snacks like chips, pretzels, gummi bears, or M&Ms, portion servings out into baggies so you don’t devour the whole package when those inevitable sweet cravings arise. (And keep one baggie in your desk drawer at work to combat the occasional 4 p.m. craving.)
3. Add weight while blow drying.
A life hack every girl can try: Add wrist weights to your arms before you start blow drying your hair, or using other hot tools. Depending on your hair length and thickness, it could take over 20 minutes to completely dry. By adding weight on your arms, you’ll be challenging your muscles as you style with your (probably heavy) dryer and a hairbrush.
4. Yell “F*CK!” to heal pain.
Letting expletives fly isn’t just a way to cope with pain, it could reduce it. Researchers found that study subjects who were allowed to curse and swear had a higher pain tolerance, less perceived pain, and lower heart rate. Best life hack ever.
5. Make your playlists as long as each workout.
Do this, and you won’t be glancing at the time the whole way through. You stop when the music stops.
If you’re looking for extra workout motivation, bring your dog with you for an outdoor walk or run. Pups need exercise too.
7. Drink a glass of lukewarm water with lemon (and cayenne pepper, if you dare) first thing every morning.
This morning drink gets your organs going, and fresh lemon juice and cayenne pepper both have major anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxification properties. Plus, lemon juice is nature’s best tool for aiding in digestion and regularity, destroying bacteria and cleansing the system. Basically, this is the zero-sugar version of the spicy lemon drinks you can buy from various cleanse brands.
Sitting all day can be a real detriment to your health, so it pays to sneak in some exercise at work. Here’s how to strengthen your abs and relieve tired leg muscles without getting up from your desk: Start with feet flat on floor, sit tall at your desk, and hold ab muscles tight. From there, extend one leg until it is level with your hip. Hold for 10 seconds lower leg slowly, and repeat 15 times before changing legs.
9. Can’t sleep? Blame your cell phone.
According ot the Daily Mail, staring at your mobile’s screen at bedtime causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them. Bad news, as deep sleep is essential for your body to rejuvenate cells and repair damage suffered during the day. Seriously, Instagram can wait until morning.
11.Practice the 2/30 rule …
While we love vegging out in front of the tube as much as the next girl, it could cause of serious problems. According to Reader’s Digest, a large-scale study of over 9000 people found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more, while downing more sugary sodas and high-fat, high-cal, processed snack foods than those who watched less. Try following the 2/30 rule: limit TV to two hours a day, and be sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise.
12. … And the 20/20/20 rule.
If you stare at a computer all day with no breaks, try the 20/20/20 rule, which doctors say reduces eye strain and redness: Take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
13. Work out too hard? Chow down on ginger.
If you pushed yourself too much at the gym, try eating ginger, which can be added to stir-fries, juices, smoothies, or tea. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that consuming 2 grams of raw or heat-treated ginger per day can reduce post-workout muscle soreness by 25 percent. Why? Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds and oils called gingerols that have shown painkilling and sedative effects in animal studies, according to Men’s Health.
14. Talk it out to build muscle.
Verbal encouragement can increase the amount of weight you can lift, so pump iron with a supportive friend or work with a trainer.
15. Eat before you eat.
If you know you’re going to a party, a buffet, or a big dinner and don’t want to totally bust your diet, eat one to two cups of raw veggies beforehand to give your stomach a bit of a head start.
16. Track your meals with a printable (or digital) food journal.
Studies have shown logging what you eat is an effective method for weight loss and management.
17. Bag and freeze smoothie ingredients before you want the smoothie.
This way, when you’re craving something sweet, you can toss the ingredients in the blender and drink up—no pre-chopping required.
18. Sleep in a cold room to boost metabolism.
Who knew sleeping in a cool bedroom may to increase your percentages of brown fat — a type of fat that acts more like muscle, helping to burn other fat and increasing metabolic rate — according to a 2014 study conducted by tthe National Institutes of Health. Read all about it here!
19. Book classes in advance.
Booking pilates, yoga, spin, or other one-off classes in advance will always force you to go—otherwise, you get charged, since most require a credit card.
20. Need a boost? Take a shot of liquid chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the dark green pigment found in plants, but it also has amazing benefits for humans. It has a similar molecular structure to hemoglobin (the substance that’s responsible for transporting oxygen around the body), and just one tablespoon a day can boost red blood cells, improve oxygen, increase energy, help body odor, protect from cancer, help regulate bowel movements, and increase magnesium, vitamins, folic acid, iron, calcium and protein. Oh, and it’s avaialble in all health foods stores, and some supermarkets.
21.Smell an orange.
Several studies have found that the scent of oranges can reduce stress, improve mood, and make you feel way more awake. Try eating a fresh orange for breakfast every morning (and inhaling its scent), or dab some orange oil on your wrists a few times a week.
22. Use YouTube.
Never use your gym membership? You’re wasting money! Cancel it immediately and get into the healthy habit of working out at home using the many free fitness (and highly effective) tutorials available on YouTube. Seriously, you can find instructional videos on everything from ab workouts to Zumba.
23. Google “how to make your own cleaning supplies.”
Seriously, do it now. It’ll not only save you money, but it’ll cut your exposure to chemicals—win-win!
24. Scour Pinterest.
For healthy recipes and workout tips, and create various boards to keep them all in one place.
25. Exercise with Popsicle sticks.
Write do-it-at-home workout moves on popsicle sticks and each time you feel the urge to move (while you’re watching TV, perhaps?) grab one.
25. Shop on a full stomach.
Never go grocery shopping when you’re super-hungry. Why? Because everything looks good, so you’ll undoubtedly start throwing in items you normally might not buy (read: junk food.)
26. Use your commute to relax
Commuting doesn’t have to be stressful: If you take public transportation, download a meditation track or app, close your eyes, and focus on breathing.
28. Plan ahead.
Lay out every single thing you want to wear to the gym in the morning the night before where you can see it, from socks to sports bra—this will cut time in the morning, and give you a little extra motivation.
29. Pay yourself every time you exercise.
Leave $1 in a jar each time you workout and you’ll end up looking and feeling great—and having money to splurge on something fun.
30. Use weight-loss apps
There are so many apps that can help you count calories, lose weight, and keep track of what you’re eating. Here are a few to get you started!
31. Run wrists under water.
Having trouble cooling down after a workout? Run your wrists under cold water to instantly lower your body’s temperature and stop sweat.<
32. If you’re a breakfast person, eat it within 30 minutes of waking up.
Studies show this can do wonders to boost metabolism.
33. Eating at home? Use an appetizer-sized plate.
Health studies show it helps trick your mind into thinking there’s more food, which can result is eating less.
34. Whiten teeth with a banana peel.
It might sound odd, but used banana peels can whiten your teeth! Rub the inside of a peel along your top and bottom teeth for about a minute each, and let sit for around 10 minutes. From there, grab a dry toothbrush and start brushing. Doing this a few times a week can significantly lighten teeth as well as any whitening kit, without any of the added chemicals.
35. Always keep a packed gym bag.
In your car or under your desk at work. That way, when the urge to work out hits, you’ll have no excuses.
36. Not feeling great? Give your exercise a 10 minute trial.
If you still aren’t feeling hot after 10 minutes of blood-pumping, you can stop. However, odds are you’ll keep going, since exercise is a natural mood booster.
39. Whiten nails with toothpaste.
We’ve all heard the one about toothpaste getting rid of zits, but did you know it also can be used to whiten yellowing nails? It works! Add in a few drops of lemon juice—a natural bleaching agent—for extra effect.
40. Make your phone or computer background a motivational quote.
That way, every time you check your phone, you’ll be motivated to get moving.