OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLNESS
If you work in an office, lab, classroom or any type of similar setting, you probably wouldn’t call yourself an athlete. However, think of it this way, you’re performing consistent tasks or movements over and over. “Traditional” athletes perform their workout movements repeatedly. Also, a large part of their fitness plan is to consider their overall health and wellness to achieve optimal athletic performance. An “executive” athlete should also consider overall health and wellness as a key part of their performance on the job.
If you’re an executive athlete, you should pay as much attention to your wellness as you do to the quality of your work. For example, consider that lack of physical movement has a direct impact on your mental acuity.
A high performance athlete understands
the importance of focus and work at all levels
Here are four aspects or goals of wellness relating to a person who works day after day in a business setting. Try setting specific daily wellness goals for yourself and follow through to achieve them, you may even gain an edge in the workplace.
Sleep – Get a minimum of 6 hours or more of sleep every night
- Lack of sleep can decrease attention span, decrease focus, decrease decision making ability
- If you’re tired, you feel increased stress
- If you’re tired, it impacts your mood and level of patience
Movement – Set an alarm to get up and move every 1.5 hours
- Sitting for longer than an hour can increase blood sugar levels. This can impact critical thinking and decision making may be compromised.
- Movement increases oxygen to our cells which can improve cognitive functioning which can improve mood and learning ability
Fuel – Have a snack every 3 hours
- The cells in our body need fuel regularly
- Skipping meals or waiting too long between meals can affect our mental clarity
Hydration – Drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day
- Avoid feeling thirsty – drink water consistently throughout the day
- Inadequate water intake can result in increased anxiety and memory impairment
If you’re sitting for hours a day –
a workout at the gym isn’t enough
Move It Or Lose It
Dynamic stretches are slow, steady movements that help joints and muscles go through a range of motion. This type of stretching is beneficial if you’ve been inactive for hours (like sitting at your computer). With dynamic stretching, your movements should be a controlled range of motion. This helps to increase mobility, and can reduce chance of injury.
Below are four dynamic stretches that you can perform during the day to help mitigate the effects from sitting for long periods of time.
LEG PENDULUM – Good for hamstrings and hip flexors
Using a wall for support, place one hand on a wall with face forward. Swing one leg forward and back, standing tall with core engaged. Swing your leg lightly to start, then gradually increase the range of motion. You’ll feel your legs and hips loosen up as the blood begins to flow to the muscles. Start out by doing this move 5-10 times.
DEEP SQUATS – A pleasant stretch for your lower body
A gentle, deep squat is a natural movement that stretches hamstrings, quads, lower back and groin. You will benefit by performing this movement several times a day.
NECK STRETCH – Loosens your neck and shoulder muscles
Reach your left arm over your head trying to touch the top edge of your right ear. Gently raise your head to the left until you feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Switch to the other arm and repeat. Perform this stretch at least once every day.
CHEST STRETCH – Avoid a hunched posture
Sitting at a computer for hours can cause you to roll shoulders and upper back forward – leading to a hunched posture. Stand in a doorway pressing both hands on each side. Your upper arms should be parallel to the flow with elbows bent 90 degrees. Now slowly lean forward. Try to remember to do this stretch at least once every day.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Most of us have to work for a living and, depending on the type of work we do, it can impact our ability to be physically active during the day. Hopefully, this article has pointed out there are alternatives to sitting for hours on end. Get up and move! Set your watch to alarm every 1.5 hours to remind you to take a walk or to stretch your neck and shoulders. There are athletes out there who put themselves through a physical regimen every day to maintain their fitness level. Executive athletes can do the same. Set your goals (and your alarm), and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.