Things to Do at Work to Stay Fit: Stretching, Snacking and More
Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Camera: Deeksha Sharma
A sedentary life can be disastrous for your health. Thanks to the urban lifestyle, health problems from chronic pain in neck, back and shoulder to heart problems and hypertension - all of it is plaguing us. If you’re worried about your health, yet find it difficult to get away from office to work on it, here are some quick, easy tips you might want to try. Small changes go a long way in keeping the body up and running.
1. Take the Stairs
We are not moving enough and it’s taking a toll on our bodies. Do yourself a favour and take the stairs instead of the elevator. It will get the blood pumping and make your heart very happy. It’s also great for toning and strengthening your legs.
Brisk walking for 30 minutes or more daily on most days of the week can help adults and older adults achieve important health benefits, according to reports. For instance, walking at an average pace reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 24 percent and 21 percent for those walking at a faster pace in a controlled study. Walking at an average pace also reduced the risk for all-cause mortality by 20 percent whereas walking at a fast pace reduced the risk by four more percent, compared to walking at a slow pace.
2. Move Your Body
While it’s great to take the stairs once or twice day, walk, stretch, move whenever you get the chance. Do whatever you have to to keep the body moving and protect it from hypertension, diabetes and heart problems.
According to a Lancet study, backed by data by the World Health Organization, lack of exercise is leading to an increase in non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, breast and colon cancer, along with mental health problems. India is struggling with its own fair share of health problems related with inactivity. From hypertension to obesity, the non-communicable diseases have seen a drastic rise in the country in the last few years.
Hypertension or high blood pressure affects nearly three in ten Indians and is responsible for 17.5 percent of all deaths and 9.7 percent of disability-adjusted life years (DALYS) in India, according to data released in 2017.
3. Healthy Snacking
Eating fruits in between meals is a great snacking option. It will prevent binging later and keep you away from junk food. Fruits are also the only dietary source of enzymes. It's a good idea to increase your fruit intake to stock up on them.
Along with fruits, you could also include roasted chana with peanuts, hummus with pita bread or a paneer wrap are loaded with taste and health. With an ideal combination of healthy fats and proteins, these munchies curb cravings for junk food. Besides eating too much protein at a time isn’t a good idea since proteins are difficult to digest. Through mid-meals, you can evenly distribute and meet your protein requirement. What’s more, when you eat a small portion, it’s easier for your stomach to absorb vitamins and minerals.
No matter where you are just find some place and stretch. Neck, shoulder and back problems are on the rise in India. People between 16 to 34 years of age make up for 20 percent of the people treated for back and neck pain, according to QI Spine Clinic World Spine Day 2017 insight. You might be prone to them especially if you spend long hours at a desk.
Keep your head up and shoulders back during all activities, including using a phone. Regular stretching and massaging the two important muscle groups (between the shoulder blades and the muscles along the neck) is important. Consciously fighting a bad posture is sure to improve your mood, confidence and memory.
5. Breathe and Relax
It’s important to take some time to stand back and relax. The importance of carving out some time to relax and de-stress cannot be undermined. You could meditate, go for a walk, listen to some music, read, journal, colour or even go for a cup of coffee with a friend after a long day at work.
You may be heading out for a strenuous workout or simply getting home to slip in a quick nap. Allow yourself this time to slow down and take some time for yourself.
It could also be as simple as taking a few minutes to practise mindfulness. Research shows that mindfulness improves attention, regulates emotions and increases self-compassion. It reduces anxiety and distress in upsetting situations including stressful social interactions.