We’re more overweight and less fit than 25 years ago, according to Statistics Canada. It could be from the rise of technology and convenience but whatever the reason, we need to move more and eat more healthy foods. Here are a few ideas for the busy person.
A few recent Live Lighter guest posts have revolved around fitness, like fun workouts you never heard of and can proper athletic gear improve performance? but after reading some startling statistics, I wondered if these posts were actually useful.
Did you know, again according to Statistics Canada, that active leisure time has been steadily dropping since the ’80s? For instance, in 2005, just 49% of women were active during their down time. This year, that number dropped to just over 30%.
So instead of just saying, we need to be more active in our leisure time, here’s a few practical ideas in how to fit fitness into your busy day:
- Commit to being more active! By simply setting the intention that no matter what, you’ll be more active in your day, then you’re already 50% there.
- Set realistic goals. Look at your available time in a week and schedule some workouts in. Try for 1 hour slots, three times a week for full strength-training and cardio workouts. If this just isn’t possible, then read on!
- Step up your game. Are you completely inactive? Then try walking for 15 minutes a day and eventually increase it up to 30 minutes or walk up hills. Are you already walking half an hour a day? Then increase it up to 1 hour or if you lack the time, try doing lunges while you walk – hey, you may look funny but when I do it walking with my friend, we get a good giggle out of it (by the way, laughing hard strengthens your abs and burns calories!). If you’re already jogging 30 minutes, try interval training by sprinting for one minute and walking fast for three minutes.
- Crank up the tunes. Basically what we’re trying to do here is motivate you into putting more effort into your physical time so that you’re using your limited time more effectively (without hurting yourself). Fast-paced music calls out to your body to go with the beat. Try it!
- 5 minute strength-training. When you just can’t seem to get in even 30 minute walks or jogs, then try 5-minute sessions of push-ups, crunches, plank positions, chair dips and squats during the commercials of your favourite TV program.
- 2-3 minute strength-training. When you just can’t get motivated while you’re resting in front of the tube, try tying exercise tubing around your staircase and when you pass it, do a set of triceps extensions, bicep curls, rows or leg lifts. Try getting at least 2-3 sets of each exercise in before you hit the sheets.
- A few more 2-3 minute strength-training ideas. When you’re doing dishes, why not do a couple of squats? At work and before lunch, walk up and down a couple of sets of stairs (if you have them).
- Use your down time wisely. Next Saturday, plan a hike with your family or friends, or go alone! Pack your backpack to the hilt so you can add a couple of extra pounds to step up your game. Make sure you have some high-quality fuel to keep up your energy with a healthy lunch and snacks.
It’d be great to get that full hour, 3 times a week but it’s just not possible for some people. As long as you’re doing something when you can, you’re improving your health. Hopefully the above suggestions will help the time-crunched folks out there.
That takes care of the physical fitness aspect but as we all know, nutrition is just as important to getting healthier and stronger.
Fitting Healthy Eating In
Organize and prepare some healthy snacks. This way you’re not grabbing unhealthy options when you’re hungry and you can keep your metabolism up. And you’ll keep your body from going into starvation mode, which stores fat.
- Healthy snacks that last are a combo of protein and good carbs. Even the healthiest carbohydrates burn in your system more quickly than protein. By adding protein, you’ll feel fuller longer.
- Plan & prepare your meals ahead of time. I like to do this over the weekend. On Friday, I take 15 minutes to scan my healthy recipe books for a couple of meal ideas. Then I write out a grocery list, filling in the rest of the meals with easy options, like tuna salad sandwiches and carrots. Saturday is shopping day. Sunday is when I make 1 or 2 of the bigger meals, doubling the recipes when I can so I can freeze them to conveniently grab during the week.
- Bake healthy, high fiber treats. Ah, it’s so easy to buy that cheap chocolate bar when you’ve got the munchies, isn’t it? One way to stop this is to use your Sunday prep day to make a batch of healthier treats to freeze and have handy when you’re hungry. Here’s a recipe for my healthy carrot love muffins and Hannah Keeley’s black bean brownies (which taste BETTER than traditional brownies, if you ask me).
Stay tuned for more fitness posts like this one next week when we find out about a new type of workout people are raving about, CrossFit. And in a few week’s time, “Top 15 Functional Exercises.”
Do you have any tips in fitting fitness and healthy eating into a busy lifestyle?