If you are like any business professional you are surely one thing – busy. Simply holding the title of business professional actually implies that you have a full plate and a lack of time. The hat you wear while at work is one of many roles that you juggle throughout your busy day. Working professionals are also moms and dads, friends, committee members, volunteers, and so much more. Thus, it is no wonder that for many of these people personal health and fitness is falling low on their lengthy list of priorities. Healthy eating is taking a backseat to convenience food, the word workout sounds like a foreign language and attempting to get a full night sleep is like trying to catch the wind.
It doesn’t have to be this way! There are a couple of simple solutions that will make it easier for health and fitness to climb the long list of your priorities.
The first step is recognizing you have a problem. Cliché as it may sound, it is important to take a critical look at your past few weeks and evaluate what you have been eating, what exercise you have made time for and how much sleep you are regularly getting.
Pack your lunch. It is time to return to a concept that we were taught in elementary school. The best lunch is one that is prepared ahead of time. Don’t leave yourself open to spur of the moment eating decisions as they will inevitably wind up being something that comes in a plastic wrapper or that is handed to you through a drive-thru window. I have found that devoting an hour on Sunday evening to weekly lunch prep immediately solves this problem.
Schedule 3 Personal Meetings. The weekly calendar of any professional contains a multitude of meetings. Sometimes it can feel like all you do is sit in meetings. And yet, they are all important and you would not think of missing them. Treat exercise with this same level of priority. Schedule it as a meeting on your calendar and don’t let other things get in the way. According to the American Heart Association just three 25 minute bouts of vigorous aerobic exercise per week can increase your cardiovascular health and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Be sneaky about it. Exercise does not always have to happen with weights at a gym wearing a sweat suit. Be creative. Squats and lunges can be done almost anywhere and your desk can be used a support system for exercises like pushups and dips. Simply walking around once an hour will break up your time spent sitting and help reset your posture.
Sleep at all costs! According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies have shown that healthy adults have a sleep need of 7-8 hours per night. In addition, short sleep cycles (4-5 hours) have been proven to have detrimental effects such as drowsiness, increased BMI, increased risk of diabetes and heart problems, increased psychological problems and decreased ability to pay attention. Establish a nightly routine that includes some quiet time and a designated bedtime. Shut off work and stressful thinking one hour before bedtime and give yourself time to decompress so that your sleep is restful.
The strategies above are designed to be simple and easily adaptable into your daily routine. Try them, the results may surprise you!