“There are no shortcuts in life,” your parents, professors and even bosses have probably told you at one point or another. Generally, that is a good rule to live by, and it is especially true when it comes to your health. Choosing an energy drink over an energizing diet is one game you’ll probably lose in the end, as is getting some type of plastic surgery instead of adopting a fitness routine to change your body.
In most cases, the tougher way is the right way. But there are a few health shortcuts that are okay to take if you really need to. They are a little less potent than the the real route, but they’ll get you to the same place if you need a little help along your journey to your healthiest lifestyle.
Cutting corners on your workout
The ideal way to get in shape and stay healthy is to devote at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity most days of the week. This type of workout regimen lowers cholesterol and improves heart health by reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, while also staving off obesity.
On the days when you don’t have a chunk of time to devote to the gym, steal three 10-minute walks throughout the day. Take a stroll outside during your lunch hour, take the stairs when you can or park far away when you are running errands. The calories and heart benefits will be the same.
Getting creative with servings
The food pyramid may be old news, but you are still supposed to get about five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive.
The best way to reap the benefits is preparing fresh fruits and veggies, but when you’re pressed for time or in a position where you can’t eat fresh, sneak in almost as many benefits with snacks like no-sugar-added applesauce or dried fruits. Frozen fruits and veggies are another good option for busy families. A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need, but if you’re still lacking, talk to your doctor about a multivitamin or other supplement.
Sneaking in your ZZZ’s
Getting enough sleep is crucial to your energy and stress levels, mood and immune system function. It is also related to learning and memory functions and may play a crucial role in your weight and fitness. While there is no magic number that works for everyone, most people need between seven and nine hours per night.
If you aren’t snoozing long enough at night, you can reap many of the energizing benefits by fitting in naps throughout the day. Even a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon might be enough to get you through the rest of the day. Just beware of napping too close to bedtime – it can mess with your overall sleep schedule and make it harder for you to get in a solid seven or eight hours in the future.
We would all like to say we live the ideal healthy lifestyle, and it’s important to work toward a goal of healthy eating, regular fitness and plenty of sleep. But life happens, and when it does, it’s important to know the healthiest ways to work around the roadblocks.