A daily health checklist is exactly what it sounds like - a checklist with 5-10 items that you can visualize and check off every day to keep you on track to improving your health. Here is an example of one I've created and use with my clients:
None of the things on the checklist are ridiculous or unattainable; they should all be things you can do daily. Many of my clients have found the visual reminder to be helpful as an accountability tool. Some people put their checklist on their fridge, in their book bag or as the background image on their phone.
Strength and conditioning coaches that work with hundreds of athletes at a time use a daily health checklist as a tool to evaluate their athletes. Right when they arrive at their practice or training session, they fill out a quick form to evaluate their health, mentally and physically.
In my opinion, there are 5 items that should be on EVERY checklist and then there are many options that COULD be on your checklist based on your goals.
Required Item #1: At Least 7 Hours of Sleep
Sleep is where we recover mentally and physically from the day's energy output. Seven hours of sleep is the minimum you should get in order to feel refreshed and recovered. You may need more ... that's OK. Set your goal to be 8 or 9 hours, if needed.
Required Item #2: Eat 2 servings of Fruits
Advertisements for vitamins are all over the television and social media. They are targeted to almost every demographic, but the truth is everything in those vitamins can be found in fruits! Find some fruits that you enjoy and keep them around the house. Whether your goal is to gain, lose or maintain your weight, you should still be eating at least 2 servings of fruit each day.
Required Item #3: Eat 3 servings of Vegetables
Everyone should eat at least 3 servings of vegetables, especially anyone trying to lose weight. The USDA says that, "eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake." Even if you are not trying to lose weight, the USDA also says, "a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke."
Required Item #4: Drink Water at Every Meal or Snack
Hydration is extremely important to your health. Check out the below Tuesday Tip video posted on my social media about hydration. While you're at it, make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you don't miss any of my helpful tips!
Required Item #5: Exercise for at Least 30 Minutes
Make sure to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes every day. You can walk, strength train, ride your bike or workout at home. Elevating your heart rate regularly will decrease your chances of getting heart disease, cancer and obesity, and can improve your mental health as well. Guiding people through their workouts is what I do best, so if you need help please contact me!
Some items I would only put on the checklist to help an individual achieve their specific goals. Some examples of those would be:
Stop eating when you are 80% full.
Take 15 minutes a day to pray, meditate or relax.
Abstain from eating fast food.
Only drink 1 soda a day.
Do not drink alcohol (except Saturday).
Again, these are just examples. I work with all my clients to find goals that fit their lifestyle, needs and overall health goals.