Got a 9 to 5 desk job with a commute? That’s pretty normal for a lot of working adults. But if it feels like you’re always sitting in your car, at your desk, or in front of the TV after a long day at work, that’s not exactly a recipe for good health.
So how do you stay healthy and fit if you’re stuck in a stagnant environment? Is it even possible?
You might not have time to get to the gym, or have a personal chef following you around to prepare healthy meals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy, happy, and fit. Just a few changes to your everyday routine and lifestyle habits can make a big difference.Here are 7 things Ryan believes you can easily fit into your schedule:
1. Make hydration a habit
When you have breakfast, eat lunch, sit down for dinner, or feel like a cold drink, what’s your go-to beverage? For a lot of people it’s a soft drink, sugary juice, or a coffee loaded with cream and sugar. Stop. Instead of reaching for one of these drinks, go for a glass of water. In fact, make hydration a habit.
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning.
- Have another with every meal
- Sip water throughout the day in the car, at your desk, at home
- Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Drink more on hot days.
Zero calories and it’s free. You can’t go wrong there. Drinking water can also help you feel fuller, and keep your brain, muscles, and body hydrated for best health.
2. Sit less, move more
Maybe you can’t get to the gym because of your schedule, your job, your crazy life. But that doesn’t mean you have to take it all in sitting down. There are lot of ways you can be more active, even in a stagnant environment. You might not have time for a 60-minute workout, but even something as simple as standing for an hour burns 50 more calories than sitting”. Here are some ways to sit less and move more:
- Use a stand-up desk at work.
- Stand up when you’re on the phone.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Stand up and stretch for 1–2 minutes every hour.
- Walk to deliver a message to a co-worker instead of using the phone or email.
- Take a short walk break a couple times a day.
- When you get to the office, pick a spot in no-man’s land and walk across the parking lot.
3. Track calories
If you own a smartphone (about 77 percent of all adults do, according to a Pew Research report), click and swipe to track your calories. It’s that simple.
“Apps like MyFitnessPal make it incredibly easy to keep track of what you eat, set weight loss goals, and monitor calorie intake. And it can have a big impact on your health.
One recent study found that people who kept track of everything they ate for two years lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t” Ryan explains.
When you’re mindful of what you’re eating, you’re more likely to make healthier food choices.
4. Practice good sleep habits
“How many hours of sleep do you get a night” Ryan asks. “Anything less than 7 hours means you’re setting yourself up for a long list of problems including fatigue, depression, and poor impulse control, or worse, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and early death”.
And there’s at least one more side effect from lack of sleep. Weight gain. When you’re sleep deprived, changes in the hormones ghrelin and leptin occur that increase appetite and slow metabolism.
No time to hit the gym? Fine. Getting a good night’s sleep will have a positive impact on your health. Ryan suggests you,
- Go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends.
- Create a cool, dark, and quiet sleeping environment.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and evening, and don’t eat 2–3 hours before bed.
- An hour before bed, turn off all electronic devices (TV, phone, computer, tablet)
- If you can’t fall asleep, try reading (from a book, magazine, or newspaper, not an electronic device) for about 20 minutes, or until you feel sleepy.
5. Make healthy food substitutions.
How often do you hit the drive-thru, call or take-out, or stop at a quickie-mart to satisfy your hunger? It might be convenient, but if you’re eating this way often, you’re probably consuming way too many calories, fat, sugar, and unhealthy ingredients. Look for ways to eat healthier by:
- Drink more water instead of juice, soda, or coffee with sugar and cream.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and lean meats instead of processed foods.
- Have an apple instead of a candy bar.
- Eat Greek yogurt, oats, or eggs for breakfast instead of donuts or sugary cereal.
- If you drink milk, choose skim or non-fat instead of whole milk.
- Cook at home using fresh ingredients at least once a week.
6. Get fit with HIIT
You might not have a lot of time to workout, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rev up your heart rate and metabolism, burn a ton of calories, and build muscle strength and endurance.
High-intensity interval training can help you stay in shape, even if you only have a few minutes to workout. It’s even more effective than slow and steady cardio for fat loss, according to a recent study. And you don’t even need any gym equipment.
7. Step on the scale
“Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for chronic disease. But how do you keep your weight in check if you spend most of your time in a stagnant environment? Check this list, and you’ll be armed with some good information. But there’s at least one more thing you can do” Ryan believes.
Step on the scale every day. Research shows making this a habit can help you lose more weight than avoiding the scale, or checking in less often.
Make your daily weigh-in even more effective by keeping track of your weight. Write in on the calendar, or track it with a mobile app.