Singaporeans tend to lead busy and fast-paced lives, with many keeping long working hours in stressful jobs. Moreover, a recent survey conducted by recruitment agency Michael Page revealed that 70% of Singaporeans continue to respond to work-related calls and emails outside of regular working hours.
This means that you may not have much personal time to spend with your family, care for your ageing parents, enjoy hobbies or leisure time, much less exercising regularly to keep fit. In the long run, this could lead to poor lifestyle habits, including eating unhealthily and living a sedentary lifestyle.
As it is, Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations and risks hitting obesity rates of 15% in the next seven years. In a study done by the Health Promotion Board in 2017, the median BMI (Body Mass Index) for adults in Singapore was 23.15, just outside the healthy range.
All hope is not lost though, because there are small and easy steps you can take to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. Be it tweaking your eating habits or managing your social life, here are five health tips for busy professionals.
1. Meal prep the night before
When things get hectic during work, thinking about how to eat healthy during lunch or dinner is probably the last thing on your mind. As a result, you might skip meals or opt for fast food because you cannot afford the time to join a long queue or be picky at the food court. This can become an unhealthy habit.
Setting aside some time the night before to prepare your lunch and dinner the next day not only helps you save money but keeps your waistline trim. Popular meal prep recipes include pasta, chicken salad, veggie sandwiches, quinoa bowls, and yoghurt parfait.
One way to make meal prep even more convenient would be to plan ahead by purchasing groceries in bulk during the weekends. Choose produce that can be stored for at least a week, such as eggs, chicken, cucumbers and beans.
While this is relatively simple and saves you valuable time during your busy work schedule, you will need the discipline to meal prep every few days. Starting small is a good way to get used to meal prep. This could mean initially preparing two to three lunches during the week. Over time, you’ll find a core set of recipes you can depend on.
2. Consider investing in desk exercise equipment
It should come as no surprise that the biggest weight gain happens when people begin work. Many employees are typically confined to their desk and coupled with long working hours, they may not have enough time or energy to keep fit and active.
One thing you can consider doing is to get exercise equipment you can use at your desk. This could include an under desk mini exercise bike, dumbbells, and resistance bands, or even submitting a suggestion to your office for an adjustable standing desk.
Desk exercise equipment only require minutes of usage each day, and can help you strengthen your muscles and keep your body moving, even if you are stuck at your desk most of the day. What’s more, your body will also be pumped with endorphins to energise you, and help tackle stress and lethargy.
3. Reject unnecessary social engagements
We only have 24 hours a day. Between work, family commitments and getting sufficient sleep, it does not leave a lot of time for meals with friends, drink sessions and parties. While rejecting such outings can initially induce FOMO, you will be thankful for giving yourself some much-needed downtime.
This does not mean you should reject all social gatherings. Instead, you need to prioritise your engagements so that you do not get worn out or cut corners in more important areas of your life, such as quality family time, getting adequate sleep, exercising and performing at work.
Besides, by reducing such engagements, you cut down on eating and drinking unhealthily. As an added benefit, you’ll also save money to put towards other things in your life that matter more.
4. Set a routine and stick to it
If you really have no options to exercise during or after work, the only way to keep fit is to wake up earlier in the morning.
Succeeding at this routine also means adhering to a strict sleep schedule to ensure that your body still gets the rest it needs. It is understandable if you have to burn the midnight oil occasionally due to work commitments, but if sleeping late and waking up just in time for work becomes a habit, your health will suffer in the long run.
Another routine you can include in your life is consuming health supplements at a regular time each day. Magnesium supplements have been proven to fight tiredness, as they play an important role in maintaining healthy levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Magnesium also helps improve sleep quality, allowing you to experience deeper sleep.
Change starts from you
Taking these baby steps to achieve a healthy lifestyle can lead to a happier you. While there is some effort that you still need to put in, the benefits should far outweigh the cost.
If you need an extra boost of motivation, AIA Vitality allows you to earn rewards, receive cashbacks on your insurance policies, provide discounts for health screenings and assessments, gym memberships and fitness devices.
To start earning AIA Vitality points, simply stay active and eat well to elevate your health status in the programme to access bigger and better rewards. AIA Vitality not only rewards you for living well, but also provides you with tools and support to understand your health, and how to improve it.
Encouraging you to eat healthier and pack healthier ingredients for your meal preps, AIA Vitality is offering up to 20% cashback on HealthyFood™ products at Cold Storage. This food range includes vegetables, fruit, high-fibre carbohydrate-rich foods, protein-rich foods, dairy products, lentils and legumes, and healthy fats and oils.
Grow your wealth and use your free time to keep fit
For many, the end-goal to working hard in your career is to be able to live well, provide for your family and retire well. Your health goes hand-in-hand with your wealth in being able to achieve this.
This is why we have recently launched AIA Platinum Wealth Elite, a new policy to help our clients meet their wealth creation and wealth protection objectives.
AIA Platinum Wealth Elite lets you invest confidently by providing access to funds managed by world-renowned investment management firms, including Baillie Gifford, BlackRock and Wellington Management. It also gives you the flexibility to invest in a fund that is aligned to your risk appetite and financial goals.
On the other end of the spectrum, AIA Platinum Wealth Elite also seeks to provide financial security for you and your family in adverse life scenarios. With a death benefit payout and terminal illness benefit, you and your family have the added peace of mind that the financial plans you have set in place will not get derailed due to unforeseen circumstances.