I recently had a great patient of mine in for maintenance work. She had back pain about a year ago and I see her once every two months to make sure ‘everything stays where it should’ as she says!
The conversation we had was all about wanting to get fitter, but why sometimes it’s so hard to stay in shape. I think it is something we can all identify with. We all know we could exercise, sleep more, and eat healthier – but knowing and actually doing, are two different things.
So it got me thinking about the real reason why it can be so difficult to keep active and healthy, and these are the three things that always come up in conversation:
1. People are too busy, either because they work full time and have kids to look after as well on top of the daily chores to do.
2. They plan to make healthy decisions, but when the time comes, they feel too tired to cook, exercise, or resist the temptation of reaching for the biscuit tin.
3. In social situations and with family, people feel the pressure to eat like everyone else and join in.
I know finding the time to keep active and stay on board with being healthy can be hard. Life isn’t always so predictable, and it’s easy to let things spiral out of control when it feels like you’ve got a million things to do – it happens to all of us!
But here’s the bright side – it’s actually a lot easier than it seems to incorporate healthy habits when you’re on the go and when life feels busy.
It’s not about being ‘perfect’, it’s just about being ‘prepared’.
Here is a list of 5 things you can do to get better health.
1. Add Lemon juice to water
A lot of people find drinking water ‘boring’… And sometimes I do too!
But drinking enough water not only quenches my thirst, but also prevents me from feeling hungry when I’ve already eaten, helps keep me feeling awake through the ‘afternoon slump’, and keeps me in a good mood.
Two things to do to encourage you to drink more is buy a one litre water bottle. Fill it up at the start of the day and it is pretty easy to see how you are progressing and secondly, put some lemon and lime into the water for flavour. Not only does it make it easier to drink, but lemon juice has so many good benefits including improving and aiding digestion because it helps your stomach acid break down food.
2. Make Sleep A Priority
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and if they don’t get it, the next day doesn’t always feel so great!
It’s a known fact that when people don’t get enough sleep, their mood drops, they overeat and they’re unproductive.
I know it can be tough. Sometimes you feel like there’s too much to do before you can call it a day and finally rest your head, but when you sacrifice sleep for your routine, that’s when you get caught up in the cycle of under-sleeping, being unproductive, and when mood swings kick in.
Making sure you get enough sleep each night (making it a habit ), will help things fall into place and keep you feeling alert and energised.
My wife does a great trick she sets an alarm for half 9 every night. Now we don’t leg it up stairs when it goes off but it does set a nice reminder to start getting ready for bed.
3. Fill Up On Veggies
Include a rainbow of vegetables with every meal, and eat as many as you like, in any way you like!
Filling your plate full of vegetables will help you get more fibre and more of the good nutrients your body needs to feel great.
You’ll also find when you go out to eat with friends and family in restaurants, there’s usually vegetable based appetisers to choose from before your main meal, if you want to order a starter.
So even when you’re socialising, there’s always a way to stay healthy and on track.
4. Double Up On Dinner!
Whenever you cook your evening meal, double up on it! (Or cook even more ). Get big lunch boxes and have a space in your fridge!
Cooking more than one serving at a time will mean you’ll have something healthy on hand in the fridge to take to work the next day, or pop in the microwave to heat up during the week.
Tip: choose times to cook extra meals when you know you’ve got time, like a relaxing Sunday evening, or as soon as you get home from work. Don’t choose a time when you know you won’t feel like doing it, such as a late Saturday night, or when you’ve been running around all day.
When you’re prepared, there’s less of a chance of going off track.
5. Swing your arms when you walk
This will help any lingering back pain as it works things called cross chains (muscle slings ) in the body. Keeping up tall and moving your arms will mean your walk is doing you and your back some good rather than just slumping along.
Staying in shape only takes a couple of hours a week – and when you can include these simple tips above in your daily routine, you don’t have to change much in your routine, or even put any extra time aside.
If you are active at least 3 times per week (walk or run ) and want to keep yourself injury free and running better than ever visit everardpilates.com/sportpilates and sign up for a free trial of our Online Sports Pilates course.