We’ve all been there—those busy times of year. You’ve got holidays, birthdays, planned vacations, kids’ sports games and tournaments, overtime at the office, fewer hours of sleep, which means that working out and healthy meals are usually the last thing on your mind. Guilt ensues and it overwhelms you. So, what can you do?
Let’s think about it for a second, you do need to find a way to incorporate movement a little bit every day. (Remember a walk counts as exercise!) It’s for your health and your sanity, especially during stressful times.
1) Exercise doesn’t have to mean 90 straight minutes of cardio, strength training, and abs work at the gym. Exercise doesn’t have to mean being drenched in sweat (though it is a lovely feeling). There are 24 hours in a day, and once you subtract 8 hours for sleep, you’re left with 16 hours that you can get some movement in there. So if you can’t get to the gym, try adding some of these exercises throughout the day.
- Do 30 squats right after you wake up.
- Do a set of 12 pushups against the counter while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or your bread to toast.
- Go up and down the stairs 10 times before you leave for work.
- Set an alarm on your office computer for every 45-60 minutes and walk around or up and down the stairs for 5 minutes and grab some water.
- Stretch a few times.
- Take a walk at lunch.
- Do a set of jumping jacks, lunges, and a plank hold while you’re cooking dinner.
- Take a walk or go for a bike ride after dinner.
This method isn’t the way to lose 1-2 pounds a week, but it keeps you active, and during a busy week, it’s enough to keep your stress and gym-guilt levels in check, and your mind sane.
2) Your health is about more than just the size of your waistline. Being healthy is about a long-term lifestyle, not the image in the mirror or the number on the scale. You need to eat healthy, sleep well, stay active, and find happiness in life in order to be a healthy, fit person. Muscles and six-pack abs are difficult to achieve—don’t let anyone fool you—and they are not the definition of being healthy and fit. Staying active is about keeping yourself healthy by being able to walk, lift what you need to, bend over without pain, climb up stairs without being winded, and being strong enough to take care of yourself.
3) Very few things are either all “good” or “bad,” and the words themselves will only hurt your self-esteem and mess with your mind. If you’re hungry for lasagna, make a healthier version and portion a small piece for yourself and freeze the rest for when another craving hits.
Health and fitness is much more than hours spent sweating at the gym and much more than looking ripped, cut, sexy, or whatever you think you want to look like.
Remember that your health and fitness is about doing little things every day to better yourself.
It’s about a lifestyle.
It’s about enjoying food, but not going overboard.
It’s about doing something active every day, even if it’s broken up into 10 increments.
And it’s about remembering that your health—your life—is so much more than muscles and pants sizes; it’s about healthy and fit enough to enjoy what you’ve been given and having respect for yourself.