Do you struggle to stay in shape? Sadly, a great number of people these days struggle to keep their weight in check and stay healthy despite the advances of medicine and technology. We struggle to find time to finish everything we want in a day: go to work, be productive, get home, eat well, have enough time for family, socialize with friends, work out, and have a few moments for ourselves. Working out is difficult when you work long hours, but not impossible if you use a few tricks.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mind the diet
Eating regularly and eating healthy food should be high on your priority list. When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s easy to ruin your eating habits: you forget to eat, you reach for fast food because you don’t have enough time, or you start stress eating because deadlines are approaching and you’re nowhere near finished with your project. Avoid doing these things as they will make you feel bad about yourself later on, and all the high-calorie foods will make you feel sleepy and heavy afterwards. This means that you won’t feel motivated to work out even if you find the time. Several small, healthy meals through the day will help you feel full but not stuffed.
Have active weekends
When you have no choice but to pull off long shifts every day, you look forward to weekends. But when the weekend comes, all you want to do is sleep and binge-watch your favorite show. Instead of turning to couch potato, you could use this time to get some exercise and bond with your family.
Have one day a week for an adventure: get all your family on bikes (you can find great kids bikes for sale online), pack balls, kites, and Frisbees, prepare healthy food for a picnic and spend a day outside. Change activities every week so you don’t get bored and try hiking, going for a swim, or you can even take your pets and go camping.
Work on your morning and evening routine
When your shifts are crazy, you will probably not want to do anything afterwards, especially if you’re working nights. Fitting exercise in your schedule is very important, even if you only take fifteen minutes to do it.
Early morning walks are a great way to start your day and gather energy for office, while gentle yoga in the evening will help you calm down and relax so you can get a good night’s sleep. Exercise is good for your mind as well as your body, and even gentle movements, walks, and stretches have antidepressant effects.
Change your habits
Let’s face it – we’re all a bit lazy and most of us would love to stay in bed watching movies than hit the gym. Still, when you work a lot, it’s important to move more, even if it means walking for a few minutes longer every day. If you drive to work, try parking a block further than you usually do, and if you’re commuting, try getting off one stop early and walk the distance every day.
Try using stairs instead of escalators or elevators whenever you can, and don’t roll the chair around the office but try getting up more often. All these things might not seem like much, but if you do it every day you and your body will soon notice the difference.
Take power breaks
When work feels overwhelming, don’t hesitate to take a break, but instead of grabbing a cup of coffee, go for a short walk. It will invigorate you, reset your concentration, and you will burn a few calories too. If possible, try going outside, as the change of scenery will also be good for your tired eyes, especially if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen. This way you will prevent burnouts and when you get back to work you will be able to focus better.
Technology can be of great help if you’re trying to stay in shape but you don’t have the time. You can install one of those simple apps that go off every fifteen or twenty minutes to remind you to stand up, stretch, and walk around the office a bit. This is great because we are so immersed in work that we forget to take a break every now and then. You can also get an app that counts the number of steps you took during the day, which is a great way to monitor your activity as it will inspire you to move more.
Be in charge
After we’ve walked through the easiest and the most effective ways to stay fit and healthy even if you’re working crazy hours, we have to mention something important: it’s your decision to take an active role in your own health. Don’t use job as an excuse to avoid working out – when you plan ahead you can achieve anything. Remember that everything counts: all those health meals, all those little walks, as well as every single minute of exercise.
There’s no doubt that working long hours has its benefits: you earn more for overtime and you can use that money to treat yourself and your family after the work is done. On the other hand, working more than eight hours a day for longer periods of time can take its toll on your mind and body, which is why you should put in extra effort to stay active. Exercise will help you stay healthy and handle stress better, and we can all agree that it’s something we could all appreciate.