How To Integrate Health & Fitness Into Your Routine

How To Integrate Health & Fitness Into Your Routine

Cover Photo By Luis Quintero

By Rachel O’Connor 

You know what really stinks?

That there are only 24 hours in a day. Like, how are you honestly expected to accomplish everything you want to do with just 1,440 minutes to do it?

For instance, sleep. Okay, that’s a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of your time just gone.

What about your job? 

Poof: another eight hours. And that doesn’t even include your commute. (Another hour, maybe more, right?)

Honestly, once you start to add it up, it’s almost like a little thief stealing time from you left and right. You look around and suddenly your entire day is gone.

How are you actually expected to squeeze the minimum two and a half hours of fitness into your week when you’re already pulled in a million directions already? 

And don’t even get started on healthy eating

Between your weekly (or bi-weekly) shopping trips, coming home exhausted and hungry, andtrying to cater to picky palates? It’s simply not going to happen!

Or is it?

You might be surprised. 

Sure, it may seem like a lofty goal – eating right and exercising when you’re already worn out from the daily demands on your time – but is it reallythat difficult?

The truth is, everyone’s given the same 24 hours each day. 

Nobody is special. Nobody gets a few extra minutes handed to them on the down-low to help them accomplish their goals.

If you want to fit a healthy diet and fitness routine in your life, you need to carve out the time yourself to makeit happen.

Sure, it may seem unattainable at first. Impossible, even. But truth be told, it’s much easier than you may initially realize.

It All Starts with a Healthy Diet

Depending on whom you ask, you may get a wide variety of answers as to what makes a diet healthy.

Some people believe that a whole-food, plant-based diet is superior. On the other end of the spectrum, others will argue that carbs are the most dangerous thing you could consume.

Instead of arguing about nuance, it’s more important to find a happy medium.

Most experts can agree that there are a few key foundations for a healthy diet. What are they?

You can’t go wrong by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Aim for a minimum of five servings of produce per day.

Avoid overly processed carbs, as they can increase your risk of chronic diseases (including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer).

Make sure you enjoy a diet that is full of lean proteins and healthy fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). 

On the other hand, avoid trans fats at all costs, as they have no place in a healthy diet.

By following these basic nutrition rules, you can help keep yourself on the right path to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

How to Increase Your Healthy Food Consumption

Of course, it’s one thing to know how to eat healthy. It’s an entirely different matter altogether to actually followa healthy diet.

There’s no doubt that you do want to eat a healthy diet. Nobody actually wants to suffer the consequences of obesity and poor diet.

But how? Especially when you’re too busy to even consider cooking a healthy meal tonight? 

Let’s be honest. After a long and stressful day, the drive-thru is looking mighty appealing on your commute home.

How can you actually eat healthy when you’re constantly surrounded by junk food?

There’s an old saying out there that has been circulating for some time now: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

It makes sense, too. If you don’t plan ahead to make sure you have fast, easy, and healthy options waiting for you when you get home, then what?

To avoid succumbing to the temptation of greasy cheeseburgers and soggy fries, you need to find ways to make healthy eating a breeze.

A healthy diet starts at the grocery store. (Or, even better, your local farmer’s market!) 

The easiest way to avoid highly processed junk is to not even bring it into your home in the first place. Just skip it completely; your body doesn’t need that stuff and won’t miss it, either.

Instead, fill your cart with a variety of healthy, nutritious foods. You can’t go wrong with whole grains, lean protein, and fresh produce.

If the thought of having to clean and chop a mountain of fruits and vegetables exhausts you, then reach for pre-diced produce. That’ll dramatically cut down your time spent in the kitchen later.

Oh, and throw out the myth that healthy eating has to be expensive. A healthy diet can actually be very budget friendly!

By shopping in season, you can save a lot of money at the store and even eat healthy on a budget.  

For instance, tomatoes and strawberries taste their best in the summer…and that’s when the stores are practically giving them away!

On the other hand, fall is the ideal time for apples and hardy squash (like pumpkin!), and winter is the perfect time to stock up on citrus fruits.

You can also make your week a cinch by meal-prepping. Spend a couple of hours on Sunday and batch cook some of your favorite recipes.

By pre-portioning your meals in grab-and-go containers, you can have a fast, easy, and healthy lunch during the week. 

You can also throw a few extra meals in the freezer and pull them out during the workweek to help get dinner on the table in just a handful of minutes.

If you follow these steps, you’ll find yourself actually eating better with very minimal effort!

Trick Yourself into Exercising

Eating healthy is only one part of the equation of a healthy lifestyle, though.

You can fill yourself to the brim with a healthy diet, but if you’re neglecting your fitness, you’re really missing out on a huge portion of staying healthy.

Fitness is absolutely essential for your good health. Not only is it good for your physical health, but it’s also vital for your mental health, too. Fitness helps sleep performance and nutrient deficiencies

Experts recommend that you exercise for about two and a half hours per week. When you break it down into smaller chunks, that’s just a hair over twenty minutes per day.

It doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you look at it like that, right?

Oh, and here’s another secret. Exercise isn’t just doing crunches on your bedroom floor or running in circles around your block.

Exercise takes on many shapes and forms

In fact, walking is arguably one of the best exercises you can do, and it’s super easy on your joints. It’s perfect for beginners and for cross-training!

Don’t feel like taking a stroll? No worries. Why not grab your kids and go outside to play tag, or shoot some hoops with them? 

Look, if you’re stuck in the mindset that exercise is punishment for eating, then you need to think again. Once you find your groove, you’ll soon fall in love with your chosen sport.

Even if it is competitive dog walking!

Getting Healthy and Staying Healthy

There are so many demands on you in your day-to-day life. It can definitely seem stressful to try to add a healthy diet and fitness routine into it, too.

You don’t have to dive in headfirst. 

In fact, it’s probably better to start slow and make gradual changes. That way, you can be sure they’ll actually stick.

By making small adjustments to your diet, you can start to notice more health benefits. You’ll feel better and look better.

Add a side salad to your dinner. Switch out white rice for brown rice. Snack on fruit between meals instead of candy.

Then start a gentle fitness routine. Don’t try to run a marathon just yet!

Find a sport that you love. Kickboxing. Yoga. 

Anything goes, as long as you’ll actually doit.

Over time, you’ll find yourself naturally making healthier choices. It won’t seem so difficult anymore.

Then you’ll wake up one day, open your eyes, and realize that you’ve actually done it. You’ve managed to turn your life around – for the better.

You’re naturally healthy.

And it was so much easier than you thought it would be.

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