Busy with small business demands, and worried that your body is going to pot because of it? Give these six fitness tips a try to get yourself on the path to better health.
1. Visit Your Doctor
With all the miraculous advances in health care, it’s amazing that more of us don’t find the time for regular doctor’s visits. Regular checkups are essential for detecting potential problems before they begin, and catching developing problems early. Paul Hanna, president of Blue Technologies in Cleveland, tells Crains Cleveland Business he learned this lesson the hard way.
A devoted runner, he believed that work demands left him little time for doctor’s visits, and that frequent exercise and healthy dieting were enough to offset the stresses of his job. When he finally did go in for a physical, it was not a moment too soon, as his physicians discovered that he was on the verge of a major heart attack and immediately scheduled an operation that saved his life. So schedule some time with your doctor, and get those thousands of hours in medical school working on your behalf.
2. Avoid Diet Drinks
Diet drinks are a tempting calorie-saver, but their negative side effects are a drag. Artificial sweeteners raise insulin levels, which causes your body to stubbornly store fat. They’ve been linked with an increased chance of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and they’re full of citric acid, which causes tooth decay at the same rate as methamphetamine and cocaine.
Business owner Kara Goldin lost 45 pounds in three months after quitting Diet Coke cold turkey, she tells Fortune.com. Her experience led her to found Hint Water, a fruit-infused, zero-calorie beverage with over $70 million in total annual sales. If you can’t go cold turkey, at least try cutting back, and maybe shed some pounds and reignite your entrepreneurial ingenuity in the process.
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3. Spice Up Your Workouts
Exercise can be daunting all on its lonesome. Psychiatrist and best-selling author John Ratey opens his groundbreaking book, “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” with a quote from Plato: “In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means: education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together.”
A scant 2,300 years later, the rise of podcasting has made it possible to nurture soul and body like never before. Podcasts are a wonderful way to entertain and inform yourself while you sweat out those artificial sweeteners. A friend of mine recently discovered a hilarious American history podcast called The Dollop, and enjoys it so much that her evening jog has become one of the most anticipated events of her day. Informative and motivating business podcasts include EntreLeadership, The School of Greatness, and Profit. Power. Pursuit.
4. Go to Sleep
During a Reddit AMA, Elon Musk revealed that he averages six hours of sleep a night. If a guy with Elon’s schedule can manage six hours of sleep, you can too. Regular sleep increases alertness and longevity, and decreases your chances of dementia and stroke later in life. If you’re naturally a light sleeper, consider the example of inventor Thomas Edison, who could “go to sleep anywhere, anytime, on anything,” and used this ability to make up for his wakeful nights.
During the day, try taking a power nap instead of a Red Bull. It might require some practice, but commit to settling into a comfortable spot and closing your eyes for 30 minutes until you’re able to do it on command. You’ll wake up feeling alive again, and sleep better at night for having avoided the extra caffeine.
5. Try Mini-Workouts
Mini-workouts are a great tool for enjoying a burst of energy while strengthening and disciplining mind and body. Schedule in a few sets of push-ups, jumping jacks, and stretches in your office every couple of hours. Take a tip from Mark Zuckerberg and experiment with walking meetings rather than the usual stationary variety. Be systematic about it. Force yourself do it, even if you don’t feel like it or if it seems like the activity is too trivial to be effective.
Ten push-ups are better than none, and reaching for your toes is better than reaching for another snack. Before you know it, you’ll be cranking out 50 pushups and touching your toes with ease.
6. Plan Your Snacking
We all get hungry during the day, and it’s a great temptation to satisfy that hunger with something instantly gratifying, like a bag of potato chips or a candy bar. Plan healthy snacks instead.
“When you choose lean proteins and veggies and steer away from saturated fats and sugar, you’ll not only boost your weight loss efforts, but you’ll also feel satisfied longer, making it easier to stay focused throughout the day,” Heidi Bowman, senior vice president and general manager at Weight Watchers Health Solutions, tells Business News Daily.
Carrots and almonds aren’t as thrilling as Doritos, but after a few weeks you’ll begin looking forward to them, and you’ll appreciate the bright, crisp feeling they give you versus the sluggish sadness that results from gobbling garbage.
Balancing the demands of body, mind and business can be time-consuming and difficult, but the rewards of increased motivation, creativity, and efficiency are worth the price.