You//Fitness and Health
by Chris Smith
Working a 9-5 job is often deemed as unhealthy, yet it doesn’t have to be. With some easy changes to your day, a day stuck behind the desk can become much more active, which in turn will result in a more positive attitude, increased energy levels and improved performance.
So where to start? A wholesome breakfast is the best way to start any day as it can provide you with the energy needed to get through those painful mornings. It will also prevent you from consuming fatty junk food before lunch time. Top tip – go for a low fat yoghurt, combined with a bowl of fresh fruit and a serving of protein. Breakfast is regarded as the most important meal of the day, and for good cause. Get that metabolism ignited as early as possible and give the brain the fuel it needs to operate at its peak.
If you live close enough to work why don’t you invest in a decent bicycle and ride to work, especially during the summer months. With the Government’s bike to work schemes it is incredibly easy to buy a bike, with minimised cost issues. There are plenty of cycle routes, with more continually being developed by local councils, and the benefits to your health, as well as the money you would save on public transport or fuel, making this a viable option for those looking to include fitness in their daily routine.
It is very important to maintain optimum hydration at work but time restraints, meetings, deadlines and many other things can consume your day leading us to forget to drink. We all should be drinking at least eight glasses of water every day – do you? It removes toxins from your body without taking in any additional calories, and getting up to get a drink will help blood flow and maintain muscle.
If the thought of 8 glasses of boring water fills you with dread, why not try green tea – there are many flavours to choose from such as lemon, mint, orange or cinnamon to mention a few. Green tea has been proven to help increase your metabolism without additional calories, whilst also providing a boost of caffeine to keep alert at your desk. Keeping yourself hydrated means keeping your brain hydrated as well, which results in clearer and better problem solving abilities.
Break up the day with walking at lunch. A blast of fresh air always does us good, especially when sat down for most of the day. Muscles can grow tense and tight if not regularly exercised and moving away from a screen gives your eyes a much needed break.
If you need to go to another part of the building why not take the stairs rather than the lift. Small bursts of movement whilst sat at your desk can help – shrug your shoulders, twist your hips, neck rolls, side bends, leaning forwards or backwards, touch your toes and stretch your legs. Stand up as much as you can as this is far healthier than sitting – burning more calories and better for your back.
When snacking reach for one that is low calorie. Try blueberries as these are great for getting rid of fat around the waist. Studies show blueberries to have positive effects on lowering cholesterol. Other preliminary research has shown that wild blueberry juice may benefit the brain, improve memory and learning in older adults while possibly reducing the symptoms of depression. We all know that we need to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day so what better way to add to your routine than the blueberry.
The urge to snack at your desk is a big one, most of us have all been there. However, it doesn’t mean you have to succumb to temptation. There are plenty of alternatives to chocolate, fast food and crisps.
Giving up smoking when working is extremely difficult so for those looking to quit, if you feel that deadlines and targets are causing stress and the idea of a cigarette becomes more appealing, splash your face with cold water, stretch your body and take several deep breaths instead. This will help make you feel fresher and it may give you the start you need to continue to quit. The influx of oxygen to your body will help increase your focus and productivity at work.
Stress at the workplace is often a cause for a cigarette but just remember there are better and healthier ways to de-stress – sport and exercise is proven to provide anti-stress, energy and happiness benefits. With some subtle changes, that unhealthy office job which is resulting in low fitness levels or an increase in weight can be easily beaten. Small changes can make a big difference.
Chris Smith is the Managing Director at Vivi Nation