It’s no coincidence that many of the popular goals on 43 things are related to health and fitness. Stereotypical as it may seem, office-bound workers are normally not as physically active as those in other occupations, and probably not the healthiest eaters during the business day, either.

This situation is even further compounded if you are a business owner or a freelancer; your lifestyle is likely to be even more hectic than others, and skipping lunch or exercise is a common occurrence.

Let’s consider this sobering fact–if you end up very sick, or worse still, hospitalised, the business is going to suffer more than had you spent some time every week looking after yourself. You’ll also take longer to recover than if you’d gone for that 30-minute walk each morning.

Of course, we don’t normally think of these situations until they happen to us. Maybe we would listen more seriously if the marketing pitch for fitness and wellbeing were more along the lines of “health and wellness is the best business insurance.” It works for term life insurance and other industries.

However, there’s always a list of excuses available to you. Too busy, too many meetings, too hot or cold outside, too many emails to answer, and the like. You can embrace these excuses and do nothing about your wellbeing, or you can set them aside and do something about your health.

So, where to start? Let’s look at the basics of the improvements we can make to our lifestyles fairly easily:

  • Eat well. There are plenty of diets and other programs out there, but the facts are quite simple–eat a variety of foods from all the main food groups, and eat everything in moderation. Sure, we all grab fast food once in a while, but it’s back to that moderation clause. See the tried and true Food Pyramid for more information.
  • Drink water. It’s said that you should try and drink 50-75% of your body weight (pounds) in ounces. For example, if you weigh 130lb (59kg), you should drink 50fl/oz (1.9L) of water per day. See this useful article for further tips.
  • Reduce your consumption of alcohol. Most of us wouldn’t deny enjoying that wine or beer, but if you find yourself drinking every day, it’s time to consider your lifestyle choices carefully.
  • Quit smoking. This is an obvious one. Did you know that smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the US?
  • Exercise regularly. I’m sure you are like me, and don’t have two spare hours a day to exercise. However, with a little planning, there’s no reason why you couldn’t find 30 minutes per day or every second day to look after your most important asset.
  • Manage stress. I know, I know; easy to suggest, not so easy to do. However, recent studies have shown that stress is responsible for 60-90% of illnesses, so it’s crucial that you look at ways to reduce your stress level. See’s Understanding Stress page for some figures and ideas.
  • Control your work/life balance. It’s great that you work hard, but it’s equally important that you live life too. Take time for social activities, and learn to recognize and acknowledge when you need time out. Control the hours you work, and balance them with other rewarding pursuits.

This all sounds so easy, doesn’t it? The point is that we can all make little changes over time to improve our lifestyles. Read on for nine tips for looking after your health–you can even do them during your lunch break.

This post first appeared as part of Issue 415 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I was co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.

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