We talk a lot about getting organized in your home and office because it can help you be more productive and get more done. It also has positive mental health effects in general. For example, “clearing” your space has been proven to help you be more focused.
But what about your health? Is your health “organized”?
Sometimes, it feels like you just don’t have time to eat right or fit in the workout you know you need. You work late and get up early, just barely fitting in all your responsibilities to your work or business and family. There just doesn’t seem to be one extra moment to squeeze in preparing or eating healthy meals—or especially, even a tiny fitness routine.
You may just be overlooking the right opportunities.
Our bodies were born to move! For our heart health – and the proper functioning of our lungs and other bodily systems – experts say we really must exercise at least moderately, a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Of course, more than that is better! Otherwise, there is SO much that can go wrong.
Furthermore, without movement – and strength training of some type – we become weaker. If this continues for extended periods of time, muscles start to atrophy. Other additional negative consequences of this are immense too!
Similarly, if we are not feeding our bodies the right nutrition, not just potentially our weight – but our overall health – will likely suffer too. Sure, you may be able to get away with shortchanging your diet for a while, or some of the time. However, over time, neglecting your health in this manner will inevitably take its toll.
Maybe we know all this. However, it often still seems so difficult – even overwhelming – to act on this knowledge we have.
But is it really that hard? Actually, no!
To get organized in your health, the first thing you must do is simply make the decision – and follow through on that decision – to eat better and move more. It’s that simple.
Here are 5 ways to get better organized in your health – in your nutrition and fitness – in the little spare time you have, without missing a beat:
1. WALK MORE
This may seem basic… painfully obvious and trite. You know this, right? But are you doing it? While fitness trackers may sometimes like seem just the newest trend or fad, and some studies do question their effectiveness in helping with weight loss, they do seem to promote moving more. A study of menopausal women who wore a Fitbit for 16 weeks and found that those who did, got 38 more minutes of exercise total over a week.
How to get more steps? Make it a point to get up from your desk every hour and walk around your office, your house – or wherever – for 2 to 3 minutes. While it may seem like you can’t exercise 30 minutes a day, if you do that for every hour you are working – or even while relaxing at home in the evening – that’s precisely the result!
2. STRETCH MORE
Stretching and flexibility are closely tied to fitness and overall health. For example, did you realize that some Chinese medicine practitioners (and eve Dr. Oz on one of his episodes), say whether or not you can touch your toes can be an early indicator of heart disease?
In the morning when you wake up, take a minute or two to stretch your arms up to the sky, reach over and try to touch your toes, and stretch your back (gently) like a cat and hold it for as long as possible. Then, when you get out of bed, perform the same actions standing up.
Also, before and after you do your walking to the day, add those same stretches before and after your walk. Performing these stretches adds to your exercise total time AND in just a short period, you will find your flexibility increase dramatically.
3. SNACK ON HEALTHY SNACKS INSTEAD OF EATING MEALS DURING THE DAY
It’s agreed upon by most nutritionists (and even physicians) that small, “snack size” meals, several times during the day, is the best way to eat for health. Consequently, your first “snack meal” should occur within 30 minutes of waking and then every 2-3 hours during the day.
Organize your health by planning out your “snack meals” for the week and portion them up in advance. Take them to work with you (if you work out of the office) or put them in the front of the fridge if you work from home. It’s been shown time and time again that planning out what you will eat this way, will help you stick to it better than trying to “choose” your meals during the day.
4. PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK ON THE WEEKEND AND PORTION THEM UP IN ADVANCE
The basis of Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, etc. – the “planned” weight loss programs lies right there in that word – “planned.” Planning your meals in advance – just as with your snacks – helps to eliminate emotional eating and “automatic eating.” Automatic eating is when we eat without even realizing we are eating—or what we are eating. When we don’t give eating our conscious attention, we overwhelmingly run the risk of eating more calories, more empty or bad calories, and more, in general.
For one, it takes around twenty minutes for your brain to register your stomach is full. When we eat automatically – or in a non-conscious manner – not only do we tend to eat things that aren’t good for us, we eat too fast to know when to stop because we are full.
Of course, when you feel swamped, it seems the last thing you can do in the morning is fix a good breakfast or lunch. Then, you get home or finish working at the end of a hectic day, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner.
That’s why experts suggest you prepare your meals over the weekend when you are more relaxed and focused. This helps you make sure you are making healthy and smart choices.
5. MAKE YOUR WEEKENDS ACTIVE
Speaking of weekends… make sure yours include activity of some kind. This helps you fit more movement into your weekly tally. If you can be outdoors, wonderful. Sunshine is not only good for the body, it’s great for the mind.
However, even if you can’t find a way to do outdoor activity, remember that housework – or handyman work – counts too! Most people are surprised to learn that vacuuming burns 90 calories in 15 minutes! There is a good chart in Shape magazine showing how many calories are burnt by common chores!
In the end, just remember, as busy as you are, that’s not a real excuse. There are ways to make sure you take organizing your health routine as seriously as organizing other areas of your life. The benefits, will be plenty!