Committing to keeping yourself fit and healthy can be easier said than done. Your time and energy are channeled into so many different things: earning a living, being a good partner, spending time with your family, home maintenance, caring for relatives. The list is endless.
Here, some of our favorite bloggers share their healthy lifestyle tips to help you look after your mind, body and soul every day – no matter how busy you are.
The benefits of regular exercise extend far beyond weight management. It decreases your risk of cancer and stroke, improves your cardiovascular health and can even stave off things like depression and dementia. Knowing the benefits, do you still struggle to commit to an exercise regime? Part of the problem could be that you’re focused on your appearance rather than quality of life. Make enjoyment of exercise your goal, and find an activity that you get a buzz from.
If you like to work out in a gym, you don’t have to spend hours and hours on a treadmill to get fit. Jason Kyle, the brains behind Train Like an Athlete advises his clients to “train smarter, not harder”. What does this mean? With some sensible advice you can unlock a wealth of health benefits by training just twice a week. As Head Coach for the Vancouver Zone in 2016 & 2018 BC Summer Games, he knows what he’s talking about!
Jordan Bates of Refine the Mind agrees that regularly taking part in activities that you enjoy is the key. He recommends that people find a “trigger” to help make exercise a routine habit: “A trigger is simply something that happens right before you perform a habit. For example, showering might be a trigger for brushing your teeth…” And don’t forget to change it up and keep it interesting, continues Jordan:
“It’s better for your body (and more fun) to do a whole mixture of things. Jog one day. Rock climb one day. Do yoga the next. Play soccer the next. Dance wildly for 30 minutes the day after that. You get the idea. Diversify your environment too. Go to the gym, the park, the woods. Take a run with no set route.”
If time is your main enemy, Tony, the motivating force behind TonyRobbins.com says that multi-tasking is the way to go:
“Some people love to read. They love reading so much that they’ll make a slot to get at least an hour’s worth of pages read every day. Does that take an hour away from exercise? No! You can read while you cycle or jog on a machine, and in fact that’s what a lot of people do.”
Two birds, one stone. We like it!
A little overweight? Exercise is important, but unless you back it up with healthy eating you’re unlikely to see much improvement. Kevin Curry, the inspirational voice behind Fit Men Cook admitted that his own website was born out of this very misconception: “I did what most people try to do – I started exercising to try to ‘out-train’ a poor diet.” He quickly came to realise that unless he changed what he ate, he wasn’t going to lose weight.
One of Kevin’s top tips is to eat regularly, but from a smaller plate. And, he says:
“Don’t try to skip meals in hopes of losing weight. Starving your body will ultimately lead to overeating and even unhealthy food choices. I’ve personally found that eating often, about every 3 hours, helps me with my performance and focus, as well as helps me maintain high energy.”
We all know that we should make the time to eat better. But how do you achieve this when you’re busy? First of all, remember that it doesn’t need to happen overnight. Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness suggests you “make small, permanent changes that you can live with until they become a habit, and then pick another small change to tackle. Don’t feel guilty about a bad meal or an unhealthy weekend. Pick right back up where you left off as soon as you can, and continue living your life.”
Dr Anthony Balduzzi of the Fit Father Project has helped over 35,000 fathers lose fat, build muscle, & get healthy for their families. He’s a big fan of planning ahead, especially for men who travel a lot: “Guys who fail to pre-pack healthy snacks often find themselves skipping meals, starving during the day, and over-eating on thousands of calories later [on].” So what snacks does Dr Balduzzi recommend? “Great options are nuts, low-sugar protein bars, fruits/veggies, and dried jerky.”
The best way to help yourself eat better is to learn to cook quick healthy food. Remember, says Steve of Nerd Fitness:
“…you’re not depriving yourself of junk food because you want to suffer, but rather because you want a better life, a happier existence, and/or because you want to set a good example for your children.”
Enjoy your family
Being a dad often involves putting the needs of others first, but that doesn’t have to mean neglecting your own. In fact, having kids is often the best catalyst for trying to live a healthier lifestyle – you want to be around for them for as long as possible.
Playing with your kids is the best alternative workout you can get – good for both the body and soul. Ashley Taylor of The Dad Website is a big fan: “Have a touch football game in the backyard, throw a flying disc, or put together an outdoor obstacle course. Make the activities fun as well as invigorating. This is a great way to enjoy a little togetherness while getting in shape.”
Julia Polloreno of ironman has lots of ideas for getting active as a family and setting a good example for your kids. She suggests riding bikes or scooters to school with little ones, or signing everyone up for a fun run:
“Putting a race on the family calendar will give you a tangible goal to target. Schedule family training runs and invite other families to join in the fun. The finish line group shot – with sweaty, smiling faces and medals draped proudly around your necks – will be your new favorite family photo!”
Learn how to switch off
Have you heard of a news fast? The team at The Gents Blog reckons that occasionally switching off is good for our mental health:
“A news fast…gives you a window to pursue alternatives. Remember that it’s always good to replace something you’re giving up with something else, rather than just leaving a vacuum. Once you’ve resolved to make a news fast and have set a date for when it will begin, make a list of all the things you would want to do instead… Maybe it’s time with your children, or reading, or meditation.“
If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change for the better, Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness hits the nail on the head:
“Now, possibly more important than both fitness and diet when it comes to getting in shape is your mental attitude. We all have lives, jobs, families, pets, friends, and more that can keep us from getting in shape. Rather than use those things as excuses or shirk your other duties to get in shape, instead why not find a way to incorporate your changes into your daily life?”
We hope we’ve inspired you to find new ways to improve your health and fitness. Even something as small as taking the stairs rather than the elevator, and switching to homemade sandwiches rather than the mayo-laden deli varieties is a positive start. Tell us how you’re staying healthy this year – leave a comment below.