Keeping up with the world has become an increasingly difficult job, and physical fitness often takes a backseat when we have many other priorities and checklists to complete daily. Even with a considerable segment of the workforce operating from home, long hours and busy schedules often stand in the way of achieving optimum fitness.
However, this leads to most people compromising their health, which can lead to many side effects. Health problems such as hypertension, hyperglycemia and stress-related disorders are becoming quite widespread. Exercise can be one of the most natural ways to combat these issues. However, can people really spare the time for exercise and fitness when they have such overwhelmingly busy schedules?
There are several ways in which people with busy lifestyles can stay healthy. In these ways, they would not have to compromise on their day-to-day responsibilities while meeting their fitness goals. Let’s discuss a few of these strategies.
Learn To Exercise In Short Intervals
Taking out a few hours for exercising is not a luxury most of us can afford. The only way to integrate exercise into our current lifestyle is to find short periods throughout the day when we can work out. Think of exercise like a big project at work, which needs to be divided into smaller parts to complete. Learn to exercise on the go. A lot of people wait for the perfect opportunity to find time to exercise, and this is very unrealistic since things will always keep piling up one after the other.
Keep in mind that exercising on the go for short periods is better than not exercising at all. Bodyweight exercises can be a good idea to try out if you are aiming to exercise for short periods.
Invest In Home Exercise Equipment
Having an at-home gym or simply some equipment like a treadmill can go a long way in helping you meet your fitness goals. Even a jump rope or resistance bands can help you in burning off excess calories and maintain your health. This way, you can exercise while you unwind and spend some time with your family, or watch a movie. Thus, you would not have to go out to the gym at a fixed time every day and can work around your busy schedule to stay healthy.
Exercise During Your Free Time
If you think about it, being fit is more than just sweating it off at the gym with heavy, specialised equipment. Certain exercises can be integrated into your daily schedule without affecting your productivity at work. For example, doing butt clenches when you are standing; standing on tip toes to stretch the calves while waiting for a cab; taking the stairs instead of the elevator; instead of taking the car, taking a walk to your local grocery store, and so on.
You may not technically be free during these periods, but you can integrate exercise into your schedule in this way to meet your fitness goals. These small exercises can make a substantial difference if they are done regularly.
Make Use Of Your Lunch Break
You can utilize your lunch breaks at work to do some push-ups or simply walk up and down the stairs for a few minutes. If you are working from home, you can take a quick stroll on the treadmill while on your break. Your lunch break can be a wonderful time for you to unwind and exercise a bit at the same time. Instead of eating lunch at the office, you can take a walk to a nearby park or food stall and have your lunch in the open. This will ensure that you walk a few steps as well as calm your mind before you go back to work. Have you noticed how you always feel slow and drowsy during the afternoons? Doing this will get rid of that slump and make you more productive.
Focus On Intensity Instead Of Duration
A lot of people make the mistake of focusing on how long they exercise, instead of how much they exercise. It needs to be understood that intensity trumps duration when it comes to fitness. An intense ten-minute running session followed by a light sprint for five minutes will have a greater effect than continuously walking for an hour.
HIIT or High-Intensity Interval training is particularly effective in this regard. In this method, there is a period of intense exercise followed by a short interval of lower intensity workout. This form of exercise is specifically suited for short intervals and is very helpful for people who have busy schedules. Experts say that 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week can have maximum health benefits.
Make Healthy Eating Choices
It is understandable that busy people prefer readymade foods which just need to be heated, but these can affect your health significantly in the long term. These foods are packed with artificial preservatives, high levels of salt and/or sugar, fats and oils. While they may be practical, they are not necessarily healthy. Eating well is the most important factor that affects health and fitness. It is essential to invest in healthy eating choices to stay fit. Try to prep meals during the weekends so that it is easier to heat and consume them during the busy weekdays. Make sure to add enough protein to your diet so you have the strength to do your everyday chores. Instead of snacking on packaged foods, switch to fruits and veggies.
Keep Track Of Your Activity Levels
Mindfulness plays an important role in motivating people to push their boundaries. Keeping track of how active you have been can help you strive for more, and bring you closer to your health goals. The easiest way to keep track of your activity is to invest in a pedometer. This will show you how many steps you have taken in a day. In case you may have missed out on being active, it will be a reminder for you to get up and move around.
You will notice yourself walking around and exercising more over time if you keep track of your activity levels. It will be very motivating to see how your stamina keeps improving over time.
Drink Enough Water And Sleep Well
Your water consumption levels as well as sleeping habits will also affect how physically fit you are. Water is an absolute must for the body to function effectively. You should ideally aim for at least eight glasses of water every day, and even higher if you work out extensively or live in very hot climates.
Did you know that improper sleep habits can lead to issues such as weight gain, mood swings, low immune response, and so on? Sleep plays a very important role in determining how healthy we are. While it may be difficult for working professionals to get adequate sleep due to their heavy work schedules, it is important to get at least seven hours of shut-eye throughout the day. Try to take power naps during your work breaks in case you have difficulty falling asleep at night. Regular exercise will also enhance your quality of sleep.
Learn To Manage Stress Effectively
Stress has almost become synonymous with busy schedules. While it is true that more responsibilities will certainly lead to increased expectations, causing more stress- it needs to also be remembered that stress is at the root of many health issues. You could look fit as a horse but may develop internal problems as a result of extreme stress, such as digestive disorders, heart problems, anxiety, and so on.
When you learn to manage stress, you will automatically open up more time in your schedule to work through all other responsibilities you may have. This will give you more time to be physically active, practice self-care and spend time with your loved ones.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
Our minds are wired to pursue fun activities with more vigor than boring ones. When you have fun with your exercise, you will automatically enjoy and pursue it more often. One of the best ways to make exercise fun is to include your family in it. Go out for a hike with the fam during the weekend, take walks with your significant other, jump on a trampoline with the kids or just have a good old dance session with friends. Even though these are not traditional exercises, they will still have a bearing on your overall activity levels and impact your health substantially.
We need to change the way we look at and perceive exercise. It is not limited to heavy workouts at the gym or running sessions. Anything can count as exercise as long as you move your body, and more importantly, have fun while doing it. No one is too busy for exercising. We just need to find out what works for us and stick with it.