In an age ravaged by stress and rush, fitness has become the need of the hour. Regular physical and mental stimulation keep you balanced and productive, thereby helping you stay ahead of your competitors and live up to your potential.
With growing work pressure and family obligations, it may be increasingly difficult to maintain a fixed workout schedule every day of the week, and the result is compromised fitness. However, staying active and fit on busy days is easier than you may think.
The key is to work out every chance you get, right from the moment you park your car to the time you ditch the cab for a half-an-hour walk to the cafeteria.
Here, we have outlined the top six ways you can make sure to stay fit on busy days.
1. Drink Water
Increasing fluid intake does oodles of good to the body. It flushes out toxins, normalizes the levels of hormones, increases cognitive awareness and replenishes your entire system, thereby promoting physical and mental health simultaneously. (2)
Something as simple as drinking a tall glass of water early in the morning can enhance your bowel movement and make you feel fitter and better than before. Keeping water consumption high during the day diminishes feelings of stress and anxieties, helping you stay alert and focused on work. It also increases your productivity in the gym, allowing you to burn more calories than usual. (3)
What’s more, having water on hand will make you less likely to binge on soda and high-calorie, sugary beverages that we often tend to consume in a bid to feel fresh.
Water will not only keep you hydrated all day but also eliminate the harmful effects that stress can impose on your health. Studies have shown that people who drink around 5-6 liters of water daily are more focused, happier and mentally aware. Sadly, about 50% of individuals are not getting enough water every day, so it’s advisable that you carry a bottle with you everywhere, so you are more likely to drink water when you have it at hand.
In addition to drinking water, drink healthy beverages like green tea to alleviate stress and improve memory and productivity at the work and gym respectively. To find the best green tea brand in the market, you can refer to a lot of useful information in this article.
Yes, we know you get to hear this too often, but admit it, you rarely enforce, right?
You see being tired is normal, but staying tired is the devil that reverses all the good things that physical activity does to your fitness. It makes you stressed and decreases your performance at work and social events. Studies have shown that muscle fatigue contributes to a rise in cortisol, the stress hormone, which has been linked to binge eating. (4)
So you see it’s a vicious cycle- stress leading to food consumption, which in turn leads to more stress and disappointment for failing to meet your fitness goals. One-way to ensure you are getting your due sleep every day is to set a particular bedtime for yourself. It’s always advisable to go to bed at that time, which should preferably be early (before midnight).
Over time, you will observe an improvement in every aspect of your life, right from positive changes in personality and functioning power in the gym, to virility and performance at work. (5)
3. Healthy Eating
According to a recent study, people who travel to work are more likely to eat junk food and be obese than those who travel to work less often. (6)
When you are busy as a bee, your diet will suffer, and it may be difficult to maintain proper meal times and consume only healthy homemade stuff. It’s natural to feel that eating anything that fills the stomach is the norm on workdays but that way you tend to create more problems for yourself.
You see takeaway pizzas and hotdogs may appease your taste buds, but they lack nutritive value and confer a huge load of calories on your system, making you feel gassy, bloated and foggy.
One way to ensure you get the right nutrition is to have a good stock of dry and healthy foods at your disposal, such as tomatoes that are good for your heart, blueberries that maintain cholesterol levels to a normal level, spinach, which improves brain activity, salmon, which promotes weight loss and pumpkin seeds, which enhances your memory, and your ability to retain information.
It’s advisable that you keep a storage box of these fruits in your bag, so you always have them at hand when you are hungry and looking for a snack. This way you will be less likely to reach for calorific stuff and beverages, in order to feel full. (7)
Raw honey is a great example of healthy substances. It has proven benefits in improving athletic performance and giving you the energy rush you need to bring your A-game on track. (8)
4. Try Shorter, More Vigorous Workouts
Contrary to popular belief, scheduling an entire hour for the gym is a bad idea. This is especially true for hectic days.
Experts suggest breaking up the workout period into smaller intervals of time distributed during the day. This facilitates time management, prevents exhaustion and injuries, as well as reduces the likelihood of skipping the physical activity.
Over time, this simple measure goes a long way to improve your fitness levels and keep your weight within the allowed range.
You can do 30 minutes of yoga or cardio in the morning before leaving to work, and then squeeze in some weight training after work in the evening. If you don’t wish to make this your schedule for every day, do keep it aside for those days when sudden obligations or oversleeping has messed up your gymming plans. (9)
It’s impossible to talk about short, intense workouts and not mention supersets. Super-setting is a clever technique to exercise, as it is the best way to ensure you are getting the maximum out of your workout time.
Supersets reduce your exercise time by a whopping 50% because instead of taking rest between two consecutive sets, you do an alternative exercise, which helps the muscles you have just trained to rest while exercising the opposite one. For instance, you work out your stomach right after training your lower back. (10)
5. Sneak Activity in When You Can
If anything that professional life will teach you is that you can’t control your schedule. Every day there will be an obligation or a social engagement that just can’t be missed, and you will end up skipping the gym.
It is okay when this happens; don’t beat yourself up for it. But the problem arises when it happens every day because that’s when your fitness goes for a toss.
Now, there are a couple of ways to ensure you never to miss your physical activity for the day.
Firstly, try going to bed early in the evening, so you get restful sleep and wake up fully recharged for an intense workout session. Sleep in your gym wear if possible.
Secondly, try to squeeze in activity at every hour of the day. For example, park further away from your office so that you get to walk a few extra meters. Ditch the elevator for the stairs. And do some calf raises while waiting in the lunch line. Additionally, don’t forget to do some stretches now and then. While all these won’t help you burn a thousand calories, they will help you feel better about skipping the gym.
Furthermore, try coupling watching TV with strength training. Or, read news pieces on your tablet while treadmilling. A new study has revealed that keeping your brain interested in other tasks while exercising can improve the workout. (11)
6. Exercises at Your Desk
According to a recent survey by the CDC, about 50% of Americans have admitted that they do not engage in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. (12)
So, in other words, about half of U.S citizens don’t get the exercise they need. It’s easy to blame it on hectic schedules and work stress, but the implications that it can have on your health is immense. What’s the solution? Short workouts at the desk!
Here we have elaborated a few:
- Rise from your chair and stand up straight
- Now sit back down and stand up again, while feeling the pressure in your abdomen.
- Repeat the procedure 10 times, or till you feel the burn.
It’s okay if you want to keep this one stationary and do it just at the desk.
- Place one leg before the other.
- Then gradually lower the knee of the leg at the back down towards the ground, as if you are going to propose someone.
- Repeat 10 times for each leg.
3. Shoulder Press
Look around on your desk to find a heavy book or anything that weighs quite a few pounds.
- Hold it firmly at shoulder height.
- Raise it overhead gradually to feel the burn
- Do 10 reps for each set and does each set three times.
4. Pretend Jump Rope
- Hop on both your feet at the same time first, and then alternatively.
- Enhance the intensity by making the same kind of arm movements as you do with a real jumping rope.
- Continue for one or two minutes, and increase the time gradually.
5. Wall Sit
This is an isometric move that trains the muscles of your lower back.
- Start by standing against the wall.
- Now lower your back gradually into a seated position.
- Hold for about 30 seconds each time before returning to normal.
- Repeat the procedure for 10 times.
As you can see, maintaining fitness levels involves proper time management, giving up on junk food, and performing physical activity at every chance you get.
Even ditching soda for green tea and tomato sauce for raw honey can detoxify your system and make you feel fresher in the long run. Believe it or not, these little changes will one day give you the kind of life you have always aspired for.