The pressures of today’s hectic lifestyles can be overwhelming, and as demands increase, so do stress levels. It’s no wonder physical ailments like ulcers, headaches, chest pains, high blood pressure and decreased sex drive are so prevalent. Anxiety, anger and depression also take a toll on mental health.
Now more than ever, stress-busting exercise needs to be a big part of our lives. But what happens when that 9 to 5 becomes 8 to whenever, and your workout time becomes seriously compromised by increasing work demands?
A busy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an unhealthy one. The goal is to stay focused and committed and to make the best of limited time. Here’s some sensible advice for ultra-busy professionals and those whose job takes them on the road.
THE DESK SET
When not on the road, busy professionals with limited time should try to develop a workout routine that can be done three days a week. A 45-minute regimen that hits all of the major muscle groups is ideal, with no more than a minute between sets. Whether that’s done in a gym or with home equipment is up to you.
Also, try to get in at least fifteen minutes of cardio twice a week. If time’s still an issue, use your ingenuity. Take the stairs rather than the elevator or go for a brisk walk at lunch. And then be sure to take advantage of the weekend to get in the aerobic activity you may miss during the week.
Other office health tips include stretching and drinking plenty of water. If you spend a lot of time at a computer monitor, look away and focus on something distant every hour or so. Another good idea is to have a desk “health drawer” where you can keep vitamins, hand sanitizers and healthy snacks.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
Those who travel for business face a bigger challenge. While most hotels have modest gym facilities, smaller, economy-style hotels are often lacking in that department. That’s when it’s time to reconnect with classic calisthenics and isometric exercises. Push-ups, jumping jacks, ab crunches, standing squats and leg lunges are basic exercises that can be done in your room.
Frequent flyers should also look into purchasing equipment that can be taken on the road. Jump ropes and resistance bands offer short, high intensity workouts and can be easily stored in a suitcase. Do your research to develop a routine that works for you and your schedule.
DINE & DASH
Unfortunately, restaurant food or skipping meals can become the nutritional norm when your life is go-go-go. So spending weekend time preparing healthy foods for the week ahead is important. Having pre-prepared meals for brown bag lunches or home dinners should keep you out of the fast food restaurants. Use the money you save to stock up on staples like yogurt, bran cereal, fruit and nuts.
Those who travel should learn to make the healthiest menu choices when dining out, and to stock your hotel room fridge with cups of yogurt, fruit, nuts, trail mix or other nutritional snacks that offer a healthy diversion to the vending machine.
Staying healthy while on the run can be a challenge. The important thing is to use time effectively and efficiently. Utilize the weekends and holidays by hitting the gym or engaging in whatever outdoor activity strikes your fancy. The key is to do what you can, when you can.