5 Realistic Ways To Stay Active & Healthy, Even When Life Feels “Too Busy”

Time to Plan

Time to Plan

It’s not about being ‘perfect’, it’s just about being ‘prepared’.

Nearly every patient I see tells me they want to be more fit, or they are out of shape, or if they were more active they probably wouldn’t be injured.

They all agreed that they knew they needed to exercise, sleep more, and eat healthier – but knowing and actually doing, are two different things.

So it got me thinking about the real reason why it can be so difficult to keep active and healthy, and these are the three things that always come up in conversation:

1. People are too busy, either because they work full time, have kids to tend to … Or have Grandchildren to look after as well as keeping on top of the daily chores and to do lists.

2. They plan to make healthy decisions, but when the time comes, they feel too tired to cook, exercise, and can’t resist the temptation of reaching for the chocolate or the chips.

3. In social situations and with family, people feel the pressure to eat like everyone else and join in.

I know finding the time to keep active and stay on board with being healthy can be hard. Life isn’t always so predictable, and it’s easy to let things spiral out of control when it feels like you’ve got a million things to do – it happens to all of us!

But here’s the bright side – it’s actually a lot easier than it seems to incorporate healthy habits when you’re on the go and when life feels busy.

It’s not about being ‘perfect’, it’s just about being ‘prepared’.

So here’s 5 simple things you can do, to stay in shape even if you feel like you haven’t got the time…

1. Make Water Taste Better

A lot of people find drinking water ‘boring’… And sometimes I do too!

But drinking enough water not only quenches my thirst, but also prevents me from feeling hungry when I’ve already eaten, helps keep me feeling awake through the ‘afternoon slump’, and keeps me in a good mood.

I carry around water everywhere I go so I can sip it throughout the day.

I stick some lemon in it overnight to add flavor. It makes it easier to drink and less ‘boring.’

If lemons aren’t your thing, you can add anything you like! Try adding berries, limes, oranges, and cucumbers.

2. Make Sleep A Priority

Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and if they don’t get it, the next day doesn’t always feel so great!

It’s a known fact that when people don’t get enough sleep, their mood drops, they overeat and they’re unproductive.

I know it can be tough. Sometimes you feel like there’s too much to do before you can call it a day and finally rest your head, but when you sacrifice sleep for your routine, that’s when you get caught up in the cycle of under-sleeping, being unproductive, and mood swings kick in.

Making sure you get enough sleep each night (making it a habit), will help things fall into place and keep you feeling alert and energized.

Plus, when you’re in a good sleep routine, the odd late night won’t affect you as much as it does when you’re not getting enough.

3. Fill Up On Veggies

Include a rainbow of vegetables with every meal, and eat as many as you like, prepared any way you like!

Filling your plate full of vegetables will help you get more fiber and more of the good nutrients your body needs to feel great.

You’ll also find when you go out to eat with friends and family in restaurants, there’s usually vegetable based appetizers to choose from before your main meal, if you want to order a starter.

So even when you’re socializing, there’s always a way to stay healthy and on track.

4. Double Up On Dinner!

Whenever you cook your evening meal, double up on it! (cook even more).

Not so you can eat more in that sitting… Cooking more than one serving at a time will mean you’ll have healthy leftovers on hand in the fridge to take to work the next day, or pop in the microwave to heat up during the week.

Tip: Choose times to cook extra meals when you know you’ve got the time, like a relaxing Sunday afternoon, or as soon as you get home from work. Don’t choose a time when you know you won’t feel like doing it, such as a late Saturday night, or when you’ve been running around all day. In fact, the pros often choose Sunday to meal prep for the week! They will cook or prepare their meals for the week so when life happens and things get busy you can have meals partially prepared, veggies pre-cut, or meal even complete and just need re-heating. This will save you time, this will save you money, and this will save you calories.

When you’re prepared, there’s less of a chance of going off track.

5. Walk When You Talk

My rule is no phone calls sitting down. I put my headphones in and walk around for every call I take during the day.

Also, getting up and walking and talking on your feet can lift your mood and energy, which is great for any telephone conversation. Especially when you work from home.

Still think this won’t work for you and you’re worried you don’t have enough time?

Of course you do!

Staying in shape only takes a couple hours a week – and when you can include these simple tips above in your daily routine, you won’t have to change much in your routine, or even put any extra time aside.

Most of the time when people say they ‘don’t have time’, what they really mean is, they don’t have the energy.

But that’s exactly why we make sure to get movement in with our daily activities …and making sleep a priority and cooking enough healthy meals for your week, to keep your energy levels high.

There’s no reason to not make your health a priority, no matter how busy you are. Life can get in the way for all of us.

But being healthy and active is a win-win; it gives you more energy, so that you can be more productive, feel great, and have more time to do the things you enjoy.

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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