In my circle of friends, there are certain people who are obviously fitter and healthier than the rest of us.
And the strange thing is, they seem to be that way with practically zero effort!
But is it zero effort, really?
Well, of course not. They didn’t get to that point without putting in the work and being disciplined, naturally.
It just seems effortless because they’ve made health and fitness such a solid lifestyle that it’s practically second nature to them.
While the rest of us are still up at midnight, trying to figure out if that bag of potato chips can do some real damage to our bodies (yes, it does, don’t fool yourself), they’ve already gone to bed.
That’s just one of the ways they stay fit without all the suffering. Here are some other behaviors you can expect from people who effortlessly stay healthy:
1) They prioritize sleep
Like I said, while the rest of the world is still up at night – midnight snacking, hanging out at bars, binge-watching – the fit folks are already asleep.
They know just how important sleep is to a sound mind and body.
If you’re the type who says, “Sleep is for the weak,” then I’ve got news for you, although I’m sure you already know this by now:
Sleep is when your body resets and heals. There’s less demand on your body, so your heart gets the chance to slow down and chill (not literally chill, but you know what I mean).
Your body releases more collagen, which then repairs damaged skin cells. That’s why we say “beauty sleep” – it actually makes us glow!
Your immune system gets to work fighting all the germs and pesky diseases lying in wait.
Your body can release hormones that help with muscle repair and overall body maintenance.
And that’s just the tip of it! All that to say, sleep is not for the weak. It’s for the wise.
2) They limit their screen time
One major reason why so many of us have sleep issues these days is our screens.
Admit it, you hold your phone in your hand and scroll or watch till you feel sleepy, don’t you? No judgment here, I used to do that myself.
Until I learned just how much the blue light from our screens can wreak havoc on our sleep patterns.
That aside, too much screen time can also lead to shorter attention spans, eye strain, and a sedentary lifestyle. Hours of scrolling could pass by without us noticing it!
Health-conscious people are very much aware of that. So they set boundaries for their screen time, such as:
- No-phone rules during meals
- Setting a time for unplugged activity
- Taking regular breaks from work and devices to stretch and refocus
Aside from that…
3) They constantly move
Notice I didn’t say ‘exercise’? That’s because having a healthy body doesn’t necessarily require hours at the gym or running a marathon.
Those who stay effortlessly healthy understand the value of simple, consistent movement throughout the day.
For example, they’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator. They’ll choose to walk instead of drive for short trips.
Biomechanics expert Katy Bowman talks about the impact “nutritious movement” has on our bodies.
She asserts that while exercise is beneficial, our bodies actually benefit more when we move more throughout the day. When we design our environment in a way that encourages us to move.
- Stretching while reading emails
- Meal prepping while flexing our toes on a half-foam roller
- Walking with a friend instead of sitting for coffee
Me, I’ve found my own way of incorporating nutritious movement in my day with a standing desk.
As a freelance writer, I used to have to sit for hours typing away. Now, I still type away, but I can stand and flex/swivel/march in place while doing it.
I’m still a long way away from being super healthy, but at least I’m moving more now!
The point is this – keep moving throughout the day. You’ll see improvement in your metabolism and flexibility.
4) They eat mindfully
Speaking of metabolism brings me to my next point – mindful eating. Mindful eating simply means being thoughtful about what you eat and taking the time to savor every bite.
Healthy people don’t chow down on junk food day after day. And they eat to live, not the other way around.
That’s not to say they deny themselves the pleasures of luxurious food. They still partake occasionally, but it’s more about having a balanced relationship with food.
That also means they don’t use food as a coping mechanism for stress, boredom, or negativity.
5) They stay hydrated
Another way healthy people stay fit effortlessly is to stay hydrated throughout the day.
That sounds pretty simple, right? But believe me, I know so many people who don’t do this.
For example, a friend of mine drinks soda more than water. My own husband used to often forget to drink water throughout the day. I made him bring a huge water bottle to work so he could get the habit down pat.
It’s a simple habit but one that reaps major benefits. Staying hydrated aids digestion and ensures the body’s processes are running smoothly.
And if you need more convincing, it makes your skin glow. So fill up your water bottle and keep drinking from it!
6) They manage stress well
Now, I know all too well just how difficult this can be. Handling stress well is a skill not many of us have mastered.
Except for those effortlessly healthy people. You know how they do it?
They prepare ahead. They have routines or habits in place to keep them on solid ground even when things get too stressful.
They might do morning meditations, nightly journaling sessions, or simply know when to walk away or take a break to get their emotions under control.
Tricks like this can help you manage stress so it doesn’t reach the point where it affects your health.
7) They stay connected with others
Ever noticed how that friend who’s always in good spirits also seems to be in good health? There’s a link there.
In fact, this is one of the points discussed in the documentary “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”, which was about how older people stayed healthy and thriving well into their old age.
All of them maintain strong ties to their community or they have a close-knit group of friends.
How does this boost health?
Well, we’re all social beings and need that sense of connection to feel mentally and emotionally well. Socializing reduces feelings of isolation, provides support, and keeps us lighthearted.
Not to mention that engaging with others may involve physical activity (like group hikes, dance sessions, basketball games, etc.) that contribute to overall health.
8) They listen to their bodies
This might be the most important one, and it’s something many of us also fail to do.
Effortlessly healthy people are very well-connected to their bodies. What do I mean by that?
They listen to what their bodies say. Instead of pushing through pain or discomfort, they stop and respond properly.
If they feel tired, they rest. If they feel sore, they take a break from working out.
None of that foolhardy, trying-to-prove-they’re-strong mentality. That way, they prevent potential injuries or burnouts and go on being healthy, happy, and thriving.
In fact, even if there’s nothing wrong…
9) They go for regular check-ups
Are you the type who only goes to the doctor when something’s wrong? You might do well to take a page out of the Effortlessly Healthy Handbook.
…Which instructs us to make regular medical check-ups a part of our lives.
Remember that our bodies are essentially machines. When we pay attention only when there’s a breakdown, it would be harder to repair.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, fit those appointments into your busy schedule and stay on top of your number one asset – your health.
10) They are always learning new things
Lastly, health is just as much about keeping the brain active as it is about the body. Staying curious and engaged boosts cognitive function and mental well-being.
That’s why the effortlessly healthy are constantly learning. They have hobbies, they read, they attend classes and workshops.
They’re always challenging themselves in new and different ways.
So, do you have what it takes to be effortlessly healthy?
As you can see, it’s just a simple set of habits. But I do have to warn you, if you’re coming from a completely different lifestyle, it won’t be a smooth ride ahead.
You’ll need to be disciplined and focused on your health goals. The harsh truth is, it takes a lot of effort to get to the point of effortlessness.
But trust me, just like anything that’s good for you, it will all be worth it in the end.