When you’re running on a tight schedule every day, healthy habits can seem out of reach. Fortunately, you don’t need to bend over backward to make a few healthy changes. In fact, there are a few strategies you can use to improve your health that only take a few minutes. Here are five realistic ways you can squeeze healthier habits into a really busy schedule.
Drink water first thing in the morning
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your health. But you’d be surprised by just how many people don’t drink enough water. In fact, a survey of 3,003 Americans found that up to 75% of people in the U.S. are chronically dehydrated. Despite this, the morning routine of the average American uses up to 20 gallons of water. To make sure you’re getting the water you need, set an 8oz cup by your bathroom sink. This way, you can make sure you’re hydrating first thing in the morning because it’ll become a part of your daily routine.
Bring a reusable water bottle with you
Once you’ve had your 8oz of water in the morning, you can get in the rest of your recommended water intake throughout the day by keeping a water bottle on you at all times. If you’re not a fan of carrying a reusable water bottle around with you, consider keeping multiples on hand: one for the office, one for the car, and one for home. You can decorate your reusable water bottle with PVC patches, which are waterproof and offer incredible color, to personalize them, too.
Incorporate fitness into your current routine
Speaking of routines, it can be challenging to set up an entire physical fitness routine throughout the week and stick to it. Even though adults who do more than seven hours of physical activity in a week have a longer life expectancy, it’s not always easy to find the time. If you have trouble an hour of physical activity into your calendar every other day, consider incorporating brief moments of exercise instead. For instance, if you live a short distance away from your workplace, you may jog to or from work. Take squat and lunge breaks after long periods of sitting at the computer. Consider even leaving a set of extra barbels at your desk. Fitness is beneficial no matter how you fit it into your day.
Add more veggies to your meals
If you know that you don’t have time to cut up vegetables and make your meals look pretty, don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, opt for vegetables that you can easily grab and throw into a dish or smoothie. For instance, spinach leaves can be incorporated into almost anything: smoothies, soups, stews, dips, pasta dishes, etc. While you don’t need to put vegetables into everything, you can definitely get more vitamins and nutrients by incorporating them into more of your meals.
Use protein to your advantage
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re looking to get healthy is that they turn to eating salads and cutting back on calories to lose weight. However, if you’re only eating lettuce on your lunch break, you can quickly expect to get hungry again in no time. What’s more, because you’re cutting calories, you’re actually telling your body that there’s not enough resources for you to indulge yourself. That means your body will hold onto the fat it has in storage and won’t build up any muscle because you’re putting it into “survival mode.” Instead of cutting calories, replace them with high-protein meals that are good for you. Not only will protein keep you fuller longer but it also gives your body the power to build more muscle in its free time.
It can be challenging to develop healthy habits when you’re running around all the time. But the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to book wellness time into your schedule to make your daily routine a little healthier. By following the tips above, you can squeeze some healthy routines into your busy lifestyle.
For more ideas, read Kelly’s guide, “A Guide to Living Healthy & Fit on a Budget.”