How to Stay Healthy With a Busy Lifestyle
Ever find yourself out for dinner on a Thursday night after a long day at work, yet again bemoaning the fact that this is the fourth time in a week you’ve neglected the kitchen at home? Feeling guilty about all those vegetables you promised you would eat? And that new gym class starting up that you swore last night you’d attend?
The most difficult obstacle when it comes to staying healthy with a busy lifestyle is time, or indeed, the distinct lack of it. Here we take a look at how to make your own time with tips on planning ahead, what benefits you most in the long run, and what to avoid to stay in tip top shape.
The key to maintaining a balanced lifestyle will largely revolve around your eating habits. The temptation to take the easy route and eat out in restaurants, cafes or fast food joints tends to leave your health wanting, not to mention your waistline expanding. Regardless of making excuses, be it lack of time or downright laziness, ending this trend will be a huge step toward living a healthier life.
If you feel that preparing a meal is the very last thing you want to do after a long day at work; do it before! Preparing meals ahead of time can involve making large batches of a single dish on the weekend and freezing it into dinner sized containers. Some of our favourite dishes (mostly due to ease) include: soups, chilis, pasta dishes, and basically anything featuring fresh vegetables, beans (preferably low in sodium) and whole grains.
A frozen meal isn’t always the most glamorous or welcoming thing to come home to, and our favourite solution to this is to invest in a slow cooker (or Crock-Pot). Just before going to bed the day before, throw in your favourite ingredients for a chili or a stew and leave it cooking on low overnight and the next day while you are at work. With minimal effort, you will be rewarded with a hot, delicious meal, and left over portions can again find a home in a fridge or freezer until called upon.
Don’t be fooled by ready made salads being sold to you as ‘healthy.’ Large salads featuring fried chicken, fattening cheese or creamy dressings are usual culprits for luring people who are trying to be health or weight conscious. Unfortunately, these big salads often add up to a calorie count that surpasses even the most guilt-laden of beef burgers. Avoid mix bags of salad greens as well, as they tend to be highly overpriced and filled with less than fresh ingredients. Instead, create your own salads with ingredients you know you enjoy; here are some healthy suggestions to get you going: avocado, hard-boiled egg, nuts, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese (low-fat) and lettuce.
The old adage of eight glasses of water a day has been put to the test by researchers and published in the American Journal of Physiology. These researchers found that healthy adults may not actually require a specific quantity of water per day. British Medical Journal writer and GP Margaret McCartney too has supported the claim that there is no actual scientific evidence that the body needs a full eight glasses water per day.
It is increasingly thought that our natural tendency of being thirsty is an adequate indication of when and how much we should drink.With that said, it is still important to stay well hydrated before, during and after any form of exercise or physical activity. The Institute of Medicine continues to recommend a total daily fluid intake of about 15 cups per day, but remember that this figure includes water from food and beverages. In order to stay healthy with your busy lifestyle, rather than aiming to drink large amounts of fluid, look to replace your usual sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, with mineral water or 100% juice drinks.
In an article to help you stay healthy, you knew this would eventually come up. There’s no point hiding from it, and excuses of no time or being busy simply don’t cut it in a world where research now shows countless exercise techniques scientifically proven to be effective and time efficient.
We encourage you to find a suitable exercise for your age, current fitness level, and the goals you are aiming for. We can’t list all of them, but here is one of our favourite time saving routines (it can take no longer than 15 minutes) from Mr Schwarzenegger himself. Dedicating 15-30 minutes of your day, at least three times per week, will guarantee you stay in better shape, and the discipline gained will allow you to further develop exercise techniques in the future.
If you are already a member of a gym and scarcely frequent it, find a gym buddy and motivate each other. Turn it into a little competition based on whatever you are trying to achieve.This can be first to lose a certain amount of weight, first to manage 100 push-ups without stopping, you name it. A scheduled time on a regular day during the week will help keep your workouts consistent and effective, and setting aside a specific time will help immensely when faced with your many time-constraints.
Please be careful with exercise. Go talk to your doc if you have any questions or special conditions that may need to be considered before a workout session.
Rest & Recreation
Arrange to meet up weekly with some buddies for a regular activity. Choice of activities will largely depend on your interests and the friends who you choose to meet up with, but it can include anything from watching a sport game together, a weekend morning hike, or a meal in your favourite restaurant or bar. Even if your free time is short, the laid back social interaction will allow you to unwind briefly, and you always have something to look forward to during the week.
A reasonable amount of sleep. This will vary from person to person, and can change based on the activities of the day, but finding a regular bed and wake up schedule will help immensely with your circadian rhythm. If you are finding this difficult, plan a schedule for the entire day, and allow at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Once you get into a stable sleep pattern, the rest of your day’s activities will follow suit nicely.
New types of food. Choosing a healthier diet does not always involve lettuce and celery. There are countless websites, blogs, magazines and articles dedicated to showcasing tasty treats that won’t add to your waistline.
More vegetables. Most of us are guilty of not eating enough vegetables, but try and aim for at least five to seven servings per day.
Relying on coffee to perk yourself up too often. Coffee is a diuretic and causes irregular blood sugar levels in your body. Reliance on caffeine in order to function won’t do your body or mind any favors.
Soft drinks (pop, soda, fizz). Cutting down on the sugar in a can of fizzy drink has often been a favorite in weight loss schemes, and you’ll see more benefit from exercise without the extra calories.
Eating Late. With a lower metabolism in the evening, eating anything three hours before sleep can reduce the quality and length of your rest.
Quick Tips: Replace these with – these
Soda – Water
White Pasta – Whole Wheat Pasta
White Rice – Brown Rice
White Bread – Whole Grain Bread
Potato Crisps – Homemade Potato Crisps
Fried Snacks -Vegetable Sticks and Hummus
Sweets/Candy – Fresh Fruit