Tips for Staying Fit Before, During and After Work
BY: JEFF OVIEDO
With a full-time career, keeping fit can be a challenge. As working professionals as well as parents, spouses, and community members, we often have our days scheduled up to the nineteenth hour.
Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to stay active and healthy. More than a decade ago, I decided to take my routine up a notch—I started working out with various martial arts and cardio activities, and even took the 200-hour professional certification to become a hot yoga instructor. (Come try my class
What I’ve discovered is that I actually feel younger and fitter now than I did 10 years ago, which makes all the effort worth it. With time and practice, I have developed some sustainable ways to stay in shape even when I am in meetings all day long. Here are some ideas:
1. STARTING SMALL IS PERFECTLY FINE
You might be thinking that you don’t have the time or extra energy to work out. Be assured, I didn’t start by running a marathon. Begin with things that work for you: a swim here, a walk there, trying a new class or workout. Behavioral science shows us that small steps plus consistency create new habits.
2. EXERCISE ON YOUR TERMS
Develop an exercise routine that works for you so you can stick to it. Mine involves committing to 10 hours a week of hot yoga, including at least one yoga sculpt class and one barre class weekly. Yours might be brisk morning jogs, trips to the gym, or bicycling—anything to stay active.
3. MOVE MORE DURING THE DAY
Get up and walk around throughout the workday. Recent studies have shown that even if you exercise daily, you are still at a higher risk for unhealthy conditions such as diabetes and heart disease if you are sedentary for the rest of the day. If necessary, put a reminder on your computer to get up and walk around at least once an hour.
4. TRY TO EAT WELL, BUT DON’T WORRY IF YOU SLIP
After experimenting, I’ve discovered that the best diet for me is primarily vegetables with fish and a limited amount of chicken and beef. Except on the rare occasion, I skip the bread, pasta, and sugar. Try it! It’s easier than you think, and you will feel better almost immediately. If you splurge occasionally though, don’t worry about it. Just get back to your routine as soon as you can.
5. FIND WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS
All of the above help to manage stress levels, however sometimes I need a bit more. A great addition is deep breathing and/or meditation. Yoga helps me practice breathing throughout my day. Additionally, a few minutes of meditation can clear your mind, relax your body, and lower your blood pressure. (There are several phone apps on the market that help you meditate if you need help getting started.)
Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle has taken some discipline, but the benefits make it worthwhile. Feeling alert and strong after even the longest day, minimizing sickness and injury, and maintaining a good weight (same as in college!) have been the biggest results I have noticed over time.
All of these have allowed me to work hard, while also enjoying my life. I highly recommend giving at least one of them a try today!