Most of our lives are anything but routine. Weekly schedules are often interrupted by out-of-town business trips, weekend road trips and the basic busyness of life. Often the last priority on the daily list of To-Dos is exercise.
Here are some simple tips for squeezing in some exercise in your active (but sedentary) lifestyle.
First things first: examine your eating habits. If you do a lot of restaurant dining when you’re out of town.
[SKIP THE BREAD]
I know, I know. This is hard. It’s one of the worst foods you can put in your mouth in terms of fat and calories. When you get to the restaurant, pop a stick of mint gum or candy in your mouth and the temptation to dive into the bread will lessen.
[DRINK PLENTY OF WATER]
It helps quench the hunger pangs. Plus, you’ll skip out on all the extra sugar, caffeine and calories from soft drinks.
[AVOID FRIED FOODS]
Especially late at night. Every restaurant has a salad. Order low calorie or fat free dressing (on the side) and you have a completely guiltless dining experience. Other choices to look for on the menu are grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and fruit. Some restaurants have a “guiltless” menu, or you could simply ask the waiter what some of their healthier menu items are.
Since you’ve ordered less, if you eat quickly, you’ll be done before everyone else and be looking around for more. Slow down, enjoy your food and stop when you feel comfortable.
Don’t even think about dessert, unless they have a low-fat sorbet or fruit. Topping off your meal with sweets multiplies the fat and sugar content of your meal. Good luck trying to work that off in the gym the next week!
Next: get moving.
If you start all gun-ho about beginning a fitness regimen, you’ll over do it and burn out immediately. Baby steps, people. Start with one activity five minutes each day. It would be as simple as walking or stretching.
“Exercise in little bites,” Marlene R. Fedin wrote in Meetings & Conventions magazine. ”It’s okay if you don’t have an hour to spare; you don’t need a lot of time to work out effectively. Use small chunks of time, as little as five minutes, to exercise wherever you can – in the early morning, during a break in the day, between meetings … It all adds up.”
[DON’T FALL OFF THE WAGON]
Plan to have one cheat-day a week where there are no rules and it’s okay to eat the whole bag of Oreos. Depriving yourself will only make you miserable and less likely to stick to a fitness routine.
[ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING]
View your exercise time as apart of your day, or a part of your personal hygiene. I’m sure you don’t mind showering, eating or cleaning your ears daily. Don’t view exercise as something to get through or to mark off your list.
[USE WHAT’S AVAILABLE]
Limiting yourself to an equipment-dependent routine will come back to haunt you when you’re on the road. Learn to incorporate walking, running or hiking. In your hotel room, try doing calf raises and squats on a phone book to strengthen legs. “Use a towel and a chair as props for a stretch-and-tone routine for the entire body,” Fedin suggested. “Hit the floor for push-ups and crunches. A cardiovascular workout is as close as a hotel’s (or an office building’s) stairs: Run up and down as many flights as you can in whatever time is available. Take a brisk walk outside during lunch or a break.”
You can also pack lightweight exercise bands or small weights. Most hotels though these days have a workout room and/or free weights. Take advantage of the pool as an exercise treat.
Remember: if you’re moving, you’re burning calories. Just be more aware throughout your day of ways to be active. Park in the furthest spot from the entrance. Take the stairs. Avoid sugar and caffeine.
Pretty soon your new-found disciplines will become second nature instead of torture. Just hang in there.
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