9. Staying up late
Yes, sleep is not technically an exercise, but it is absolutely crucial to your fitness routine. Sleep is when the body recovers from the stress of the day, including exercise. If you don’t get enough slumber, your cortisol levels will rise and you’ll start packing on belly fat. Your body also works during sleep to rebuild and strengthen muscles taxed during a workout.
Instead: Different people need different amounts of sleep in order to be fully rested. It’s best to let your body decide when it’s time by powering off electronic devices after dinner and winding down with a book, puzzle, or peaceful music. If you head to bed with a screen, the flashing lights are likely to keep your brain wired when it really needs to be chilling out.
This is good news, right? You can remain fit and strong your whole life, but don’t have to push so hard at the gym. Warding off middle aged weight gain is more a matter of proper diet and sleep habits than how much you sweat. Of course, cardio, flexibility, and strength training remain important, but too much will achieve the opposite of what you want by raising your cortisol levels through the roof. Now is the time to have fun with fitness, and when you’re tired, stop.