In our busy, stress-filled lives, the most important thing we can do is take care of ourselves. With all of the craziness in our schedules, it can be hard to find time to do what’s necessary to make sure we are staying healthy and happy.
To help you manage your time, and take care of your most important resource, your body, here are ten fitness hacks that will save you time and energy, while improving the quality of your life. These fitness hacks will help you sleep better, get in better shape, and get more done, without adding unnecessary stress to your schedule.
1. Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed
When you look at the television screen, computer screen, or phone, the artificial light stimulates the area of your brain that regulates relaxation and sleep. If you find you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, try reading before bed rather than watching TV, to avoid stimulating your brain and messing up your body’s internal clock.
2. Spend five minutes meditating before sleep
Stress can make it very hard to sleep at night. If you spend just five minutes focusing on your breathing, you can help yourself relax and calm down before bed. If you’re new to meditation, an app like Headspace can help you practice and learn. Otherwise, just turn off any electronics, sit still, and try to focus on nothing but your breathing for at least five minutes (or until you fall asleep).
3. Use Tim Ferriss’s index card method
When you face an overwhelming amount of tasks, steal this method from famous life-hacker Tim Ferriss, rather than shutting down. Each morning, take an index card, write down the two things you absolutely must get done that day, and carry it with you. When you feel overwhelmed, just look at your card and focus on those tasks. An index card limits the size of your to-do list can be.
4. Each night, make a list of the next day’s tasks
This will aid productivity, and help you clear your mind before bed. Each night, simply write down the tasks you know you have to get done the next day, starting with the most important one. As you go about your day, work your way down the list, crossing them off as you complete them. Crossing things off a physical list can also help you feel more accomplished, and keep you motivated as you go about your day.
5. Use bodyweight circuits to stay fit at home
The gym is a huge time and money commitment. Find challenging bodyweight circuits, and you’ll be able to work out at home, without spending hours and money at the gym. Focus on compound movements and workout routines, like squats, lunges, pushups, planks, and leg lifts, and you’ll train all the major movements.
6. Perform fast exercises or stretches during television commercial breaks (or between Netflix episodes)
The most common excuse to not exercise is lack of time, yet most of us watch TV regularly. During television breaks, get up and do something – 10 burpees, 15 crunches, or some stretching; it all adds up at the end of the day.
7. Start each day with a pinch of Himalayan salt and lime juice in water
According to legendary strength and wellness expert, Charles Poliquin, drinking a glass of water mixed with Himalayan pink salt and lime juice each morning helps balance your pH, gives you energy, and keeps your internal processes running smoothly. Plus it tastes good, and after a long night’s rest, you need to rehydrate. Salt will help your body retain more of that water.
8. Drink a large glass of water every time you eat
Every time you eat, even if it’s a snack, be sure to drink a large glass of water during your meal. Not only will this ensure you stay adequately hydrated, but it may also help you eat less if you are trying to be mindful of your portions.
9. Drink a glass of low-fat chocolate milk after you exercise
After a physically demanding activity, such as a tough workout, you’ll want to supply your body with carbs and protein to help you refuel and recover. Sure, you can mix a fancy protein shake, or go to the local juice bar, but something like chocolate milk provides a quick and tasty protein and carb-filled treat. Yes, it has sugar, but after a strenuous workout, your body will use most of those carbs and protein to replenish your exhausted muscles.
10. Spend five minutes stretching after each workout
If you skip stretching, you’re putting yourself on the fast track to a tight, stiff, and sore body. Take five minutes after each workout to properly cool down and stretch. Even if you only have 30 minutes in the gym, spend those last 5 stretching – it will do wonders for your recovery.