7 steps to a healthier work day
Studies indicate that we are now sitting more than ever in history. With the advent of modern technology and a more sedentary lifestyle, tasks have become increasingly repetitive. This combination of static posture and limited movement impact the way our bodies work, play and heal. Health Canada estimates that musculo-skeletal disorders cost us over $15 billion per year in treatment, rehabilitation and lost productivity.
Many fields have emerged to educate people about preventing injuries associated with increased daily stresses. There are many strategies that you can implement to help protect your body.
Good posture is critical to help your body work easily, safely and with efficiency. Every action has a reaction. Your body is compensating within its environment billions of times a second. So the next time you decide to slouch at your desk, skip lunch, or not stretch, think about the actions your body has to take to combat the stress you just created.
Health is made up of three main pillars: structural (how well your muscles and joints are functioning), nutritional (what you are feeding your body) and mental (how balanced and relaxed is your mind). Improving one thing each day is a great way to strive for better health.
Follow these strategies and you’ll see the results:
1. Choose water. Drink it every day: our bodies are approximately 75% water and we need to replenish it. Alternatives, such as coffee and pop, can dehydrate the body causing high blood pressure, achy muscles, joint pain and overall fatigue.
2. Do not skip meals. Feed your body regularly: our bodies are burning calories even when we’re not working out. You need to ensure that you’re getting the appropriate nutrients to keep your cells healthy. Eating the right kinds of food is critical. Start with fruits and vegetables to help your heart, brain, bones and muscles. Make healthy choices.
3. Move every 30 minutes. Get up from your chair: this is very important to keep your back healthy. Sitting has been shown to double the pressure on the joints in your back. So moving around, even for a short period, will increase blood flow and stimulate healing.
4. Check your posture. Most of us sit most of our day: take the first 5 minutes of your day to make sure your workstation is set up properly. Check to see if your armrests, chair and monitor are at the proper heights. Sit back in your chair and don’t slouch. Remind yourself to find your ideal posture and position.
5. Change your environment: get outside if possible. Go for a walk. Changing your environment gives your brain a break and gets you thinking about something else. Once you return to your desk, you will find yourself more energized and focused.
6. Stretch: moving your muscles and joints throughout the day is very important. Try every hour to move a different area of your body. Do ankle circles, stretch the leg while on a conference call, and bend the neck from side to side. Fit a stretch in whenever you can. Don’t feel down if you miss something. Just get back at it.
7. Do something. It’s better than doing nothing: we forget this very important point. Most people find it hard to fit exercise, stretching and nutrition into their day. Make a conscious decision to take baby steps. You don’t have to make drastic changes. Everyday do something a little different, making the right choices – after some time it will just become a habit.
Spend time each day on your health and improve your energy level, flexibility, mood, and happiness. Believe in yourself and think positively. You can do this.
For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Patel at Strategic Health (Eaton Centre – Galleria Suites) at 416-913-0939.