If I have little time, what do I spend it on: physical activity or healthy eating?

Girona, 26.06.2023, Anna Comet

We are not adding anything new if we say that we live at a frenetic pace. Whether it is because of work, family responsibilities, social relations - very necessary, on the other hand - or because of unforeseen events that arise on a daily basis. Our pace means that we have to establish a series of priorities in order to be able to carry out everything that needs to be done during the 24 hours of a day, without forgetting that it is very important to sleep and get quality rest.


We receive inputs all the time that we must be perfect: impeccable workers; affable fathers and mothers; fun friends and, let's not forget: rest well, be clean, well groomed and always look good. And we are also told to be physically active and to eat healthily. All of this, day after day, can end up making a mountain out of a molehill.


It is true that healthy habits should be a priority in order to live healthily in the present and, above all, thinking about the future. But we end up running up against a wall, which often seems insurmountable, which is "but where do I find the time?"
We know the theory and we also know that the ideal would be to do physical activity at least three or four days a week and to eat a healthy diet. But for one thing or another, we need time and we agree that this is precisely what we lack.


Well, we are going to see how we can find a balance so that we don't have to go from 0 to 100 and, at the very least, make some small changes that will mean a small investment of time, but will focus us towards a healthier life.


One day, a person asked us: "If I have little time, what is better to spend it on, physical activity or a healthy diet? The answer is practically impossible to answer because one without the other does not make sense, but we do want to propose a series of tips to be introduced into the routine, at the pace that each person sets for themselves, according to time, priorities, interests and personal responsibilities:


  • Whenever possible, walk instead of taking transport: either from home to work; to go up the stairs at home or to the workplace instead of the lift; leave one of the stretches of public transport and do it on foot; park in a car park a little further away and approach....
  • Follow the guidelines published in this article to keep moving during the working day.
  • In your free time, play, run, jump with your children; do housework or gardening; go for a walk; meet friends for a walk and chat instead of sitting down for a beer or a coffee; go dancing...
  • Look on YouTube for classes, there are all kinds, find one that you enjoy. They don't have to be long. Short ones are always much better than nothing, maybe getting up 15 minutes earlier two or three days a week is enough.
  • Swap mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks for fruit, raw and unsalted nuts and unsweetened yogurts.
  • Combine sausage sandwiches with hummus, hard-boiled egg, canned tuna or sardinas and olive oil, avocado, good quality vegetable pâtés.
  • Swap pre-cooked dishes for tinned pulses with some vegetables that are quick and easy to clean and cut and crushed seeds (seeds, chia, linseed, sesame).
  • Do not abuse white bread, it can be replaced by wholemeal bread.
  • Change refined pasta and rice for wholemeal pasta and rice.
  • Change the way you cook: leave out the plaster and over-oily dishes; it takes just as long to grill, bake, steam or microwave.
  • Swap sauces for virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar - or some other type of vinegar with no added sugars - pepper and, for extra flavour, you can try aromatic herbs or even lemon with its peel cleaned and grated. Try to reduce the amount of salt.
  • Restrict alcohol to weekends or special occasions.
  • Coffee is a good companion - as long as we do not exceed three or four a day - the bad allies are sugar or the amount of milk we put in it. If we can cut down on these two foods, it would be better.
  • Replace sugary soft drinks - 0% or light are no good either - with water, sparkling water, water with fruit, kombucha.
  • Incorporate fermented products into your diet: quality Kombutxa drink, yogurts and kefirs, fresh cheese, etc.


Let's not get nervous, we don't need to take this list and put a new burden on ourselves. We can start with some of the options and, once we have integrated them and they are no longer a burden, we can add new ones. Maybe some won't fit or won't make us feel comfortable, so we try others. The important thing is that, little by little, we make small changes that do not require a great effort, but that will offer us small portions of health.