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How to Be Healthy 24/7

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

  • 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.


Join The Conversation
rosaxoxo rosaxoxo 9 years
That would be a good schedule only if i had time for half of that. Really good schedule but i only get about 20 min of exercise a day how do u get 60?
almostloli almostloli 9 years
sucha-super-healthy-fixed-daily-schedule :D
mem952 mem952 9 years
i like the post-dinner walk idea.
texgirl texgirl 9 years
Well ... I just graduated from college and am in my first job in public relations. Needless to say I enjoy PR but sometimes the work is a bit tedious. And one of my clients is based on the west coast --- hence the long hours. But the overtime pay makes up for it a bit.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
I am just wondering what do the people do on this board where they have to work until 10 at night. I am an engineering so I work sometimes long but I always keep my routine. My father is a vice-president for the number 4 biggest engineering company in the US and he only works 4 days a week and one day a week from home. He keeps a 7-5 schedule. What do ya'll do to have to work so late?
texgirl texgirl 9 years
i agree with a lot of you ... it sounds ideal and every once in a while i can manage to workout at that time but when i work from 8 - 9:30 or 10 at night it makes it difficult to have any sort of a routine. i force myself to workout during "dinner" and i rarely ever eat at 12:30 or 6:30 ... that's just not logical. i'd love to hear suggestions from someone who is or has been in my shoes because it's definitely difficult to maintain being "healthy 24/7" and i'm jealous of those that are able to be.
mon-repos mon-repos 10 years
this is a great schedule.... but sure isn't for me.... already up at 4:30, must have everyone ready and out of the house by 6.... A twenty minute walk at lunch? I get fourty minutes total for lunch (not one minute more) and this is my one bathroom break, make any phone calls, eat a snack/lunch break in my work day. If I am lucky I get dinner on and can let it cook while I get in a fragmented workout. There is no room in this schedule for running the carpool, making a last minute "costume" for the school play, helping with algebra. I'm just a little jealous right now.
c0rkie c0rkie 10 years
this is great! i need this :D
Feesje Feesje 10 years
Okay, I tried the morning workout today. I went running for half an hour before breakfast. Turns out it wasn't as awful as I thought. :) And I guess it's healthier than evening workouts because there's more oxygen in the air in the morning.
amandad32 amandad32 10 years
For all of you who are concerned about whether or not to eat before your morning workout, I thought I would share my routine with you. I generally wake up and drink a Slim Fast shake, or some kind of Protein shake and then hit the gym. Come home, shower, and about 30 minutes after I get to work, I am hungry again, so I have my mid-morning snack. Which you could just replace with your regular breakfast choice, just a smaller portion. Like wheat toast, egg whites, etc. Or a granola bar or something. I am one of those people who is sort of naturally thin, but I eat ALL the time, always hungry...but this method of consuming calories in shake form before the gym foregoes any cramps, and then you can eat what you actually want for breakfast mid morning. Hope this helps!
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 10 years
Urgh, i work on the fourth floor and our building only has emergency stairs!!! They lead you outside. It SUCKS. We HAVE to take the elevators. Annoying.
discocactus discocactus 10 years
I'm not totally convinced about the fresh air part-I'm always hearing about how bad it is for your lungs to run/walk in cities along congested traffic routes. Also, I get tired of this assumption that everyone has the same kind of job where they work 9-5 in an office and live in a city with a decent public transport system. (And apparently have no other responsibilities or obligations.) It'd be nice to read something that doesn't make this same assumption over and over again. If things were this simple there wouldn't be a need for exercise and diet advice.
Buffy2103 Buffy2103 10 years
It took me awhile to get used to working out in the morning, but now I can't imagine not working out before work. I work for a minor league baseball team, and during the summer when we have games, I can be at work from 9am until as late as 11:30pm or 12am. So, that leaves the only time for me to workout in the morning. I get up between 5-5:30 am and go for a run. Its early and sometimes I don't want to, but I know I will feel better all day if I get the miles in.
blackjade blackjade 10 years
I thought I'd hate it, but I really love working out in the morning. The gym isn't full of people hogging machines by "resting" for several minutes between sets, and those who spend more time looking at themselves in the mirror than working out. Since there are fewer people I can generally do exactly what I want in the order I want without having to spend a lot of time waiting so I'm more apt to try new things and I typically finish in about 45 minutes (5:15-6am). I stretch for another 10 minutes or so - which is the most difficult part of a morning workout because I'm so stiff in the morning - I try to stretch again before dinner. I use 45 minutes of my lunch break to go for a walk - which is helpful since in my building the stairs are for emergency use only (very annoying).
SugarIsSweeter01 SugarIsSweeter01 10 years
I love morning workouts, and I agree that eating before an AM workout is not absolutely necessary. If anything, I've heard that working out on an empty stomach in the AM can help your body tap into fat stores, since there is no "easy" calorie fuel available to convert into energy =)
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 10 years
You are always supposed to grab something after your workout. Your body will be looking for something to use for recovery and if you don't provide it with a healthy food, it will break your muscle mass down for a snack of that. Muscle is way easier for your body to use than fat so don't think you are helping yourself by skipping snacks. Half a banana would be perfect for before and after workout snacks. Also will not weigh you down. I love morning workouts. I get up at 5:30 for mine since I have to be at work for 8 am. I work 10 hours a day so after-work time is usually spent reading since I'm so exhausted. I also work on the 8th floor so I may try the stairs thing but sweat and wool do not go together very well.
krissy1248 krissy1248 10 years
I LOVE jogging early in the morning when no one is awake yet. I'll go out at about 5 am. I only drink water before hand. Anything else make me feel sluggish.
hotstuff hotstuff 10 years
you wont pass out if you dont eat before working out. Trust me I do it everyday and I'm fine. I get up, work out. Shower then do whatever I need to do. Sometimes I'm not even hungry after working out so I eat later in the day.
Calimie Calimie 10 years
There's no way I'm exercising at 6 am, I like my bed way too much. I'd rather work out in the evening, early mornings kill me.
total total 10 years
I have to admit that I can't do as much as I would when working out in the evening, but I haven't been light-headed or weak-kneed. It may be because I eat dinner usually between 7 and 8:00? In any case, it's worth a try.. you might like it.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 10 years
I work a 9 to 5 ish schedule and I LOVE working out in the morning before work. It's a much more efficient way to wake up than coffee, I've found. I still haven't figured out a good way to handle the whole breakfast before or after thing though. I usually don't have time to eat breakfast before, wait an hour, then go workout. It's easier to eat a breakfast bar or banana on the way to work.... but you definitely have more energy if you eat before.
laurenhalpert laurenhalpert 10 years
I wish I could get up and work out, but my bed is so comfy. What I do is leave work at 5 and walk to the gym (about 7 blocks), then work out when I get there. After that, I walk to the furthest El station I can go to, so instead of leaving the gym and walking 2 blocks to the 12th St. stop, I walk to the 2nd St. stop.
Feesje Feesje 10 years
total: and don't you feel weak in the legs or something? I really think I would pass out if I'd work out first thing in the morning. But maybe I should just give it a try and see for myself.
total total 10 years
Feesje, I find eating breakfast before an a.m. workout tends to give me cramps. I like getting everything ready the night before and walking to the gym at 6 a.m. for my workout. When I get to work I enjoy oatmeal and fruit at my desk to start the day (and breakfast tastes so good when you've worked up an appetite!). I do after-work workouts instead some days when I want to spend a bit more time at the gym or do a class.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 10 years
I've tried the morning workouts, and it only works for me on the weekends. Otherwise, I workout in the afternoon. I've read many other studies which say it doesn't matter what time you workout anyway. The point is that I can stick with it if I do it in the afternoons, but I can't if I try to set the alarm for an hour earlier in the morning.
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