Some of us don’t have the luxury of time to put into certain extracurricular activities. However, keeping healthy should be on the top of everyone’s list. It doesn’t matter what kind of a schedule you keep, it’s literally a matter of life and death. Sure, you probably won’t drop dead today from being obese. But it does take its toll on your body while shortening your lifespan. So, what can you do to extend your life when time isn’t on your side?
Ways to Avoid Schedule Conflicts for Health
There is so much to do in a single day that many things wind up having scheduling conflicts. The truth is, a lot of things we think need to be done pale in comparison when considering health. While some things do need to have a priority, such as working and paying the bills, not everything does.
Here are a few things I have put effort into for better health.
1. Identify Time Sinks
A time sink is something that essentially drains your day for very little gain. For example, binge watching on Netflix or YouTube are considered time sinks. I know I wind up wasting a great deal of time with the whole mindset of, “just one more episode.” Before you know, it’s 2am and you need to be up and working by six.
Thanks to technology, many of us watch TV with access to online and streaming content. This means there is more access to shows that everyone needs to watch! Not really, but too many people still sit on the couch and enjoy a good afternoon on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.
A lot of us have things going on throughout the day that take time away from activities to promote health. For instance, I could walk to the store and back in the time it takes to watch an episode of Supernatural. In this case, it’s entertainment versus 400 to 500 calories burnt walking in the sun while getting some vitamin D.
Do I want to laugh or survive a cardiac event?
I’m not saying that you should give up all of your fun activities. On days I walk for 45 minutes, I still enjoy watching something on Netflix or playing a computer game. Maybe just cut out some of the more excessive time sinks throughout the day. Try to schedule fun time and fitness time.
2. Combine Activities
Sometimes you can combine activities to satisfy two needs at once. This is actually quite easy if you have a bit of imagination and a little bit of skill with multitasking. In fact, there are several ways you can get more out of fitness and exercise without sacrificing fun activities.
One thing I was starting to get into the habit of doing was watching an episode of something on Netflix while I was working out. To this day, I’ll still do resistance band bicep curls and incline push-ups while watching movies on my computer. If you really want to watch something, working out during the show isn’t a bad way to spend your time.
I am a big fan of gaming. As a result, I am a huge supporter of anything related to the Xbox Kinect. My system helped me lose 20 pounds simply by playing Tennis for 30 minutes a day. I’m also partial to Kung Fu Panda and Avengers: Battle for Earth. The point is you can still get some gaming time in while improving your cardio.
Here’s something that may seem a bit silly. Dance while you’re cooking dinner. Lately, I’ve increased my calorie burn just by doing a bit of dancing around while whipping up meals. I’m not saying you need to go into a full-on break dance routine, but doing a little shimmy while on your feet for 10 to 15 minutes actually increases your cardio.
The point is there are many ways you can combine two or more activities into one to promote health. As long as you do so safely and with a bit of common sense, you can vastly improve your level of fitness.
I mean, you don’t want to dance around in the kitchen while holding a knife or carrying around a 450 degree pot from the oven.
3. Prepare Meals in Advance
Preparing meals in advance is a great way to schedule your day. Personally, I’ll cook large amounts of food and portion everything out. This way, I have my next three or four meals ready to go. Thirty-five seconds in the microwave and, BAM, kung pao chicken and veggie fried rice.
Once I get into my own place, I plan on cutting up onions and peppers to freeze for later. In fact, you can cook all of your meat for a week and deep freeze them. Not only does this give you the means to eat healthier throughout the week, but it saves a great deal of time.
To be honest, I tend to enjoy home-cooked foods far more than drive-through windows even if they are microwaved leftovers. I’m telling you…kung pao chicken from Trader Joe’s.
4. Get Into a Routine
Getting in to a regular routine can be a bit of a pain in the ass, sometimes. But once you train yourself to do a certain task as a habit, you don’t even realize you’re doing it later on. One thing I got myself in the habit of doing is drinking a cup of water every time I got a cup of coffee.
Once you can get into a good schedule with a routine, everything seems to fall into place. The day becomes less haphazard and everything seems to move much more fluid. The hardest part is forcing yourself to get into those beneficial routines.
For instance, I am working on getting myself up at 6am every morning to exercise before starting my day. Although lately I’ve had severe issues with insomnia, the schedule was working great. I think my problem as of late is more stress related than anything. But anyway, it’s all about maintaining a routine to create a habit.
And these habits work great for a schedule.
5. Value Yourself as Much as Your Job
Not everyone holds themselves in as high of regard as their careers. Work comes first before everything else. If you think about it, your body should come first before anything – even family. I know, it might sound selfish. Here’s a few of my points, though:
- You’ll be sick less throughout the year.
When you’re sick, work suffers as well as your ability to care for those around you.
- You’ll live longer.
Living longer is a bonus to both your employer and your family both financially and mentally.
- You’ll have more focus and mental awareness.
Studies show that fitness enhances brain power. Both work and personal life could benefit from that.
The reality is your ability to maintain yourself influences how you maintain everything else. I’m not saying that overweight or unhealthy people make bad parents or bad decisions. But think of what you could accomplish if you were healthier.
If you think you’re good now, you could be even more amazing.
Personally, I’ve seen incredible leaps and bounds when it comes to my work. It seems the days I exercise or go for walks are days that I am the most productive while having the feeling of being unstoppable. It’s a nice feeling, really.
6. Take a Few Minutes Several Times a Day
Too many people have this mindset that a good exercise routine means you need to work out for 45 minutes to an hour. Well, that is unless you’re on a Bowflex. The company claims it could take less than 15. But what if you don’t even have 15 minutes straight for workouts? That’s not including showering and cleaning up the sweat.
It only takes a few minutes to elevate the heart enough to where it impacts your cardiovascular system as well as calorie burn. When I am short on time, I do a rigorous five-minute activity that heats up my body. You do this several times throughout the day, and you’ll begin to feel the difference before too long.
Now, you’ll get far more of a workout the longer you sustain the activity. You’ll burn more calories in an intense 30 minute routine than you will if you did eight sets at five minutes each. Even though you’re technically working out for 40 minutes instead of 30, it’s all about sustaining a higher pulse rate.
The point of this method is to get on your feet throughout the day even if it’s for a few quick jumping jacks. Anything beyond your normal lifestyle is going to be beneficial for your health. Like the saying goes, “It’s better than nothing.”
Extending Your Life
Don’t get into the mindset that you’ll work on your health later. In reality, your time could be up tomorrow simply because you didn’t put in the effort to get more out of a healthy body. If it wasn’t for increasing my walks over the past few months, I have no doubts I would have had a heart attack by now. Don’t change because someone wants you to look like an underwear model. Do it because you don’t want to die.