Let’s get you up and running! 5 health tips for working professionals
The internet generation believes in the hero culture - if you’re not insanely busy, you’re not successful enough. Work-life balance is looked down upon, and jobs that make you work crazy hours (investment banking, ahem ahem) are desperately coveted. If you’re not working 16 hours a day (preferably at a startup you founded), partying till sun-up while traveling the world - you’re really not living your life to the fullest...no? At least that’s what Instagram says.
But this badge of honour comes at a steep price.
Prioritizing your work and living life to the fullest is almost as important, if not more, as keeping your health in check. If you’re young. health does not often figure into our conscious thought - until you hit your mid-twenties, and suddenly you have chronic back pain, or are rapidly gaining weight, or can’t get through your day without a pack of cigarettes.
Okay. Enough doom and gloom. Managing health and work is a balancing act that very few get right. We’re here to help you with that! Here are a few tips (and dare we say, tricks?) to help you ease into a healthier lifestyle without having to compromise on your work:
1. Eat a super-healthy breakfast
Nobody loves mornings - they require the most effort. Getting out of bed is about a thousand times harder than to power through the rest of the day. So while you’re rushing out of your house resembling a homegrown tornado, you forget your breakfast yet again.
But a good breakfast is just what you need to keep your head clear as you begin your stressful day at work! If your body doesn’t have enough energy reserves to keep your brain high-powered, then you’ll feel sluggish as you work. And you won’t be able to get half as much done as you would be when you have a bellyful of healthy nutrients powering you up.
Opt for a healthy breakfast which includes high-fiber foods (like whole grain cereals and bread), protein-rich foods (like nuts and milk), and complex carbohydrates (like fruits and vegetables). Trust me, you wouldn’t want to not be able to work simply because you didn’t eat enough in the morning!
2. Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
You either like working out or you don’t - but that shouldn’t mean that your fitness has to suffer. Ever since the discovery of high-intensity interval training, the understanding of what is required to be fit has completely changed! No longer will you need the long and grueling cardio sessions or the seemingly endless weight training routines: HIIT can save your time, as it can save your life. 20 minutes a day of HIIT can give you a solid workout - while doubly making sure that you don’t have “it takes too long” as an excuse to avoid exercise!
The first few sessions will probably stretch you hard because, as the phrase says, it tends to get really, really intense. However, it’s just a matter of your body getting used to it. No matter what routine you follow, always maintain it over a period of time - soon, your body will get in sync with the workout, and soon you’ll be enjoying it!
3. Hydration is the key!
At least 60 percent of your body is water - so the more of it you consume, the healthier you stay! Drinking water is one of the overlooked activities that are essential for a healthy body. It’s such a simple task that we often forget to include it in our to-do lists, choosing to focus on the more complicated ones.
But water is truly a miracle in many senses! Not only do eight glasses of water ensure that you get an immunity boost, thus keeping the proverbial doctor away - it also helps you remain at the top of your concentration game. In fact, there are several apps that remind you on a regular basis to get your glass of water!
4. Make your TV time productive!
Watching your favorite series is a sure-shot way to de-stress yourself, but did you know that you could do so much more while you’re relaxing? You don’t always need to be on a treadmill to be a healthy person. Instead, you can perform some of the essential exercises even while watching TV.
Things like preliminary stretches, basic cardio (light jogging), or even bodyweight exercises can easily be performed while you’re binging on your favorite show.
You can also consider going to a gym specifically to watch TV, since a lot of gyms these days have dedicated entertainment suites which can be accessed while exercising. So go ahead, don’t feel shy if you’re not overworking yourself to the point of death as you gym - the whole point of it is to relax.
5. Take a vacation.
This point is not likely to be received well by you if you’re a workaholic. The only thing good about vacations is that you can get even more work done, right? WRONG. A quick getaway over the weekend will not only help you function better once you’re back, but it’ll also give you some much-needed alone time. Use this time yo your advantage by introspecting and giving yourself some space. A quick vacation will also clear your mind of any anxieties you might’ve been avoiding otherwise.
The mind and the body work together, and to be fit means to keep the mind just as healthy as the body. Find a vacation schedule that works for you in terms of time as well as other resources, whether it’s once a year or twice a year or - hopefully! - more. The closer you get to your scheduled vacation, the more you’ll find yourself working harder, and this will continue to be the case once you’ve returned as well!
So take a break every now and then. It’s just as essential as everything else written here.
To conclude: Short duration = high impact
The key takeaway from this article is not to work(out) harder, but smarter. Small healthy activities repeated over a period of time will become a part of your overall physical schema as good habits. And these habits will keep you healthy in the long run!
As opposed to extensive workout programs and promises of healthy eating which - spoiler alert! - never come to fruition, try out these five simple steps. Start with one at a time if doing all five seems impossible. Then, with time, you’ll be able to include the other steps in your everyday routine as well.
Wishing you a healthy life!
AN AUG 77/18