Here are eight things you can do starting TODAY to improve your physical well being.
The average person spends more than half of their waking hours sitting in a chair. Exercising, even up to an hour a day, does not undo the negative health effects of sitting. The American Council on Exercise suggests taking breaks to stand or stretch every 30 to 60 minutes. A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found for every hour spent sitting down and watching TV after age 25, your life expectancy is reduced by 21.8 minutes. If you must binge watch your favorite show, make it a rule to watch only when you are walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical or on a stationary bike.
Squeeze in Exercise Where You Can
Park far away from the door and take the steps instead of the elevator. These are easy ways to get in more steps, use core muscles and burn more calories. When you’re watching TV, designate commercials as a time to get up and move around – clean, sweep, do laundry or if you’re really motivated, get in a few minutes of squats, push-ups or jumping jacks. This will help add to your total minutes of exercise each day.
According to scientists from Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Coffee Studies, coffee has antioxidant-like properties. Antioxidants are good for your heart health and can also help lower your risk of infection. The caffeine in coffee can also help you train longer and harder. But be careful not to overdue it – the FDA recommends health adults limit their coffee intake to 400 mg per day (4-5 cups of coffee). Cut back on cream and sugar, which racks up calories quickly, by gradually decreasing how much you add, until you can eventually drink it without the sweet add in’s.
Make Your Tea Green
Not a coffee drinker? Tea is also a healthy beverage as it contains health-promoting substances which research suggests have antioxidant-like properties as well. In addition to boosting antioxidant intake, green tea is an excellent way to hydrate! Beware of the pre-sweetened teas, which are very high in sugar.
Drink More Water
Most people do not drink the daily recommended amount of water each day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. adults drink an average of 39 oz. of water a day, compared to the recommended 64 oz. of water a day (which is equivalent to eight 8-oz. glasses of water). Other drinks such as coffee, tea, juice, milk or other liquids do not count towards this recommendation. Dehydration can cause irritability, fatigue and can trick our bodies into thinking we are hungry, causing us to reach for unhealthy snacks. Keep yourself hydrated by always carrying a water bottle with you.
Time Your Pre- and Post-Workout Food Right
Eating the right foods at the right time before and after a workout is very important. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says you should eat 1-3 hours before your workout so your stomach and muscles don’t compete for energy. Registered dietitian Amy Gorin recommends eating a small snack of carbs and protein an hour before your workout. Some examples are a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread, Greek yogurt with fresh berries, an apple with a little almond or peanut butter, or a small handful of nuts and raisins.
Plan Your Meals
When we are rushed, tired or stressed, it’s a lot easier to stop at the drive through or order a pizza rather than cook a healthy meal. Combat over-eating junk food by planning out your meals and snacks for the week. Plan a day (Sunday’s work well) to chop fresh veggies and fruit, cook and portion out healthy meals for the week. Use a smaller plate, which has been shown to reduce total caloric consumption.
Get More Zzzz’s
The best place to start for making healthier choices is a good night’s sleep. Getting adequate sleep impacts everything from your mood, productivity and mental clarity, and can assist in your ability to lose weight, ward off sickness, and have the energy to fit in your workout. Aim for eight hours if you can.
We Can Help
The VITAL WorkLife Wheel of Well Being is a tool used to evaluate distinct areas of life and build well being through work/life balance. Your Physical Well Being is one dimension contributing to your holistic health. Try incorporating one new tip from above every single day – your physical well being will be better because of it! Connect with us through either you VITAL WorkLife App or by calling 800.383.1908.