As much as you strive to live a healthier lifestyle, sometimes your schedule simply gets in the way. One of the biggest questions you probably have is, when you’re seemingly out of time, what’s more, important when it comes to sleep, exercise and health… getting more zzz’s or getting active?
You may not love the answer, which is that truthfully you need both. But the great news is, there are ways you can rearrange your life to make them both fit – which we’re going to reveal in this article. But first, let’s take a look at why they’re so essential in the first place…
Reasons You Need to Catch Your Zzzz’s
When it comes to how many hours of sleep you need, most experts agree the majority of people need a minimum of 7 hours per night in order to function at their peak. Though lots of people think that they can operate well on less, testing this theory has shown that it just isn’t true. Unfortunately, many people just get used to being tired all the time and consider that normal.(1)
What are the major benefits of getting enough sleep? (2)
- Stronger immune system
- Reduced risk of sickness & disease
- Better mental health
- Improved memory
- Enhanced concentration & productivity
- Faster metabolism
- More effective weight loss
As you can see, going without sufficient rest is no small matter. Setting a regular bedtime and having a nighttime wind-down routine helps boost the quality of your sleep. Do something relaxing before bedtime like meditating, taking a bath or reading a book. (3)
Not So Fast: You Also Need Exercise for Glowing Health
Just as important as sleep is the need to fit physical activity into your days. Just how physical do you need to be? The American Heart Association recommends two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or one hour and fifteen minutes of intense activity) – or both each week. You should also include some strength training to help with muscle toning, weight loss, faster metabolism, and bone health as you age. (4)
What can weekly exercise do for your health? Major benefits of physical fitness (5)
- Tone & strengthen your body
- Improve your mood
- Help control your weight
- Boost immunity
- Lift energy
- Help fight certain health conditions & diseases
- Improve your sex life
A great way to break it all down is to aim for about 20-40 minutes of physical activity per day –
while also trying not to be sedentary the rest of the time. But if at first glance this looks too tough, remember that we aren’t talking about heading over to the gym if that doesn’t with your schedule or preferences. Instead, look for the ways that physical activity works for you.
What does it look like to value fitness, therefore fit it into your days however you can? Probably much different than you may think.
Ways to Fit Physical Activity Into Each Day
- Take short breaks at work to go for re-energizing power walks
- Do push-ups or other quick floor exercises beside your desk
- Find a “mom and baby” workout that is fun for both of you
- Follow along to a dance video with your toddler
- Play with your kids or dog in the backyard
- Do chores such as laundry, dishes or mowing the lawn
- Take your dog for a slightly longer walk each day
- Go on a quick 10-15 minute run in the morning before your day starts
- Bike or walk to work/grocery store if feasible
- Plan weekends around physical activities with the family, such as bike rides, hikes, etc.
- Do a short yoga or floor mat exercise on a yoga mat beside your bed upon waking
- Follow an at-home workout routine using simple gym equipment
- Engage in yoga at the beach or in the park with friends
See, when you break it up into smaller pieces, keeping in mind the commitments you already have in your day, getting in “exercise” is not as hard as you think. You don’t have to run a marathon or be a weight-lifter to reap the health benefits.
But as much as you work out, you still have to try to get up out of your chair, as more and more research is now showing the dangers of too much sitting. Switch it up by standing at your desk sometimes, or sit on a yoga ball instead of a chair to improve your core strength and balance.
Minimize Excuses Now
The bottom line about time is that we all get the same amount, and it just depends on what you do with it. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to get enough sleep or squeeze physical activity into your day, it’s time to rearrange your priorities.
When you take a good, hard look at the way you spend your time, chances are there are ways you can make adjustments in order to fit in the things that will most benefit your health. Although it may feel foreign at first, you will find more peace and happiness in your life when you take care of yourself.
Ways to “Gain More Time” In Your Day
Take a break from social media – It’s not going anywhere! See if you can live without it, and you may just find that it was a huge time-waster that doesn’t matter to your core values.
Delegate more tasks – Whether at home or work, are you doing too many things that others could help you complete? That means it’s time to take some of them off your plate and teach others how to do them correctly. You’ll likely feel a lot of relief along with space for more self-care.
Minimize distractions – If you’re focusing on completing a task, put your phone out of sight so you aren’t tempted to reply to text messages or read news pop-ups. And in the same way that you need to check your actions, you also need to check your mind. If your mind starts drifting to solving a problem for the future, direct it back to completing your present task.
Set a schedule and stick with it – By planning out in advance how long some of your everyday tasks should take, like dinner, putting the kids to bed, etc., you need to plan in advance. That means you only pick recipes that will take the designated amount of time. And when bedtime is taking too long because your child is extra energetic, you gently hurry them along to get back on track.
Ultimately, the amount of sleep you get along with how much you stay physical on a daily basis is extremely essential to your overall wellness plan, and shouldn’t be ignored. For more tips on healthy living, exercise and health, check out these articles on How To Do Perfect Pushups, and How to Stay Hydrated in the Heat this summer!