When the school year starts, so does the added stress of helping kids with their homework, attending extracurricular activities, waking up early, and carpooling. With all of these conflicting and time-consuming priorities, staying fit and sneaking in a visit to the gym can sometimes fall to the bottom of the priority list.
This year, there’s no need to compromise between staying healthy and getting things done. Here are the top 5 best ways to go back-to-school and keep your body and mind healthy.
1. Manage Your Stress
Minimize stress by doing at least one enjoyable activity each day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Make a list of ten activities you enjoy and plan to do one everyday. For example, hiking, reading, listening to music, yoga, dancing, playing piano, meditating, baking or taking a hot bath. Leave passive stimulation like TV and video games off the list.
Your enjoyable activity should be a priority, and you need to make time for it. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and thinking “I don’t have time for that,” stop and think about what a little bit of enjoyment means to you and your day. If you can’t find thirty minutes a day to do something you enjoy, you need to re-think the priorities in your life.
2. Walk Everyday
Aim to walk briskly for at least thirty minutes every day. Walking is an easy activity to do every day, and can be done with or without your kids, but depending on where you live and your lifestyle, it might take some planning.
Here are some ways to build walking into your lifestyle:
- If your household mail is delivered to a mail box, take a longer route or walk around the block 2-3 times when getting your daily mail.
- If possible, plan to walk your kids to and/or from school
- Walk to the grocery store
- Plan brisk walks in the mall or shopping centre while you are running errands
3. Eat Well
Making lunches and planning meals is a big part of the back-to-school routine. While our kids will usually get a balanced meal full of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, we sometimes overlook our own needs and eat junky foods that are convenient and quick to prepare. Add yourself to the meal plans and make sure that healthy foods that you enjoy are readily available for you to consume.
Build in some time to play. There’s a good chance that when you get home from pick ups or carpooling, your kids run straight to the yard to play. This is often the cue for some parents to quickly get dinner ready and on the table, or steal a few minutes to catch up on social media. At least once a week, use a slow cooker or bake your meal, and take some time to go and play with your kids. Kick a ball, play catch, push them on a swing or walk with them to the park and you’ll find that playing can be an amazing aerobic workout.
5. Monitor Long Periods of Sitting
Many people spend their days in an office environment where they are expected to sit and work on a computer for many hours. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your overall health and increase your risk in many diseases. When sitting for long periods your “metabolism of fat and glucose becomes sluggish” which can lead to weight gain.
Monitor the amount of time you are sitting, and take breaks to get your blood circulating. This could mean walking up the stairs to another floor to use the bathroom or get a glass of water. If feasible, get a stand up desk and alternate your work space every few minutes.