So you go to the gym three times a week. Congratulations! However, you're not going to be slapped with the health stamp of approval just yet. Here's an example of one very healthy day from Canada.com:
- 6 a.m. Work out early. Exercise adherence is better among morning exercisers who get their workout in before the day's chores get in the way. A 30-60 minute run, walk, swim, or bike ride before your household wakes up is a great way to start the day.
- 7:15 a.m. Eat a hearty breakfast. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, people who eat a healthy breakfast that contains more than one-quarter of their daily calories consumed less fat and more carbohydrates during the day than people who skimped on food in the morning. Breakfast lovers have also been shown to consume more essential vitamins and minerals than non-breakfast eaters, plus they generally have lower serum cholesterol levels, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. For a healthy breakfast, choose toasted whole grain bread or high-fibre breakfast cereal. Add fruit and a source of protein like peanut butter or low-fat yogurt.
- 8 a.m. Ride the bus or train to work. Reduce the environmental impact of your commute and take public transportation to work. Get off one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way to the office. Not only is the fresh air a nice respite from the crowds on the bus or mtro, a 15-20-minute walk to work allows you time to plan your day while burning extra calories and contributing to overall good health.
- 8:45 a.m. Take the stairs, not the elevator or escalator. Health Canada claims stair climbers have stronger legs, heart and lungs than those who use the elevator. The agency also states that climbing just two flights of stairs every day could result in a loss of 2.7 kg (6 pounds) per year. And for those who want to take their stair habit a little farther, climbing six flights a day can lead to a potential loss of 18 pounds a year.
There are still about 12 hours to go, so
- 10 a.m. Get up and stretch your legs. Researchers at Queensland University in Australia found workers who log more than six hours of chair time a day are up to 68 per cent more likely to be overweight than those who sit less. Plus, too much time sitting puts a strain on your back, says spine specialist Stuart McGill of the University of Waterloo. McGill recommends standing up and moving around for a few minutes every hour to give your back a break.
- 10:30 a.m. Enjoy a mid-morning snack. Nibbling on a light snack midmorning will keep blood sugar levels steady and improve your ability to concentrate. Combine protein and carbs for both satiety and energy. Try fruit and yogurt, crackers and peanut butter or an apple and string cheese for a quick and easy snack you can eat at your desk.
- 12:30 p.m. Eat lunch. Avoid the pitfalls of calorie-rich and vitamin-deficient fast food, and eat your own lunch made at home. A healthy noon meal mixes lean protein and healthy carbs; like turkey, roast beef, tuna or egg salad with light mayo, mustard or hummus on a whole-wheat pita or tortilla. Add tomato slices and dark green leafy lettuce for extra vitamins and minerals. A piece of fruit and a glass of milk, water or tomato juice completes your mid-day meal. Then head outside for a 20-minute walk to re-energize for the afternoon ahead.
- 3 p.m. Don't send that email. Push away from your desk and talk to your colleague face to face. A mid-afternoon stroll will ease some of the postural strain of slumping over a computer for hours on end. It will also give you an excuse to take the stairs one more time before heading home.
- 4 p.m. Have a late-afternoon snack. Keep a handful of nuts in a zip-lock bag in your desk, and dip into it during that late-afternoon energy slump that often sends you to the vending machine in search of a bag of chips. Nuts are filling and contain healthy fats that help fight heart disease.
- 6:30 p.m. Eat dinner. Serve enough veggies to cover one-third of your plate. Round out your dinner with a portion of meat that fits in the palm of your hand and a small helping of whole-grain rice or potatoes. And whatever you do, don't turn on the TV. A University of Pittsburgh study found men who watch TV while eating consume about 288 more calories than those who don't.
- 7:30 p.m. Go for a walk. Get in another 15-20 minute walk after dinner, boosting your cumulative walking time to 60 minutes a day - twice the recommended exercise minimum. Bring the kids with you and create a family ritual that is both healthy and fun.
- 10 p.m. Grab some shut-eye. All that exercise should help you fall asleep. According to Shawn Youngstedt, a sleep researcher at the University of California, San Diego, exercise has effects similar to sleeping pills. So go ahead and nod off. You've earned it.