Leading an active lifestyle is a dream for many who find themselves stuck in their workplaces, unable to find time for exercise. Too often, what begins as a resolution to make time ends without any results. But in your busy schedule, is it really that difficult to squeeze out 30 minutes a day for your body? It is, after all, crucial to your overall health and development. Exercise boosts the heart rate and blood circulation and increases concentration, and an active lifestyle that includes a good diet and sufficient exercise can help you achieve more productivity too. But how do you turn your sedentary lifestyle into an active one? It’s all about the small changes you make. For example:
Take the stairs!
Can’t find time for the gym? No worries. The stairs that you readily ignore in favor of the comfort of an escalator or an elevator are your new best friend. Start taking the stairs everywhere you go. Be it the workplace, on your way to the movies, at the mall. Lack of motivation, other health issues or plain laziness might initially get in your way. Take your time with this change and take it slow. You need not go all five floors to your workplace right off the bat.
Find excuses to walk.
Walking is the best form of exercise one can get when faced with a genuine lack of time. It can be paced according to how much exercise you want and can be made even easier by inviting a friend along. At work, instead of crowding your desk with scraps of paper, walk to the nearest dustbin and throw it. Lunch breaks are an excellent time to get some fresh air and walk for 15 – 30 minutes. Just walking for 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference. If you have a dog, you have the perfect new incentive. If you have a friend who takes his/her dog out for a walk, accompany them.
Do your chores.
Many people shy away from doing housework and prefer to hire a maid service to do it for them. But doing daily chores can help burn up so many calories. Washing the car, helping with gardening or even cooking will get you moving around and your blood flowing. Add a little fun to your chores by putting on some music and dancing while doing the dishes or washing clothes. It will make the boring tasks fun and is more active than watching the television.
Go on an adventure weekend.
Another way to make your weekends active and fun instead of lazing around the house watching TV, is to add adventure. Set at least one weekend aside every month to go on an adventure getaway. This could be a bike ride, nature hike or a trek in the mountains. Natural forest reserves serve as great locations for an adventure because of their clearly-marked trails. It is also much more cost-effective than approaching an agency for an adventure tour. However, if you prefer the latter and are willing to spend the money, then why not? There are weekend adventure tours available for every kind of traveler, ranging from serious challenges to light, playful experiences.
Make a list.
Start consciously making a note of the activities you do and make a list. If you find that the majority of your day is spent sitting, then make another “activity” list and try to change at least 3 of the things on the previous list to something that helps you move more. Progressively find ways to make your day more active by changing more things on the list. You could even try bringing about a change in your routine with a friend and make it a competition of sorts: the one who is able to accomplish more activities on the “activity” list gets rewarded.
Eat fruit for your snack.
An active lifestyle isn’t just about exercising; it’s also about eating right. No amount of exercise can make you healthy, if you aren’t eating healthily. One quick way to increase the nutritional content of your meals is to add fruit. Fruit salads, in your breakfast cereal, as a side dish at dinner, you can incorporate your fruit at any time of day. Fruits are also great for in-between meal cravings where you might be tempted to grab a doughnut: opt for a whole fruit or pack some fruit salad instead.
Shop for healthier substitutes.
There are plenty of food substitutes for almost everything you eat that offer more nutrition or less sugar, salt, fat, etc. When trying to decide what food item in your house needs to be substituted with something healthier, go for the food items you consume every day. Pick out 5 foods you consume every day in some way or the other and make a note of their nutritional content. Next time you’re at the supermarket, look for healthier substitutes for these food items. For example, if you eat a lot of potato chips, you might substitute them for baked chips. If you drink a lot of soda, you can pick up some fruit juice (remember to check the labels!)
These small changes can bring about a major difference when it comes to making your lifestyle healthier and more active.