It’s a miracle that any of us get off the couch these days. From global pandemics that force us to stay inside, to Netflix, Zoom, and other sites that keep us from even noticing the lack of fresh air, it’s almost as if the world is conspiring to keep us off our feet. 

Luckily, most of us have resisted giving into complete immobility. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t benefit from a little more activity in our lives. Moving around is good for us physically as well as emotionally. Whether it’s hiking through the woods or taking a walk around the block, the movement and change of scenery, no matter how little, can do wonders for our bodies and our moods. 

Easier said than done, though. It’s not rare to set goals for yourself and then watch them slip away. The internet is full of contrasting diet tips, and everyday it seems that new research arrives that cancels out yesterday’s advice. Sometimes it seems easier to just give up.

For that reason, it’s best to start with small goals. Sure, maybe you’ll run that marathon one day. But for now, focusing on small, actionable tips is a more reasonable way to stay in shape and build healthier habits. So whether you’ve been spending too much time on the couch or have fallen off your old workout regiment, here are some easy, realistic tips to get you leading a healthier, more active life.  

Check your snack game 
No, you don’t have to stop snacking. What else are you going to do with your hands as you binge the latest Netflix series? But it could help to consider what you’re snacking on and think of healthier replacements. These days, the shelves are stocked with tasty, healthier alternatives that can easily stand in for their oily, greasy, sugar-filled brethren without much loss in flavor. You can find chips without trans fats, raw chocolate bars, crackers without refined flour, and more. Nuts, popcorn, and trail mix are also great snacks that are healthy and delicious. 

Make Little Chores for Yourself
It’s easy to say you’re going to wake up and jog every morning, but sometimes that just doesn’t pan out. Instead, you can make little chores for yourself and stagger them throughout your day. Plan a walk to the post office to buy stamps. Take the garbage out in the morning and the recycling out in the evening. Instead of letting the dog run around the backyard, take it for a walk--maybe to the pet store, where you can buy more food and treats. Think about the errands you can do without your car and get some more walking time in your life. If it helps, make a playlist and bring some headphones--you never know, you may be hesitant to go back inside. 

Do what you love
Exercise is an intimidating word. It makes us think of treadmills, push-ups, bossy trainers, and expensive equipment. But the truth is, exercise can be anything that gets you up and moving. Shooting hoops in the driveway, dancing like crazy in the living room when nobody’s watching, running around with your dog--all perfectly acceptable forms of exercise. If you’re struggling to come up with something, you can get in shape with the right fitness apps for your lifestyle. So next time you wince at the thought of working out, catalogue the things you love doing and think about how they can get you up and moving. 

Turn Small Steps into a Greater Stride
Put down the diet manual for now. Ignore that shiny new gym or the pressure from your jogging-obsessed friends. If you’re just starting out on a path to health, or if you’re tired of failing at grand attempts, take a step back and consider smaller ways you can implement health and fitness into your day-to-day life. Momentum is a wonderful motivator, and the more you get used to healthy snacks and longer walks, the more likely it is that you’ll want to stay on the path to  a healthier lifestyle.