How to Stay Fit and Healthy When You Have a Busy Lifestyle
Given most people sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day at work, you may not think an office lends itself to leading a healthy and active lifestyle. However, foregoing exercise and a healthy diet can lead to restricted mobility – or make restricted mobility symptoms worse. But with a little creativity, there are ways you can be fit, eat well, and keep your job – no matter what your mobility level is.
How to exercise on the go
In a perfect world, we’d have an hour a day to work out. But in the real world – one where work, school and family demand our attention too – exercise is often put on the backburner. The solution? Sneaking it into your super busy schedule. And yes – it is possible.
Here are our favourite creative ways to squeeze exercise into your daily routine:
Try fitness hacks
Sitting is the new smoking and it’s time to quit! The solution comes down to being resourceful: use an exercise ball as a chair, invest in an adjustable desk, take a gym class in your lunch break, use the stairs over the lift, or even suggest walking meetings. Try to get up from your desk and move around every 20 minutes, too.
Stay fit anywhere
Instead of walking leisurely up a flight of stairs, try picking up the pace a bit. Monitor your progress with a tracker.
Transform your commute
Forget the treadmill, stuff the essentials – keys, cash and phone – into a small rucksack and run home from work. Running isn’t only a brilliant form of exercise, but it’s a form of transportation too, remember. Not a runner? Cycle to work, get off the bus or train a few stops earlier, there are plenty of ways to exercise – even for beginners.
Exercise during your lunch break
Make the best use of your 60 minutes by heading to the gym or going for a walk. This midday exercise session will keep your waistline in check, flood your brain with feel-good hormones, and increase your productivity for the rest of the day.
How to make healthy food swaps
When it comes to staying healthy with a busy schedule, the biggest hurdle is time. Deadlines and commitments can mean comfort foods, cups of coffee and less sleep become the norm. Fortunately, earning a living doesn’t have to cost you your health. Here are some easy changes you can make to your diet to noticeably improve your health.
When the afternoon slump strikes, it can be tempting to reach for unhealthy pick-me-ups. But these will only spike your blood sugar and exacerbate feelings of tiredness. Instead, choose nourishing snacks with slow-release energy properties, such as dates, bananas, nuts or this recipe for homemade date and seed energy balls.
Hydrate with H20
Fatigue is often linked to dehydration, so it’s vital to keep your fluids topped-up during the working day. Always have a bottle of water on your desk and limit caffeine intake, where possible (herbal teas are delicious alternatives).
Leading a jam-packed life doesn’t mean you have to forgo healthy eating habits; it just requires a little more planning. Bring your own pre-packed goodies to work, so the office biscuit tin doesn’t lure you. DIY trail-mix, roasted chickpeas and unsweetened dried fruit make the perfect snack attacks. Meal prepping at the weekend for effortless weekday meals is another big one.
Fill up on iron
Did you know depleted iron stores may cause low mood? Keep energy levels high during the working day by chowing down on iron-rich nuts, seeds, green veggies and dried fruit.
How do I stay fit and healthy if I have restricted mobility?
You don’t need to have full mobility of your body to reap the extensive health benefits of physical activity. If illness, disability, arthritis, or injury has limited your mobility, there are still many ways you can use exercise to condition your body, enhance your self-esteem, and improve your entire outlook.
Always stop exercising if you experience any pain or discomfort, and avoid exercising an injured body part.
Even if you’re confined to a chair, NHS UK still recommends partaking in 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, such as wheelchair sports, rowing, or wheelchair sprinting. Exercising in water can be especially beneficial for mobility issues, too. Water aerobics or swimming, for instance, can reduce the risk of joint and muscle discomfort. Always check with your GP if it’s safe to exercise first.
To improve balance and stability, aim for two strength training sessions every week. If you have limited mobility in your legs, focus on conditioning your upper body. Likewise, if you have a shoulder injury, for example, turn your attention to your core and legs.
Stretching-based exercises are not only vital for maintaining a range of motion, but they can also reduce stiffness and pain. Activities like Yoga and Tai Chi can be adapted to suit your mobility needs. The emotional benefits of these exercises are incredibly far-reaching, too.
With the demands of work, family, and life in general, it can seem tough to make your health a priority. But living healthier doesn't have to take up time, and regaining control of your physical and mental wellbeing can be as simple as a few small lifestyle changes. For even more health tips and advice just like this, feel free to visit our health library on our Pharmacy site or why not have a look further around our active lifestyle section on Our Blog.
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Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.