It’s easy to get overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities and start to give up on good habits and pick up some bad ones. Trying to balance work, family, a social life, time for yourself and more isn’t always a walk in the park. It can be easy to get caught up in the stress of life and forget about the simple things that affect our bodies and our minds! Here are some pointers for how to keep healthy exercise and eating habits to maintain a busy, but productive lifestyle.
There’s a laundry list of reasons how exercise benefits someone physically, but what most people don’t realize is the advantages that exercise has on the mind. Research shows that people that exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing and experience lower rates of mental illness compared to people who don’t exercise.
Here are some benefits of adopting healthy exercise habits:
- Regular exercise helps you sleep better, and quality sleep affects productivity and mood. Good sleep = Better performance in the workplace.
- Exercise can improve your sense of control, coping ability and self-esteem. Being able to achieve a goal, in this case exercise, can be attributed to these feelings.
- After a stressful day at work, exercise is a perfect outlet to let off steam and clear the mind.
- Exercise loosens the tension in your bones which can help you feel more relaxed.
The term exercise can mean something different to everyone. A college athletes’ version of exercise is probably much different than a 50-year-old adults’ version. The most important aspect for both ends of the spectrum is intentionality. Not having enough time is a default excuse we all are guilty of having, so here are some practical ways to intentionally squeeze in exercise throughout your day:
- Wake up an hour earlier to go for a walk or a run.
- Take the stairs up to your office instead of the elevator.
- Instead of scrolling social media on your break, walk around the parking lot outside.
- If your job requires you to be on the phone often, walk around the office while talking.
- If you have a desk job, it’s important for your mental and physical health to get up several times during your day to move around.
Healthy eating habits are essential for the workplace. You need the right fuel for your brain to keep you focused throughout the day. When you are having to make important decisions, being mentally and physically sharp is vital.
Here are some tips for creating healthy eating habits:
- I know you’ve heard it a million times, but breakfast is SO important. If you’re in a rush to get out the door, grab something simple that is going to give you steady energy. EXAMPLES: Banana and peanut butter, overnight oats, granola bar, an egg with toast, yogurt with granola.
- It’s important that your breakfast contains little sugar. Occasionally a donut or cinnamon roll is irresistible but having a sugary breakfast can cause fatigue and drowsiness. Simple sugars are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and our bodies go into a state of fatigue. This lowers productivity and makes us feel lazy.
- Being educated on how different types of foods effect your body is essential. Research shows that fatty foods lower cognitive performance, so if you choose to eat a fatty meal for lunch, it can negatively affect the rest of the workday. If you choose to eat a meal high in carbs or sugar, expect to have a boost of energy and then a crash.
With a busy schedule and lack of money growing on trees, it can be difficult to eat 3 healthy meals every day. Let’s be realistic, you’re not going to wake up an hour earlier to make a gourmet healthy breakfast. Good news is you don’t have to. Eating healthier is simpler than you might think. Here are some practical tips:
- I know it sounds cliché but eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day is proven to enhance physical and mental performance. They contain nutrients that aid in the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps the body with enhancing mood, motivation, and engagement.
- Some foods that provide steady energy are whole grains, seeds, nuts, fish, healthy fats, and oils.
- Try shopping on the outside of the grocery store. Stay away from the processed snacks and premade meals. Stick to the fresh meats and fruits and veggies.
- Cut back on sugar and carbs. Too much sugar and too many carbs can contribute to grogginess, try to eat them in moderation.
- Food is fuel, but it’s more about the RIGHT food. Feed yourself clean ingredients. Find creative substitutions for unhealthy foods.
Make a Plan:
For any of this to be practical, you must be intentional. No plan means no accountability, no accountability means nothing will get done. Research shows that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. Writing out a plan of action will increase your chances of following through with creating healthier habits.
- Plan the time of day you will exercise and put it in your calendar as a reminder.
- Plan out your workouts. Write down exactly what you will do from stretches, to times, and speeds you want to hit.
- Invest in a fitness watch to set an exercise goal each day. It can also give you reminders to stand up and walk around.
- Make your eating plans before you get hungry.
- Before you go to the store, make a list of the healthy meals and snacks you want. Try not to get anything that’s not on the list.
- Never go to the store hungry. You will be tempted to buy what looks good in the moment.
Don’t wait to start molding these habits into your daily routine. Prioritizing your body and mind is something you can start right now. These healthy exercise and eating habits have valuable effects that are both short and long term. You can start today and reap the benefits immediately, and as you continue to hold these habits your long-term health is also being supported. Grab a friend or coworker to join for accountability! Your journey to healthier habits starts now!