Snoozing the alarm a few times before you drag yourself out of bed, grabbing a coffee and a croissant on the way to work and gobble it up without even noticing its flavor. Stressful meetings throughout the day, deadlines chasing you, new tasks coming and what used to be a lunch break is now represented by a sad sandwich from the cafeteria munched on in front of the screen. A big mug of coffee follows and something sweet to get over the afternoon slump. And when the day is finally over and you survive even a working dinner with business partners, you collapse on a couch in front of TV and treat yourself a glass of wine. Because you deserve it. But do you really?
If the above sound familiar and you know you want to change it, yet find it impossible to gather enough time to go to gym regularly, you hate running and vegetable salad doesn’t make you happy (lack of grass fed bacon, I would say :), I have good news for you. There is always a solution. You only need to make the one first step in your mind – make health your priority.
Being healthy, energetic and fit means you will manage everything faster, with clear mind and positive feeling about yourself and your job. Being healthy also saves hell of money for doctors, medication and supplements. Because prevention counts twice! Being healthy also means you will not have to come to work sick (everyone will hate you for that) or be absent (often when there is something really important going on in the company).You are probably growling that you know all this, but wonder what to do about it with such a time pressure… I got it. Here are a few tips on how to be healthy despite being busy.
1. Make exercise out of everything.
Walking from the parking lot? Pay attention to how you walk, maintain straight posture, pop your chest out, keep your belly tucked in, hips forward and use the entire sole of your feet. You can make it power walking. Pay attention to your leg muscles and glutes (butt muscles). How do they feel, when you adjust your posture? Do they work differently? Do you feel the difference?
Same applies for taking stairs. Stairs are amazing way to keep moving during the day as long as you know how to walk properly. Keep your body straight, chest out, be aware that it is your lower abs lifting your legs and keep them tucked in. Do your best to place the whole foot on the step and press on your heel, when stepping up rather than tip toes. You can take it two stairs at a time or try stair sprints for bigger challenge.
2. Take short breaks.
No, not cigarette breaks. Or trips to office kitchen for free cookies. Try to take a 5 minute break every hour or at least 3-4 times a day, get up from your desk and stretch. Hands up in the air, get on your tip toes and stretch it out, even make a few grimaces to relax facial muscles. Do couple of squats, lunges and desk or wall assisted push ups (lean on the desk or wall and do regular push ups). Bend down, legs straight and try to place your palms on the floor. Little by little take up these little challenges and incorporate them every day. You will realize that a short breaks like this get your energy flowing again, energize you and improve your concentration. Not to mention that lifting your arm up is a gesture of victory that will trick your brain into feeling like a winner! Try it out before an important meeting or an interview. You will feel like a winner!
3. Stop sending emails to the office next door.
I remember that me and my colleague from the office took it so far at certain point that we would send emails to each other sitting just across the table! Get up and walk around the offices, if you need to talk to people rather than sending emails. Not only you will move a bit, but you will enjoy more social interaction and establish better relations in the office. Not to mention it is way nicer to ask people favors personally than through email.
4. Chair is overrated.
Chairs are responsible for limited mobility, closed hips, tense muscles and swollen legs. Get yourself one of the large gym balls and use it in the office instead of your chair. Uncomfortable? Of course! But only because you are not used to it. Take it slow and start with 15-30 min sessions and then switch for another 30 minutes on your chair. Repeat. Eventually, you will be comfortable enough to spend the whole day on the ball and even master some tricks such as being balanced sitting with one leg up on the ball. I can guarantee you that those colleagues, who will laugh at you at first, will eventually come and bounce your ball for fun. Everyone likes to play.
If for any reason you cannot have a big gym ball in your office, opt for a small over-ball that you put behind your back on the chair. It doesn’t really help you strengthen your core muscles, because you will not need to balance and thus constantly use those deep core muscles, but it improves your posture when sitting and prevents back pain.
5. Walking meetings.
Have you ever heard about peripatetic method? I bet you know that Aristotle always walked around the lyceum or with his students, when he taught. Yes, walking while working is not only good for your body but also for your brain. Do you have things to discuss with your colleague(s) that do not necessarily require overhead projector? Take them out for a stroll, particularly if the weather is nice outside. You will get your dose of vitamin D, some real daylight and fresh air, you will get things done and more likely come up with creative solutions than in a dark conference room. You will see that even your co-workers will appreciate. After all, nobody likes being closed in the office all day long.
Exposure to daylight is crucial to your thriving and even 15 minutes during the day will make a big difference. Walking meeting, short stroll after lunch or even lunch in a nearby park or a bench outside of your building is a great way to incorporate some daylight in your work routine. Getting of a bus or metro one, two stations before your final station after work is another option. If you have a chance to walk a bit before work, it is even better – morning air is refreshing and will charge you up for the day.
I am sure you will find a way to incorporate moving in your daily working routine. If you need a small reminder not to forget to take a short stretching break, just stick a colorful post-it on your screen or set an alarm every hour that will remind you to get up and do a few exercises. After a few days it will become a natural habit.
That’s it for today, my healthy people. Come back to Alouded for second part of Too Busy to Be Healthy to get some inspiration on how to eat well while being busy.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to make health your priority for life more Alouded.