5 Guaranteed Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive

Fundamental Financial is an entrepreneurial lender. We exist to empower high-growth entrepreneurs, and we can provide them the best lending solutions because we are entrepreneurs ourselves. Starting a business often means long hours, missed meals and workouts, and added stress. While those things may be the short-term cost of long-term success, you can’t enjoy success without your health. So as your go-to source for entrepreneurial resources, we wanted to pass along a few easy ways to start living healthy today that will ultimately equal more productivity down the road. Check out Inc. Magazine’s 5 Guaranteed Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive below.

You are your business, points out Inc. Contributing Editor Jeff Haden. As obvious as it seems, you don’t always maximize your company’s most valuable asset: you. The pressures of work and family make it tough to focus on being healthy, he writes. But that doesn't mean you can't change a few simple things that will make a huge difference. After all, Haden says, success is never overnight but is the result of a series of small, incremental, repeated steps.

Every day, start doing these simple things.

1. Drink one glass of water 20 minutes before you eat.

We all need to drink more water. But instead of trying to start drinking 10 glasses of water a day, just drink a glass before you eat lunch and dinner. Plus, there's a side benefit if you're trying to control your weight: If you drink before you eat, when you sit down at the table you'll already feel a little more full and won't be as tempted to eat past the point of hunger. Need convincing that drinking more water is a good thing? Even mild cases of dehydration make you feel more gloomy and pessimistic, possibly because certain neurons may detect dehydration and alert areas of the brain that impact your mood.

2. Eat lunch differently.

Should you eat differently at every meal? Probably so -- but going all in is almost impossible to maintain. So just pick one meal to change. The easiest is lunch. But what’s a healthy meal? It includes one portion of protein (consider a portion an amount that fits in the palm of your hand), a vegetable, and a piece of fruit. That could be a chicken breast, some carrots, and an apple. Other options include a can of tuna, a couple of cucumbers, and a banana. Or try a piece of fish and a small salad. If you're a vegetarian, avoid useless carbs in your meal. Think of it this way: A healthy lunch gives you plenty of energy for the afternoon. See it not as a "meal" but as "high-performance fuel" that makes you more productive.

3. Take a short walk.

One benefit of eating a healthy lunch is that you'll have a little time left over. (Or, if you want to free up more free time, eat what you brought for lunch while you're working.) Then get up, get out, and take a walk. Get out and get some fresh air. Or do what LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner does and try walking meetings: Not only will new scenery change your perspective, but you'll have many fewer distractions as well. A 15- or 20-minute walk will let you burn a few calories, burn off some stress, and feel better when you climb back into the work saddle. And you'll start to make fitness a part of your daily lifestyle without adding to your already busy schedule.

4. Help someone out.

Doing something for others doesn't just help those in need; it can also improve your mental health and help you live longer. Some studies show that volunteering can lower cholesterol. Of course, you don't have to formally volunteer. An easier way is to be alert for times when someone you work with needs a little help. Then pitch in; not only will you feel better about yourself, you'll build better connections and professional relationships while helping someone who really needs help but probably would never have asked.

5. Go to bed earlier and get more sleep.

Generally speaking, you need seven or eight hours of sleep a night. (I know--you're not getting that much. But you should.) So go to bed earlier and get up around sunrise. The more daylight hours you're awake, the higher your levels of vitamin D. Research shows vitamin D deficiencies are widespread -- which is unfortunate, since vitamin D impacts genes that help you resist autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and even cancer. So start going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, and start making hay while the sun shines. As a bonus, you'll get a head start on your competition -- and that's an advantage you can always use.