Fitness in a Workaholic World Aug 03, 2015 The volume of research done on the subject is enough to underline its importance. Maintaining our health and a work-life balance are issues we're going to increasingly think about with the passage of time. To believe that our body can be pushed to work twelve or more hours a day without taking care of it is an ill-founded notion. A fit body and a calm mind are the most resourceful tools for professional success. It isn't necessary to compromise or sacrifice your career goals to remain healthy. All that is needed is a shift in mindset to view exercise not as a chore, but as an ally. CLIMB, STAND, PACE. Cliched, but true, that climbing stairs is good for you. It is a great cardio exercise and helps tone calf and leg muscles. If your office is on a high floor, climb stairs as far as you can, and then take the lift. It is also a good idea to be standing while having a conversation on the phone. Pace around your office while doing so, that's even better. Get up from your desk every forty-five minutes to stretch your arms and legs. Long hours of sitting is detrimental for your spine and posture. Instead of asking an assistant, walk to the copier, or pantry yourself. TAKE BABY STEPS. Drastic and radical changes to a routine are hard to sustain and adhere to. Instead of trying to hit the gym 7 days a week, target a reasonable schedule like 3 days a week. And then increase your frequency as you start seeing results. If you order dinner out on a regular basis, make a healthy choice of cooking for at least four nights a week. Balance, not deprivation, is the key. BREATHE RIGHT. Quite surprisingly, most of us perform this vital function the wrong way. Deep breathing rejuvenates and relaxes the brain, thereby reducing anxiety and stress levels. Proper exhalation also helps the body to get rid of toxins. When exhaling, contract stomach all the way and imagine your navel touching your back. Of course, the best part about taking deep breaths is that you can do them anywhere, and it doesn't cost a thing! When at work, pay attention to your breathing, and do it right. MAKE EXERCISE A HABIT. Exercise should be a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Just like you wouldn't leave for work without putting on fresh, clean clothes, likewise, set aside 20 minutes of your morning to yoga, aerobics, swim ,walk, or whatever it takes to get the "feel good" hormones buzzing! We don't really debate about whether we ought to bathe or not, similarly don't allow negative thoughts about exercise to enter your mind. Just do it! That's the best mantra to follow. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS. If you thought meditation is only for the geriatric and retired, think again. Just 15-20 minutes of meditative silence, can sharpen intuition and light up parts of the brain that induce clear thinking. Imagine what a help that can be when making an important business decision. Meditation also helps dissipate unnecessary insecurities that we may be harbouring about ourselves or colleagues at work. The great thing is that mindfulness can be practiced virtually anywhere. If you find yourself getting stressed, consciously bring your mind back to the task at hand, obliterating all other thoughts, or take out a few minutes and focus on your breath. Long term benefits of meditation are worth their weight in gold, so take care of that powerful organ between your eyes! SWITCH-OFF. Technology follows us home from the office, or rather we allow it to stalk us at all times. Electronic devices come with an "off" button, but it's just that we've forgotten how to use it! Don't let the continuous ping of your incoming mail or messages become an excuse for not exercising. For a short time each day, put away that phone and computer, and dedicate yourself to an activity that will help keep you fit. Buy yourself some lightweight dumbbells perhaps to flex? Mow the lawn, potter around in the garden, have a go at that carpentry project that keeps getting postponed, train for the half-marathon you've been wanting to participate in. Research has shown that music works like a balm on a tired brain, so indulge in some music therapy, and feel the tension drain away.Ironically, in order to stay fully "switched-on" at work, it is important to periodically switch-off! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. The quality of fuel we put in the machine that is our body is of crucial importance. Swap carbonated drinks with water, cheesy snacks with whole nuts and seeds, and replace sweets with seasonal fruits. Keep a tin of dried figs, apricots and apples, in office to satiate hunger pangs. Don't starve yourself for long periods of time. A healthy snack from home comes handy when you're bogged down with work and have no time to go out and grab lunch. Last, but not the least, do drink plenty of water to keep the body well hydrated, a simple solution to fight fatigue and lethargy. Modern living calls for multitasking, and if a juggler is what we must be in order to get things done, then let's make smart choices and keep our minds and bodies healthy. "Fit" is not just a shape, it's a lifestyle choice that needs to be an indispensable part of our lives, so why not make it an enjoyable one!