4 Ways career women can stay fit
Let’s face it, even as we come from different professional backgrounds and enjoy different workplace arrangements whether full-time, part-time, work from home, or freelance, most of us still live in a high-stress and expensive environment in which we are constantly pressed for time and money.
Ironically, while a healthy lifestyle has become trendy in recent years as the gym and fitness classes have become typical after-work activities, young people have taken to strenuous physical activities such as mountain climbing and biking, and home-based diet businesses are booming everywhere, many women have little or no time to spend on these activities or little cash to spare on expenses qualified as luxuries.
Largely immobile therefore and without an adequate diet, the typical career woman who spends the day glued to her desk is in the long run more vulnerable to heart-related problems, diabetes, obesity and lower physical endurance.
How, then, can we reconcile these constraints with the need to stay healthy? Here are four ways:
1. Choose to walk more and ride less
For those who live and work in Metro Manila, this is fairly easy. Dealing on a daily basis with notorious traffic and an even more notoriously overcrowded and constantly delayed MRT and LRT, walking when possible is a cheap and practical means of getting to places on time. As it is, it is increasingly common to walk from the Makati CBD to Rockwell, from Makati to BGC, and from the Ortigas CBD to Capital Commons rather than deal with the commute and traffic. Elsewhere, real estate is booming thanks to the many that stay in a condominium or apartment during the week rather than deal with the three to four hour traffic on the way home from work.
One good thing that results from the Metro’s traffic is an easy way for busy women to get their needed dose of daily exercise, complemented in the office by taking the stairs instead of the elevator for nearby floors. Significantly, these small things are popularly credited in other countries for its citizens’ long lives, especially among the older generation born before gym memberships and yoga became popular. However, an important thing to remember is that the Philippines is prone to extreme heat, so make sure to always have a full bottle of water handy while walking.
2. Eat according to a long-term goal
Internationally, Parisian women are famous for their effortless ability to maintain slim but healthy figures, which to the bafflement of everyone, is achieved without depriving themselves of three regular butter-heavy meals a day. Yet, on the other hand, this French practice makes sense. After all, most of us know the frustration of cutting down on food intake, being tempted by a rare cheat day, and then losing weight only to regain it again. While there are certainly success stories, maintaining one’s weight is very hard work and fluctuating between weights is ultimately unhealthy and potentially dangerous in the long run.
The trick is to stop thinking of diet in the short term (i.e. “I will lose x pounds in y months) and set a long-term goal that can be seriously committed to and sustained with minimal regret. Eat what you want within reason. Have one bite of chocolate everyday, have a slice of cake, eat a juicy burger for lunch then offset it with a homemade salad for dinner. The bottom line is to follow a diet that you can see yourself continuing a year from now, five years from now and so on.
3 Stock up on healthy snacks
Continuing from the previous point, one open secret Parisians have for staying fit is they don’t snack. They eat very well three times a day, but restrict their eating to only three times a day – no scoop of ice cream between meals, not even a pack of crackers. Predictably, this is easier said than done for the average Filipina who has to deal with 300+ years of a Hispanic heritage that eats at least five times a day, in addition to a real tendency among millennials to stress eat.
Fortunately, the current demand for healthier alternatives means that healthy snacks have become accessible, affordable, and most importantly, delicious enough to compete with unhealthier counterparts. At the higher end of the scale, Healthy Options serves everything from cassava chips, low-fat popcorn, to granola bars, while S&R and Landers offer the same at potentially lower prices, especially during sales. At the lower end, most supermarkets carry yogurt, which rarely exceeds PHP 30. Significantly, its flavor selection has expanded to include Greek yogurt, which can easily compete with the expensive variants in frozen yogurt stores.
4. Visit your doctor regularly
There is no way around this and ultimately, setting aside medical appointments because of a busy schedule or financial constraints may be counterproductive in the long run and entail more resources spent on medical concerns if an illness is not detected early enough. From a medical perspective, doctors ultimately give the verdict on a person’s fitness, especially qualified to give professional advice and intervene when other solutions are not enough. Importantly, this also underscores the importance of gynecologists who weigh on women-specific issues that impact on fitness such as the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) prevalent among many millennials.
It is necessary to schedule regular check-ups with a doctor and if possible, have regular Annual Physical Examinations (APE). While the coverage of tests required by this last, admittedly, often means taking time off a busy schedule, fortunately, for less comprehensive check-ups, many doctors hold clinics in the weekends and off office hours. Most covered by major healthcare providers, this at least is one less point against money expenses and time constraints.
Here at Maria Health, we believe that staying fit is very important, now more than ever as health has become one of our greatest assets. This is why we’ve partnered with the country’s top healthcare providers to give you affordable healthcare plans tailored especially to your needs and priorities, so that you can continue being the superwoman that you are.