Whether you're a resident working over a hundred hours per week in a hospital or you're struggling to squeeze in key family time with the little ones, health is often one of the first things people put on the back burner. It's just easier to pick up some fast food, especially now that there are all those healthy options, right? While there are certainly healthier options on fast food menus than there were ten years ago, it's still not an alternative to genuine whole foods.
Fortunately, you don't need to have oodles of time to make some simple, healthier choices. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts toward your daily 30 minutes of cardio, and squeezing in those minutes whenever you can adds up. Whether it's swapping out a sweet treat for a full cup of berries or investing in that woodworking equipment instead of hitting the bars every night, getting healthy has never been easier.
It all starts with simply reading the nutritional label. If a label isn't available, such as with fruits or at a restaurant, use your smartphone and look it up. Even if you don't want to lose weight, getting an app such as SparkPeople lets you easily keep track of your nutritional intake and you can see where you're lacking whether it's empty calories or not enough protein. It's also time to start adding superfoods to your diet.
It's a great thing that you can consider adding food as a goal instead of taking it away. Turmeric, blueberries and salmon are just a few superfoods that anyone can include in their meals every day. Many of these foods are delicious, such as almonds or walnuts, and can be swapped in where filler foods with less nutritional value currently stand. Try adding a new superfood each week for a slow transition.
Getting Your 30
Ideally, a person gets 30 minutes of cardio five days per week. You spend 30 minutes a day surfing the web or watching TV, so make sure you get in your 30 any way possible. If you hate the gym, try a dance class at a local studio or any other form of exercise. There's no rule that says you have to be at the gym in order to get a work out.
It's also time to start building a good relationship with a scale, tape measure and the trainer at the nearby gym who can gauge your body fat percentage. Just because you avoid the scale doesn't mean you're in shape. Know your weight, the measurement of various body parts (waist, upper arms, thighs, calves and hips) and your body fat percentage. If you don't want to lose weight, you still need to know these numbers so weight doesn't creep up on you in the future.
The Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Side
Physical health is just one aspect of your overall health. You also need to care for your mind and spirit (whatever that means to you). Start with getting however much sleep your unique body needs each night. That's usually between seven and nine hours, or until you wake up naturally. Going to bed earlier can be all it takes to manage weight, stress and help you fully enjoy life.
Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, and it is up to you how they're spent. Make sure you get at least one hour per day to care for you and your body. That might include 30 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of listening to music and 15 minutes or napping. It's just an hour, but it can be a literal lifesaver.