Many small business owners work long hours and fail to schedule in enough downtime to look after their physical health – but developing a healthier lifestyle isn’t as daunting as it seems, says Lesley Handley.
Time-pressed? Most business owners are stuck in a rut of ‘not enough hours in the day’. There’s no time for yourself as you run a business, control staff, sit in meetings, take phone calls and deal with the day-to-day problems that arise, chasing all the hours in the day.
Business owners can be the worst at scheduling time for themselves to keep fit and healthy. Keeping on top of your game is crucial, and if you can stay in shape and in good health you will feel confident, energetic, more enthusiastic and ready to tackle each day. You are also much less likely to become sick, so you can avoid having to take unscheduled time off.
So how do you achieve a fitter and healthier you without signing up to the latest gym offer, knowing full well that, come week three, you’ll not see the inside of the changing rooms? Here are seven quick and simple changes to make to your daily routine which will have a significant impact on the ‘new you’.
Walking, running or cycling to work would be perfect, but not everyone is able to do that. Can you park the car 20 minutes from the office and walk?
Or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier? These additional steps will certainly add up throughout the week – and you will also get the benefits of extra time out in the fresh air.
Technology can also help – whether it’s the latest fitness watch or an activity tracker app on your phone, use it. Set yourself realistic goals and work towards them every day. Small behavioural changes make a big difference.
HIIT training has the fitness industry in a frenzy due to its ability to torch fat in a small amount of time. Forget the hour in the gym lifting weights – use simple exercises that incorporate only your body weight and you have a workout you can do anywhere at any time!
The essential framework of HIIT training is always the same: a period of all-out work followed by a period of rest. With hundreds of bodyweight exercises to choose from, you can do something different every day, and there are lots of examples online.
Lunchtime is perfect for getting in some structured exercise. A quality workout only has to take 20-30 minutes, so you can nip to the gym or the local park and still have time for lunch. You will feel refreshed and more focused afterwards, so you will be much more productive in the afternoon.
If you can’t get to the gym, try to at least get outside the office. Breathing the fresh air and walking with a purpose will allow your mind to be free and provide clarity of thought when you return to your desk.
Busy schedules sometimes make it easy to forget to drink as much water as you should. However, staying hydrated helps to improve both mental and physical performance. Include a bottle of water in your work bag and ensure it is on your desk throughout the day as a constant reminder to drink it. Dehydration can lead to poor mood, reduced concentration and a tendency to find tasks harder. A simple bottle of water can keep all of this at bay.
Take 10 minutes each night to think about the next day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Are you away early in the morning, meaning you might not have breakfast? Are you late home at night, meaning you might be tempted to grab a takeaway?
Plan your meals. Prepare your breakfast the night before so you can grab and go. Invest in a slow cooker and throw stuff into it before you leave for work – a ready-made meal when you get home. Organising your meals the night before helps you control calories, and stops you eating unhealthy foods on the go.