Let me guess. You’re still carrying a little extra weight from your holidays and you want to trim down a bit? Or maybe you’ve been gunning for that promotion, putting in the extra hours at work, sacrificing some of your recreational activities and exercise, and grabbing some fast food at lunch or on the way home from work?
Maybe you’ve noticed in the last few years, you’ve been putting on a little bit of padding in the mid-section and it doesn’t seem to come off as easily as it used to, or you get tired more easily than you did in your 20’s.
The bad news is, as you get older, you have to do more work to stay in shape and watch what you eat and drink a little more carefully. You also may have to reconsider or even stop some of the things you used to do, like drinking too much, smoking or playing heavy contact sports. The good news is that Basel is an awesome place to get fit and stay healthy.
This post will give you information on ways you can stay healthy, fit and trim in Basel, but remember, it will take hard work, self-control and it won’t happen overnight! You should definitely talk to your physician about before trying to lose weight, starting an exercise program or quitting smoking. They can also provide advice on quitting smoking or other aspects of improving your health.
Eating Right in Basel
Eating right is the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy and fit in Basel. Healthy eating should not be about staying depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, but about making small changes to your eating behaviors to improve your health. Eating more fresh vegetables, cooking your meals at home, and reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates are important aspects of eating healthy in Basel.
- Cook your own meals as often as possible – Cooking at home allows you to control what you put into your meals. Having difficulty finding time to shop? Try the Migros LeShop program. They usually have a free voucher for your first purchase as an incentive to check things out, and they deliver right to your door. You can request delivery during the day, in the evening (from 4.30 pm – 8 pm) or on Saturday morning (from 9am – noon). Still too much effort? Go to HelloFresh, where they show up at your door with all the ingredients pre-selected and a recipe for you to follow. Maybe you don’t know any healthy recipies? You can order easy, paperless cookbooks that focus on preparing quick, healthy and delicious meals regardless of whether you want to lose weight or increase your muscle mass.
- Make healthy substitutions – Replace unhealthy foods in your diet with healthy alternatives. Have grilled chicken, instead of fried. Order a side salad or seasonal vegatables with your meal instead of french fries. Have whole wheat bread or pasta instead of their refined flour equivalents. Try spreading mashed avocado on your sandwich instead of butter or mayonnaise.
- Get fresh – Wherever possible opt for fresh, varied foods over their packaged and processed counterparts.
- Learn to read the labels – You’d be surprise about how much sugar, fat and other junk is in packaged food claiming to be healthy.
- Make sure you get enough protein – Not only is protein important to build muscle and maintain your body, but its also very satisfying to your appetite. If you increase the amount of protein you eat, you’re less likely to reach for the potato chips or scarf down that pastry. One great way to increase your protein intake is by drinking protein shakes. You can get protein powder for shakes in assorted flavours from most sports stores, gyms or just order it online.
Drink plenty of water – Water helps your body to function efficiently and just drinking it uses up energy burning calories (it heats the water to body temperature before you excrete it). Don’t spend your life dehydrated. Drink water. Lots of it. This will also reduce your hunger, making it easier for you to make healthy food choices.
- Supplements – If you plan your meals well, your diet should contain sufficient vitamins and minerals to support your health. If you’re not eating well, or have a substantially reduced the amount of food you’re eating in order to lose weight, you might need to supplement your diet with vitamins. You can buy these at most grocery stores or pharmacies, but there are lots of online shops where you can also get supplements you might want.
- Eating out – You need to be careful when you go out to eat, as its really easy to go overboard on both the food and the drinks. Opt for grilled fish or chicken, with a starter or side salad. You can have dessert, but consider healthy options like a fruit salad. As you can’t control the ingredients or portion size at a restaurant, try to only eat out on special occasions.
Exercising in Basel
If you’re comfortable with your weight, but you want to tone up or build some muscle, then you need to start exercising. Depending on what you like doing, you’ve got a world of options in Basel…are you an outdoor person who loves getting back to nature? Do you prefer competitive athletics like playing sports against other people as a team or one on one? Maybe you want to have your workouts in the same environment regardless of the season or the weather outside, or need special equipment to help your training program. Or maybe you want to train at home?
Outdoor Workouts – Want to get out of the house and do something outside? Hiking is a great workout and there are loads of trails in the region. Want something a little more vigorous? Think about a Vitaparcours, where you run or walk along a fitness trail equipped with obstacles or exercise stations distributed along its length like stepping posts, chin-up bars and climbing bars. Try the local Vitaparcours Basel near the Tierpark Lange Erlen. Like to swim? Think about going swimming in the Rhine during the summer for a great outdoor workout. Keeping it simple and spartan? Buy a good set of trainers and start running. You can do it anywhere, it gets you to places and its good for you too!
- Competitive Sports – Whether you want to play on a team or you’re interested in more one on one athletics, you can probably find it in Basel. In fact, the city has a database where you can find information about whatever sport you might want to play.
Joining a Gym – There are multiple gyms across Basel, but before you sign up, be sure you check that your employer doesn’t already have an onsite gym. Company gyms are generally cheaper than private facilities, and often more convenient. For a one year membership, you can expect to pay somewhere between 600 CHF – 1800 CHF. Most gyms will offer a contract for a year, often payable by the month. If you’re around for less than a year, be sure to ask if they have shorter term memberships. There are many small neighborhood gyms located all over the city, so if proximity is important to you, use a gymfinder. You should talk to the staff when you join so they can show you how to use the equipment and split your time between resistance training (weights) and cardiovascular fitness.
- Training at home – If you don’t have a dedicated space for weights and other training equipment in your home that doesn’t mean you can’t still train at home. There are great materials to guide you in doing workouts using your own bodyweight for resistance. This is also a very inexpensive option to get fit.
Things to Stop Doing
Smoking – It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much you smoke, this is something you need to stop as soon as possible. Smoking will wreck your heart and lungs, in addition to making you smell awful. Stopping smoking is really difficult, but you don’t need to do it alone. There are helpful guides to help you quit and support programs available locally.
Drinking too much or too often – Heavy or binge drinking wrecks havoc on your body, (including reducing your ability to metabolize fat if you’re trying to lose weight). It also lowers your sleep quality, impairs your jugdement and causes long term damage to multiple organ systems.