Blog courtesy of Professional Development Coach at TDM, Melanie Eastwood.
Another thing to fit into the busy schedule – looking after yourself by getting some daily exercise in! It might seem impossible, but a suggestion could be employing the hours between 9 and 5 for physical as well as fiscal ends, for the good of your health, your physique, and your career?
Utterly impossible, you say? You’re desk-bound, phone-bound, and computer-bound to boot? Perhaps not to the degree you think.
Besides, even if you can manage to burn only an additional 100 calories at work per day, that’s still two-thirds of the minimum daily requirement of 150 calories needed to satisfy your 1,000-calorie-a-week calorie burn quota. And it’s enough to burn off seven pounds of fat in a year!
Exercise energises naturally by summoning blood sugar (glucose) from the liver at a rate the pancreas can live with. The result is a more subtle but lasting energy boost not followed by the sort of crash caused by the likes of a muffin and cappuccino. Exercise also decreases your craving for that snack. Considering all the other benefits of exercise, you’d have to be a little nutty not to consider it as a mid-morning boost. Why consume calories for energy, after all, when you can combust them instead? Fit exercise into your schedule.
- Take a 5-10 minute walk break in your day when you normally take a coffee break to give your eyes a rest from the screen
- Take your lunch break! Don’t work through it. Spend 1/2 your lunch break outdoors on a walk away from your screen and the other half actually getting your lunch.
- If your lunch break is long enough why not incorporate a run in the middle of the day so you don’t have to run in the evenings and miss out on family time? Use your time wisely!
Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day might sound effortless but that’s not how it feels at the end of the day. Sitting for this length of time imposes tremendous stress on the back and does nothing to aid circulation.
- Move from side to side on your chair, raising your hip up towards your shoulder, alternating left to right. This stretches your back hips, and shoulders.
- Keeping your back straight and your arms on the armrests of your chair lift your foot until your leg is straight and, breathing, hold it for a few seconds. Repeat with the other leg, remembering to keep your back straight. You should feel a good stretch behind your knees.
- Roll your shoulders, one at a time.
- Push your chest forward and bend your head back, causing your back to arch. Then do the opposite movement: Roll your shoulders forward and lower your chin to your chest as you round your back. Repeat.
- If you hold the telephone between your shoulder and your ear, be sure to do so on the opposite side periodically to stretch the muscles that were contracted and contract the muscles that were stretched.
- Raise your arms in front of you and clasp the wrist of one arm with the hand of the other. Pull forward on the wrist for a good stretch. Reverse.
- Raise your arms above your head and clasp the wrist of one arm with the hand of the other. Pull up. Reverse.
- If you don’t mind a few stares or if you have a private office, give yourself a good hug. Wrap your arms around your torso and twist slightly from side to side.
- Chin tucks are a wonderful way to stretch the neck and shoulders as well as to train your body to maintain good posture. Get in the habit of doing a chin tuck every time you stop typing (or start a new paragraph or open a particular drawer).
- Raise your right arm so that it’s angled to the left. Cup your left hand under your right arm just above the elbow. Pull your right elbow towards your left shoulder for a half-hug and a good stretch. Reverse.
Check Your Sitting Position!
It sounds absolutely elementary, but check that you are sitting correctly! It may sound silly that there could be room for improvement in something as basic as sitting, but for most of us there is, and especially if our jobs demand that we sit for extended periods. By sitting improperly, in fact, we risk draining ourselves of much of the energy our fitness efforts give us. It’s like trying to store water in a leaky bucket. Here are some tips for putting an end to poor sitting habits – and making your chair-time the restorative experience that it should be. Check yourself throughout the day and re-adjust to the correct position.
Lower back pain, neck pain and stiffness can all result from incorrect posture at work.
1. Don’t slump. Sit as upright as possible, trying to keep as much of your back in contact with the back of your chair as you can. Slouching or hunching over not only restricts breathing, but also impedes circulation and may put undue pressure on the heart. It also can increase pressure on the discs of the lower back by as much as 15-fold, studies show.
2. Don’t cross your legs. Not only does crossing your legs choke off blood flow to the calves and feet, but it also can misalign the pelvis and put extreme pressure on the lower back. The best place for your feet is flat on the floor, or for variety you can put one foot ahead of the other in a slightly raised position on several phone books or a small stool. If you must cross your legs, do so only at the ankles.
3. Opt for a chair with armrest. Studies show they can reduce pressure on the lower back by as much as 25 percent. They also alleviate pressure (pulling) on shoulders and neck.
4. Stop sitting on your phone or wallet. If you are this could be tipping your pelvis. A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine several years ago found that many low-back-pain sufferers were able to eliminate their back pain entirely just by emptying the contents of their rear pockets.
5. Do not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. Get up and move around for at least 60 seconds – not just your comfort but also your ability to concentrate should be enhanced measurably if you do.
Look after yourself in your day and make time for screen-breaks, posture checks and snatches of exercise where you can manage!
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