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Take time to make time for your health

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Many small business owners work long hours and fail to schedule in enough downtime to look after their physical health – but developing a healthier lifestyle isn’t as daunting as it seems, says Lesley Handley.

Time-pressed? Most business owners are stuck in a rut of ‘not enough hours in the day’. There’s no time for yourself as you run a business, control staff, sit in meetings, take phone calls and deal with the day-to-day problems that arise, chasing all the hours in the day.


Business owners can be the worst at scheduling time for themselves to keep fit and healthy. Keeping on top of your game is crucial, and if you can stay in shape and in good health you will feel confident, energetic, more enthusiastic and ready to tackle each day. You are also much less likely to become sick, so you can avoid having to take unscheduled time off.

So how do you achieve a fitter and healthier you without signing up to the latest gym offer, knowing full well that, come week three, you’ll not see the inside of the changing rooms? Here are seven quick and simple changes to make to your daily routine which will have a significant impact on the ‘new you’.

Commute to work

Walking, running or cycling to work would be perfect, but not everyone is able to do that. Can you park the car 20 minutes from the office and walk?

Or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier? These additional steps will certainly add up throughout the week – and you will also get the benefits of extra time out in the fresh air.

Technology can also help – whether it’s the latest fitness watch or an activity tracker app on your phone, use it. Set yourself realistic goals and work towards them every day. Small behavioural changes make a big difference.

HIIT training

HIIT training has the fitness industry in a frenzy due to its ability to torch fat in a small amount of time. Forget the hour in the gym lifting weights – use simple exercises that incorporate only your body weight and you have a workout you can do anywhere at any time! 

The essential framework of HIIT training is always the same: a period of all-out work followed by a period of rest. With hundreds of bodyweight exercises to choose from, you can do something different every day, and there are lots of examples online.

Lunchtime exercise

Lunchtime is perfect for getting in some structured exercise. A quality workout only has to take 20-30 minutes, so you can nip to the gym or the local park and still have time for lunch. You will feel refreshed and more focused afterwards, so you will be much more productive in the afternoon.

If you can’t get to the gym, try to at least get outside the office. Breathing the fresh air and walking with a purpose will allow your mind to be free and provide clarity of thought when you return to your desk.

Online training

This is a new – and quickly growing – phenomenon in the health and fitness industry. More people are experiencing the benefits first-hand, and many haven’t even heard about it yet. It has become the most flexible, cost-effective way for you to reach your fitness goals, especially if you are pressed for time or travel frequently. 
 
Online training provides you with the accountability of a personal trainer via an app, and you also have the reassurance that a qualified professional is assessing, planning and reviewing your every workout. 

 
It also means no more set gym times, or cancelling appointments with a personal trainer because a meeting you’re in has run over.

 

Hydration

Busy schedules sometimes make it easy to forget to drink as much water as you should. However, staying hydrated helps to improve both mental and physical performance. Include a bottle of water in your work bag and ensure it is on your desk throughout the day as a constant reminder to drink it. Dehydration can lead to poor mood, reduced concentration and a tendency to find tasks harder. A simple bottle of water can keep all of this at bay.

Nutrition planning

Take 10 minutes each night to think about the next day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Are you away early in the morning, meaning you might not have breakfast? Are you late home at night, meaning you might be tempted to grab a takeaway? 

Plan your meals. Prepare your breakfast the night before so you can grab and go. Invest in a slow cooker and throw stuff into it before you leave for work – a ready-made meal when you get home. Organising your meals the night before helps you control calories, and stops you eating unhealthy foods on the go.

Make it fun

You might not be the only one in the office who wants to get healthier. If you have staff, how about getting them involved? Office challenges or teambuilding events based around exercise can get the whole office involved. Sick days can account for up to 137.3 million days in the UK per year.
 
Involve your staff and reap the benefits – healthy employees take fewer sick days. Take ownership of your own health and fitness and bulletproof good habits – whether you are time-pressed or not. There are always ways to build it into your busy life.