When it comes to health, so many of us have good intentions.
We know the health rules, but remembering to actually do them or finding the time to fit them in remains a colossal challenge. We’re busy. We’re tired. We’re cranky.
Who has the time for one more thing, anyway?
You’re not alone: A 2010 Stress in America Survey found that 34 percent of adults found that the struggle they face balancing work and home life makes it difficult to find the time for health behaviors, like eating right and exercising regularly.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on those healthy ideals. There are ways to sneak them into your day.
At the end of that day, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment.
And then you’ll never again have to say, “I’m too busy toâ€¦”
Floss. Daily flossing helps prevent gum disease, cavities and tooth loss by removing plaque that brushing can’t. Most of us wait until we’re ready for bed to drag out the floss (if we remember at all); but by that time, we’re so tired, it’s the last thing we feel like adding to our list.
Fit it in: Floss any time of dayâ€”it doesn’t really matter when. Do it first thing in the morning or after lunch. It just matters that you do it. Buy a six-pack of floss (or you can also use another product like a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser or tiny brushes that reach between your teeth) and stash them in different placesâ€”in the shower, alongside the bathtub, in the car. The next best thing to flossing? Swish water around in your mouth after brushing to loosen particles left behind.
Strength Train. More important than ever before, you need strength training to increase your bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Gaining muscle helps your body burn calories more efficiently, too.
Fit it in: It’s not true a watched pot will never boil; chances are it will boil before you know it if, while you’re waiting for the bubbles to surface, you do some push-ups against the kitchen counter. That’s only one way to sneak in some bone-enhancing moves.
Take Off My Makeup. Besides leaving streaks on your nice clean pillowcase, sleeping in foundation can lead to clogged pores, which then can progress to blackheads and breakouts. That goes for your lashes, too: Mascara can dislodge and end up in your eyes, leading to eye irritation and even infection.
Fit it in: Many companies make premoistened makeup removal pads. No water necessaryâ€”a few quick swipes and you’re nice and clean. Quick and easy.
Snack Healthy. Sometimes you are too busy to stop and eat, and by the time your brain gets that “feed me” signal from your stomach, it’s too late. You reach for the first, most convenient thingâ€”and that’s not always a healthy thing.
Fit it in: Prepare ahead of time by filling your fridge with easy-to-grab prepared snack bags containing cut-up carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes. You can do the same with a mix of unsalted pretzels, nuts and dried fruit. Other easy-to-make-and-grab options include hard-boiled eggs, low-fat cheese sticks, snack-size cottage cheese or yogurt, whole grain crackers. Snacking on healthy, fiber-filled foods will keep your energy up and keep you from feeling hopelessly hungry and frustratingly fatigued.
Stay in Touch With Friends and Family. What’s health got to do with it? Social support networks, according to many studies, have far-reaching health benefits. A strong social network helps people cope with stressâ€”and stress is a health-buster. An Australian study that followed older people for 10 years found that those with a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22 percent. Other studies have found that people with cancer who participated in support groups lived longer than those who didn’t.
Fit it in: If you don’t have time for a phone conversation, just texting or emailing mini-updates or messages (“I’m thinking about you!”) can help you feel connected, grounded and happier.
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