In this fast paced modern society it is already a challenge to keep yourself fit everyday and look after your overall health. Let alone if our job involves sitting long hours everyday in front of a computer living a sedentary life. One important key factor is that if we are not healthy and fit in the first place, how can we be productive, energetic and happy in every aspect of our life? Not being active most of our day can cause many alarming health issues and affect our moods too. So, especially if you are young you might not feel that it is affecting your health yet but eventually you’ll experience the consequences. As human beings, we are meant to be active, move around, our body needs it, our muscles and bones need to be used in order to keep strong and supple. Being mobile will also affect our mood as being energetic gives us a sense of happiness and releases the stress build up during the day. If you would like to find out more about energy (my favourite and personal ingredient for happiness and health) check out the post “The secret of longevity and how to look and feel younger”.
Let me share now some useful and effective tips on how to keep active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle whilst at work or at home.
Having 8-9 hours sleep is essential for your well-being
Sleeping the amount recommended of 8-9 hours is a brilliant way to guarantee that extra energy needed to avoid falling into bad habits. If you had a good night's rest you are likely to be more energetic the next day and willing to be more active all day long. Sleep deprivation can also increase the production of a toxic protein called “Beta amyloid” which accumulates in the brain and can cause damage and eventually kill brain cells. Many different researches have shown that a build up of the “Beta amyloid” is the primary cause of Alzheimer’s and later on can lead to dementia. It has been recommended by the experts that our “awake time” should not last longer than 14-15 hours and that being awake for 3 days straight can actually start to cause significant increase of hallucinations and paranoia. So always make sure you get plenty of sleep as that will recover your energy and prepare you for a full active day.
Maintain a good posture
Either if you are sitting or standing holding the correct posture during the day is really important especially for a healthy back. Maintaining a good posture is not just a good way to look after your overall well-being but it will also keep you more awake during your working hours promoting productivity. As a ballet dancer I have realised that it is vital to maintain a good posture not just whilst I am dancing but also whilst I am eating, doing chores, watching TV etc. If you do that all day, everyday it will eventually become a natural habit and you won’t even realise that you are doing it. If you are looking to improve your posture check out the post “Change your life around: how to improve your posture”.
Work standing up
Sitting down all day is bad for your back, legs and for your overall health but also standing up for 8 hours a day has a negative impact on our well-being. It is advised to stand up for 4 hours a day but from my own experience I came up with my own theory. I believe that a mixture of the two is crucial to reach a balance. Standing up for many hours in a day, especially still in front of a desk, can increase pressure on your veins, causing pain in your legs and feet and dangerously doubling the risk of heart disease. We have already spoken about the issues of what a sedentary life can bring. So in order to create a balance my advice to you would be to alternate by working standing up for an hour and sitting down for another hour. So if your work shift lasts 8 hours then you would be standing up for 4 hours and sitting down for 4 hours. Remember to never do 4 hours straight sitting down and 4 hours straight standing up because that will not be beneficial for your health. If you do not have a standing up desk then you can use some books to place your laptop, keyboard etc. on it. If for some reasons, you feel uncomfortable doing that in the office or you just don’t like the idea then my next tip would be an alternative.
Take regular short breaks and your scheduled breaks
Having regular breaks is a way to recuperate the energy lost whilst working at your desk and to unwind. Even if it seems counterproductive and a waste of time it is actually a good time management technique. The reason behind that is that by resting and giving your mind the break needed you will be faster at working resulting in a better performance and productivity. You could have a coffee break, go for a quick walk or a longer walk if you are on your lunch break or just do a quick stretch. Some people they even enjoy going for a run or going to the gym during their longer break. If you are looking to improve your time management skills check out the post “Amazing & effective strategies on how to improve your time management skills”.
Keep active as much as you can and stretch often
Understanding that doing our daily 1 hour intense workout per day is not enough to keep us fit is very important. We must keep active most of the day in order to not fall into the trap of the sedentary lifestyle. Whilst at work I usually tend to stretch and flex my arms and feet, rotate my ankles, , do some side neck stretches or legs lift, do some exercises to open up my hips (pigeon pose is a good one). I am aware that this is not always possible but sitting on a yoga ball instead of a chair is a great way to work your core and back muscles, open up your hips and it will improve your posture. So even if you are sitting down, you are actually working out! Another option is to get a mini exercise back and place it under your desk so you can workout whilst working. Many people, especially men, usually underestimate the importance of being supple. As a ballet dancer, it is a must to have a high flexibility as especially at an intermediate or advanced level if you didn’t possess that it would be almost impossible to perform certain movements. But a certain amount of suppleness is important for everybody because it not only will help you to be a healthier and stronger person but also it will help to even do the most simple tasks in a day and avoid injuries. If you would like to become more flexible check out the following posts.
Eat small meals but more often
Especially if you are sitting down for long hours or for most of the day, it is vital to have small meals as they will be easier to digest. Being still for too long can slow down our digestive system making it more difficult for us to break down our meals. It will also avoid issues such as bloatedness or more serious ones such as obesity. Also eating the right food is also an important aspect of keeping healthy. A diet rich in protein and vitamins will give you so much energy and will keep you mobile, productive and healthy. Check out the post "How to lose weight, get toned and feel amazing"
Drink water throughout the day
Choose water to boost your energy, get rid of body toxins and improve productivity! If you would like to boost your immune system check out the post “Feel amazing: how to boost your immune system”
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