Staying healthy and active is essential for maximizing your quality of life. Not only does health and fitness improve the way your body looks and feels, but it also impacts your mental and emotional health. Keeping yourself fit also improves your overall health by improving your immune system and preventing diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, Even as you age, staying healthy can prolong your life and ward off muscle and bone weaknesses which are common issues as you get older.
A healthy lifestyle is about more than simple exercise, it is also about how you fuel your body, how you maximize recovery, and how you manage stress. However, during these times, access to gyms, fitness classes, and health coaches may be more limited.
So, how can you maximize your efforts to stay healthy and fit?
Below we have laid out a complete guide to maximizing your health and fitness from the comfort of your home.
1. Daily Exercise Routine
The options for exercise are virtually limitless. Whether you have access to a gym or not, there are many ways to maintain and improve your fitness level while practising social distancing or staying at home. Some favourite examples are streaming workout videos of your favourite fitness experts, going for a walk or jog outside, dancing to your favourite songs, or using an app to create daily callisthenics routines.
Regardless of your preferred type of workout, it is important to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day to maintain proper health. If you are looking to meet more specific fitness goals or weight loss, then you may need to adjust the duration and/or the intensity of your workout.
2. Pre Workout Regime
In order to get the maximum benefits from your workout, it is important to consider how you are fueling your body before your workout. Adding this simple step to your workout regime can aid you in getting a better workout every time and help your body in the recovery stages.
Before you begin your exercise routine, you should try consuming some pre workout protein such as a shake or supplement, especially one high in BCAAs. By consuming protein before your workout as opposed to afterwards, you are “priming the pump” and kickstarting your body to begin protein synthesis during your workout which will carry over to your post-workout.
3. Meal Planning
Everyone knows that eating a balanced diet is a major factor in health and fitness. Depending on your body and your fitness goals, a balanced diet can mean anything from intuitive eating to intermittent fasting to plant-based or paleo diets. Regardless of what type of diet or healthy dietary preferences work best for your body, there is something that can help everyone stay on track, and that’s meal planning. Meal planning can help you to minimize cravings and keep you on the wagon when you are feeling too tired or busy to think about mealtime.
Meal planning is as simple as spending 20 minutes per week planning out your meals for the week based on groceries you currently have and help you formulate a grocery list of items you need. It takes the guesswork out of cooking each day. To go one step further, meal planning can be coupled with meal prep where you can cook full or partial meals ahead of time and keep them stored in the fridge or freezer so you don’t have to cook throughout the week at all!
4. Managing Stress
Exercise can go a long way in reducing stress by producing endorphins, the “feel-good” chemical in your brain. It also helps to lower physical stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. However, sometimes physical exercise isn’t enough and we require more than just hormone management to bring peace and tranquillity and balance our mind, body, and emotions.
Some great ways to manage stress include prayer, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and time in nature. Choose one that suits your mindset and lifestyle and practice it each morning before you start your day to see significant positive changes.
Working out can cause our bodies to expel a significant amount of water and electrolytes which need to be replenished in order for our bodies to function properly. The human body is comprised of 60% water, and dehydration can impact your body’s ability to perform proper functions. Increasing your daily water intake not only helps replenish your body after a workout and keep your organs working efficiently, but it also helps to increase mental focus and energy levels throughout the day.
A recommended starting point for daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) per day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) per day for women.
6. Adequate Sleep
Sleep is the only time in a day when your body has a chance to heal and repair itself. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your body is being deprived of the ability to heal to the fullest and can have devastating long-term effects on your health such as the increased risk of high blood pressure, organ diseases, heart attack, and stroke. It is recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night in order for the body to gain the full benefits of resting. Getting enough sleep not only impacts your physical body, but it also helps to prevent fatigue, brain fog, and depression.
In order to get the best sleep possible, try a nightly routine of turning off all electronics at least 1 hour before bed and spend that time doing your nightly hygiene routine and relaxing. Sometimes listening to soft white noise music can also help to calm your mind and prepare you for sleep.