Do you monitor your health as carefully as your bottom line? You check your financial statements regularly, so why aren’t you doing the same with your health? Continuous quality improvement is just as important for your health as it is for your business, according to Dr. Stephen Devries, a preventive cardiologist and director of the educational nonprofit Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology. And it’s never too late to start.
Being an entrepreneur is tough – sometimes you simply just can’t juggle everything. Get the kids to school on time, finish paperwork, file taxes, pick up dry cleaning, meet with the attorney – all by 5 p.m. You’re exhausted, and sometimes it’s just easier to hit the drive through on the way home, or pick up some salty treat when you’re filling up at the gas station. What many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that investing a small amount of time and attention to yourself and your health can leverage huge benefits-including more energy for your business …and your personal life. Dr. Devries provides us with a few changes we can make to keep business booming by staying more sharp, healthy and alert:
Monitor your snacking. Just a few nutrition tweaks can significantly impact how you feel on a daily basis – put down that cookie or sugary protein bar. Next time you are going to be in all day meetings, jetting across country, or lecturing across the city, there are a few things you need to throw in your laptop bag or purse to keep you fueled until your next meal. Power snacks like almonds or walnuts don’t have a lot of sugar, but provide you with heart-healthy protein and fats which don’t raise your sugar levels quickly and keep you feeling full, longer. And, you can easily pick up pre-packaged single packs on your next trip to the grocery store! Another great snack is a piece of fruit, like an apple or banana, and if you want to treat yourself, dark chocolate does the trick (try to keep it above 70% cocoa!).
Lunch smarter. Just because the food is organic, doesn’t mean that a burrito at your favorite place is healthy. That flour tortilla can boost your sugar levels fast, which can result in a crash, you wanting more food, and then the cycle continues. Instead, opt for a bowl and fill it with nutritious beans, hearty proteins, fresh tomato salsa, and even brown rice. Also, try to nix the bread and wraps at your local sandwich shop. Starches are a huge calorie load and they’re quickly converted into sugar. In addition, add as many dark leafy greens to your weekday lunch as you can. The salad bar is your best bet to get the most nutrient heavy meal – beans, grilled chicken, lean turkey, kale, spinach, blueberries, this is a power lunch that will take you through to 5pm.
Walk it off. You just had a healthy lunch, now what? Recent studies show that walking for 30 minutes after a meal, even at a slow pace, reduces the sugar released in the bloodstream by nearly 50 percent! Go out to eat, then find 30 minutes to walk back to your office – you will notice a huge difference in how you feel the rest of the day.
Get up and stretch. We all sit at our jobs, but excessive amounts without any movement can be seriously detrimental to your health. Studies show that people who get up every hour to take a 2 minute walk have a surprising increase in longevity over a 4 year period. Not a bad payoff for a quick spin to the water cooler or a circuit around the office! The easiest way to remind yourself to move is by setting an hourly alert on your computer or phone. Many people feel like they can’t take time out for a break, but they don’t realize that a short break will allow them to stay healthy-and accomplish even more.
Don’t forget to work your mind out, too. As everyone knows, it’s optimal to get 150 minutes a week of exercise. Broken down, that’s five days a week of walking at a quick pace for 30 minutes. Forgo the cab and grab a Divvy bike or fast walk to the train instead of taking the bus. But also, try and work your mind out too. Yoga and meditation are key to de-stressing after a long day. This doesn’t have to be something you do for an hour, either. Turn off your phone for 10 minutes, concentrate on your breathing, relax as you inhale and exhale, and reap the benefits of less stress and improved focus.
To learn more about how to keep yourself healthy, check out the free resources available from the Gaples Institute at www.GaplesInstitute.org or contact Dr. Stephen Devries at Integrate@GaplesInstitute.org.