Just like your car your body needs to be kept ticking over and not ' parked ' in the garage !
Our lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary, with more of us working at a desk. Where our great-grandparents’ daily lives would have involved physical work just to keep the household running, we have machines that make everything less labour-intensive. However, our bodies are still machines that are built for movement. Here’s how your body benefits from regular movement and some ways that you can stay fit when you work at a desk.
Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks during the working day helps you to function better. You may have already noticed that when you’ve been sitting down for a while, your joints feel a bit stiff when you move again because you’ve been sitting in the same position. As a general rule, you need to move for two minutes out of every 30 minutes you’ve been sitting.
If you have a demanding job, you might wonder how to achieve that. Chunking tasks down is a good start. You could set yourself a target to read a certain number of pages or write a specific section of a report. This isn’t just good for your body; it helps your brain function better too. Your concentration lapses after about an hour and giving your brain a break improves your performance.
When you take your breaks, make them active. Do something energetic like going for a walk or carrying out some menial physical jobs like doing the laundry or mowing the lawn.
We’re told we need to aim for 10,000 steps a day, but there’s no real evidence for this number, so don’t feel pressured to hit that target if it isn’t practical for you. 6,000 to 7,000 is probably enough for most people. If you have limited opportunities for movement throughout the day, aim to up the intensity. Try going for three ten-minute walks a day but really push yourself and get out of breath. It’s more achievable because you can build it into your daily routine..
" Try going for three ten-minute walks a day but really push yourself and get out of breath "
Adjust your routine
Staying active when you work at a desk is a lot easier when you build movement into your daily routine. Once something becomes a habit it’s a lot easier because it becomes second nature. It also helps to cue up your body and brain for what’s going to happen next by sending signals via your parasympathetic nervous system.
Creating that habit in the first place is the hard bit. If you have a fitness gadget like a Fitbit it will send you regular movement reminders. You could also set an alarm on your phone to remind you to move.
Create healthy sleep habits
Being active during the day helps you to manage stress, but sleep also plays a vital role. Happily, creating healthy routines and habits supports good sleep too. You might think that a bedtime routine only applies to babies and children, but it works for all of us. Winding down before bed lets your nervous system know it’s time for sleep and helps it to send out the right signals.
Flexibility is important too. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something boring. An adult’s sleep cycle is around 90 minutes, which is why you fall asleep on the sofa and then can’t sleep when you get into bed.
Manage your stress
Staying active and developing good sleep habits help you to deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Stress is a major factor in lots of physical ailments. Managing your day can help with things like high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain and IBS. Reducing stress also helps with things like anxiety and insomnia. Changing your habits helps you in the long term but you could also try reflexology. Reflexology helps with stress as it calms your vagus nerve, which affects lots of different functions throughout your body. It can give you a solid foundation to build on.
Staying active and creating a healthy routine helps you to manage stress and a lot of other health issues. If you want some support to help you start managing your stress and developing healthy habits when you work at a desk, come and see us. We’ll start off by giving you an MOT and offering some reflexology to help you with any stress-related issues before looking at any remaining physical symptoms.