But how? And more importantly, when can we find time amidst jam-packed schedules to sneak in a workout or make a healthy meal? Luckily, we can make big gains in our health over time simply by making small changes. It’s all about baby steps. The trick is to make sure you’re doing these small changes every day … and the best way to ensure that happens is to convert them into habit by doing them alongside other actions we normally take. Let’s take a look at some easy examples you can incorporate into your schedule starting today.
1. Set an alarm to meditate. Even 10 minutes of meditation a day can have a profound positive impact on your health. It helps calm bodily inflammation, lowers blood pressure, helps you focus and feel better by activating the frontal lobe of the brain (the part responsible for memory, mood, learning and attention). To make it a habit, set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier each morning and meditate before you even reach for coffee. (We recommend the Headspace app for iPhone.)
2. Do wall squats while you brush. We all have to brush our teeth, right? Log in a two- or three-minute wall sit while you take care of your teeth. With your back firmly pressed against the wall, “sit” with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Stay seated the whole time you brush your teeth, and knock out a mini-workout for legs and glutes in the process.
3. Workout before you eat. By holding off on breakfast until after you’ve run or worked out, you force your body to burn stored fat as fuel — as opposed to glycogen, which comes from food. You’ll get an extra burn this way, but it’s important to be hydrated beforehand and refuel properly once you’re done exercising.
4. Swap out one healthy food per meal. Giving your diet a total overhaul can be overwhelming, let alone time consuming. Instead, try swapping out one item in each meal every day for a healthier option. For example, instead of fries with your lunch, eat an apple. That saves you 245 calories. It may not seem like much, but after two weeks, the difference adds up to a whole pound less that you’re eating.
5. Measure your water. Most of the time we overestimate the amount of water we’re actually drinking. The best way to solve this is by using a water bottle that’s clearly marked with ounces. Get a large bottle (32 ounces or more) and keep it at your desk. Make a mental goal to empty it once before lunch and again before you finish working. Add in more full bottles if you plan to work out.
6. Get a stand-up desk. Standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting. Not only is the extra movement beneficial for your body and mental focus, but standing will improve your posture.
7. Walk while you talk. Take meetings and long chats in stride by getting up and walking, even if it’s just around the house or office. The benefits are even greater if you’re able to get outside into the sunshine, which provides much-needed vitamin D.
8. Plank on brain breaks. Set a reminder on your phone to take a mental break each hour, and instead of mindlessly trolling social media or checking email, do a one-minute plank. Your abs will thank you.
9. Swap a Netflix episode for a chapter (or sleep). Quality sleep (and lots of it) is critical for optimum health. The blue light from screens can interfere with your body’s ability to get that quality sleep. Power down at least an hour prior to bedtime, and instead of a Netflix nightcap, try good old fashioned reading instead. Guarantee you’ll sleep better!
Oftentimes, focusing on our health means actually making time for it. Consider scheduling a workout into your calendar, just like you would an important meeting. You are important and so is your health. If you’d like more ideas on how to make fitness a priority, schedule a consultation today.