“It takes me 2 hours to reach office. There is no time left to do anything other than a little walk after dinner.”
This is the reality that most of the people who are living in a metropolitan city and working at a distance of more than 10-15 km. Not many of us are lucky to have an office within 10-15 min drive.
This is frustrating. Here you are working hard to have a life where you can live life the way you want too. Which in most cases you are able to do, unless, it is hampered by the health issues like shoulder pain, back pain, stiffness, pain between shoulder blades, acidity etc.
These issues don’t feel out of place because nearly every one of your colleague has mentioned it in last couple of months or so. Many time the talks around the coffee machine or cafeteria revolve around different experiences of chronic pains or something related to solutions.
The important concern that needs to be addressed is: What is the best way to stay healthy in such a busy routine?
The problem of time
Many times, due to your schedule, you simply can’t take time off to follow a health program.
It is very difficult to find the time (and energy) for going to a gym, yoga centre or park for a run, when you have to travel 1–2 hour for your office.
And if this is coupled with important career phase at your workplace, then I am talking about 9–10 + of office time.
And let’s not forget family and social obligations. In my circle, very few people are blessed with work/life balance. And, they do it with deliberate effort.
Hence, the problem of time is quite real and it is going to be there. What we can focus on, is how to manage health within the current routine.
A good factor is that human body is quite rugged and adaptive. With care based on fundamental understanding of human body, we can stay healthy with minimal efforts.
There is an important point that I need to mention though. Whenever you get time, do spend some of it on your health. Visiting any good yoga centre nearby, even once a week can do wonders for your overall health.
On lighter note, just because you know you can stay out of harm’s way with minimal efforts, don’t start spending more time in the office. Yoga is follows the path of moderation. And that applies to everything :)
How to stay healthy with a heavy work schedule?
The best way to stay healthy when you have very little time is by being creative about your activities and eating habits. There is no proper replacement of a good healthy routine. But, still maintaining your health is not a difficult task to achieve with little bit of awareness and practice on regular basis.
By being creative about activities:
As per the first principle of proper exercise, to stay healthy, you should stretch key joints of your body, once in a day. This takes care of warming up your joints, lubrication, improving blood circulation.
Now, the question is how to be creative about it?
By using what you have. Time wise and place wise. Spreading your activities throughout the days, take the load of doing all of them at once.
When you have less time, each activity spread throughout the day matters!
- Try getting off one or two floors down your office floor and climb up the rest.
- Avoid the urge to park your car as close as possible. Sometimes, you can even skip taking the vehicle.
- Walking up to the farthest water cooler and coffee machine.
- Chair stretches. Bonus Point: They help your body in avoiding stiffness and related issues due to sitting all day.
When you have slightly more time:
As detailed in post on suryanamaskar, all you need is a ventilated area, flat surface and few minutes of focused time to give a complete stretch to your body.
Even a mat near your bed, for the time it takes water to get warm in winter is good enough place and time to practice a couple of rounds of suryanamaskar. Practicing 6-9 rounds of suryanamaskar and then savanasana is best way to start your day. It charges you and makes you ready for the day.
A walk after dinner is a good idea too. Around 30 min of walk after dinner, helps in digestion of food. A walk after dinner helps you in getting better sleep as it relaxes your mind and body, prepping them. just avoid taking any work-related call while on a walk.
That’s it. Any more time, then you should be getting over the laziness and follow a proper routine. :)
Yes, habits. Not diet plan or meal plan. But the eating habits.
Most of food plans or diet plans are restrictive in their approach. And as pointed out in this good book by Rujuta Devikar, many of them are not based on proper understanding about food itself.
Any kind of food plan is limited by its effect on the difference in metabolism. Not enjoyable for too long. Which means, as soon as you are off the diet, you gain your weight back. And some more. This is a vicious cycle.
So which habits will keep you healthy and full of energy?
- Eat a little less than you are hungry. First, it helps in digestion. Second, it takes time for your mind to register that your stomach is full.
- Ideally, don’t eat after sunset. As the sun sets, so does our metabolism. Which means, be careful at all late night parties.
- Drink a lot of water. Especially, if you working in an AC office and drink coffees(both dehydrate your body), it is something you need to develop a habit.
- Take small servings. Don’t fill your plate in first go. Our mind is mostly wired in a way, to not waste food on the plate. Moreover, if you are hungry, you can always go for next serving.
In most cases, little awareness of what you eat and when you eat is more than enough to maintain healthy food habits. Overanalysing calories or protein etc. takes your focus away from natural whole food concept.
Eat freshly cooked food whenever possible. And if you can, avoid packaged, processed food. But, do indulge yourself once in a while.
We can understand the concept of staying healthy with minimum effort from an analogy.
Brushing your teeth daily is more than enough to keep your dental health in good shape. If you want to keep your teeth shining white, or straighten them, or something similar, then you have to follow extra steps.
Same applies to keeping your body healthy. To stay health requires small steps, practiced regularly. For specific results, you need to follow more steps.
Even if you follow couple of steps mentioned here, it will help you a lot as compared to doing nothing at all. If you follow all of these then you will see wonderful results, considering the amount of time it takes.