Wake up, work, go home, spend time with family or doing household chores, sleep, and repeat—sound familiar? It can seem like work and daily life leaves no time to stay fit. And it might be tricky, but it IS possible. Here are some tips to help you make time for health.
Make a Plan
Start by setting some goals for yourself. Whether it’s losing 5 pounds or running a marathon, having a clear idea of your plan will help you achieve it. Use the acronym SMART to set your goals wisely: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If your goals are vague and have no end date, you will be much less likely to reach them.
Break It Down
If you try to decide where in your day you can fit in a 60 minute workout, you’ll probably come up blank. But what about a few 10-20 minute blocks? Instead of striving for a long, uninterrupted period of time—which few of us get—try to fit in smaller increments. For example, you could do 10 minutes of yoga before work, 20 minutes walking briskly at lunch, and 15 minutes of cardio before dinner. This can be challenging, because on three separate occasions in the day you will need to motivate yourself to actually exercise. That’s three times more opportunities to make excuses or put it off. But make it a priority and you can reap big results from small pockets of time.
Don’t forget about your diet. Exercise is great, but if you’re consuming double the calories you should be, it’s going to take a lot of jumping jacks to balance it out. You may know that the USDA food pyramid has been replaced by a plate concept, where half the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, about a quarter of it should be protein, and a quarter grains. Try to break down your meals this way, especially watching the empty calories: foods like chips, sweets, and soda that have considerable calories but offer no nutritional value in return. Restaurant meals and fast food are notoriously high in calories, so try to make or bring your own meals whenever possible. Always keep healthy snacks handy (perhaps nuts, dried fruit, or protein bars) so hunger doesn’t sabotage your efforts.
Think About It
Try to find a way to keep your fitness goals in mind frequently. “Out of sight, out of mind” holds true for many fitness aspirations. Whether it’s penciling in workouts on the calendar or subscribing to a fitness magazine, do something that reminds you regularly of your goals. Anything from setting out gym clothes the night before to giving yourself small incentives throughout the day can get you moving.
Too many full-time workers these days find themselves feeling exhausted and burnt out after sitting at a desk all day. Not only is this unpleasant, it’s potentially dangerous. This kind of fatigue and burnout can result in sloppiness in the workplace, potentially resulting in unsafe practices. For more information about health tips at work, you can always ask someone with a bachelor of occupational health and safety degree.
It may not be simple with a busy schedule, but a fit and healthy lifestyle is attainable in a 9-to-5 environment. Start with a plan, break down your daily schedule to figure out when you can fit in exercise, examine your eating habits, and be sure to keep your mind on your health. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your plan as needed. Find what works for you and stick to it!