So often I hear from friends, family, patients;
“I just don’t have time to exercise.”
It’s true, whatever your situation, it’s very easy to fill every minute of everyday with things other than exercise. I get it - working fulltime, looking after a family, maintaining some semblance of a social life (online one included ;-) ) - all can leach every “spare minute” we have, bumping exercise and health further and further out of the picture. As a Queen of procrastination and long-serving master of avoidance – trust me – I’ve been there! Really it boils down to priorities, will power, and an all too common willingness to accept plausible excuses (especially when they soften the guilt). Sound a little painfully true? Today however, that doesn’t really matter. Whether you’re not ready to commit time to working out, or you’re already a fully-fledged gym-nut, here are some simple ways to make your hectic days healthier, without the change of schedule!
1) STEP TO HEALTH
Many moons ago I saw the fantastic James Chestnut speak at a conference, where he raised a concept that has stuck with me ever since. Are you ready for it?
Always take the stairs.
BOOM! I bet that blew you away too eh? Although I jest, this simple rule truly can be a game changer. There is not an escalator/stair situation that doesn't remind me of his words and push me (guilt me) up the stairs, but always with a gratifying smugness of "yeah check me being a healthy bunny and taking the stairs!"
2) STart StorKING
Less about creepy law-breaking, more about core stability and balance.
Brush your teeth in the morning standing on one leg and do the same on the other in the evening.
This is something Graham saw written in the makeshift gym of his Afghan checkpoint and we’ve been doing it ever since (yes – we do look totally ridiculous). Great for improving feedback systems from the foot to the brain to stabilize the ankle; recruiting the gluteus medius muscles (yep, that’s in your buttocks); engage the abdominals; all improving your overall balance, strength and stability. Mad but totally worth it.
3) Wobble to work and back again
Always stand on the bus or train.
This can be a real challenge to our balance, which means constant recruitment of key core stabilizers. I know you’re probably tired and ready to collapse but, if you’ve been sat down all day at work, its time to wake up those muscles! Posture is important here – if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right, so stand up straight, shoulders back and down, head up, weight equal in your feet and ENGAGE THAT CORE! Those not used to standing for long periods will initially find this really tiring and hard work. Trust me, it gets easier, your body adjusts and strengthens and you’ll be healthier for it!
4) Easy peasy lemon squeezy
Those who know me know that I am a little bit obsessed with this one…
Drink warm lemon water in the morning.
Seriously folks – it is the Daddio of ‘good morning’ drinks. Simply a slice or two of fresh lemon, squeezed and thrown into freshly boiled water. I store the remaining lemon in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.
The reported health benefits of warm lemon water are vast. A cup first thing in the morning aids the digestive system, flushes out toxins and waste products, battles constipation and diarrhoea, all promoting smooth bowel function. It is a rich source of nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, pectin fiber (your colon will especially LOVE this), with traces of iron and vitamin A. With soooo many goodies it’s unsurprising that it’s used commonly for its therapeutic and antibacterial properties that aid your immune system, balance the pH levels of your body and serve as an anti-inflammatory with pain relieving effects.
Lemon water is particularly beneficial to the bowel, liver, brain and eyes and for my vanity’s sanity it also promotes beautiful skin, reduces wrinkle formation, acne and it even paves way for losing weight faster! Lemon water – oh how I love thee!
5) GO THE DISTANCE
This one’s pretty simples…
- Park in the bay furthest away from the entrance to the supermarket / station / cinema / work etc. as you can to give yourself a few more paces to get there.
- At work, set a timer for every 30 minutes to walk to the water fountain. Choose one slightly further away if possible. Exercise, hydration and a break from the desk – what a combo!
- Don’t drive to shop around the corner – WALK!
- Instead of asking someone to pass you something, get off your lazy bee-hind and go get it yourself! (#Guilty!)
Every extra step you take means extra calories burned, extra muscle fibre activations, extra mobility through your joints. Quite simply every extra step is a step closer towards health.
So just do it, and permit yourself a pat on the back when you do make that healthy choice. It may seem trivial and small but cumulatively these small changes can make a whopping difference!
So there you go folks, 5 simple ways to a healthier day without the commitment of time to workout! Onwards and upwards people!