Time to Get to Work

It’s very easy to stay stationery, especially at the work place. While we all have our routines, it’s important to incorporate new activities to reinforce health habits. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month where the goal is to spread awareness about the benefits of getting and staying active, while creating opportunities for everyone to partake in more activities.

These physical activities aren’t limited to the outdoors. Long periods of inactivity (for example in office job settings) can lead to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer, per Live Better. Therefore, it’s important to find time to be active, even in the workplace, and there’s more than a few ways to get started.

  • Walk or ride part of your way to work
    • If possible, you can take the train and walk to work, or park further away from work and walk the rest of the way.
  • Have standing or walking meetings
    • Standing meetings can not only keep you active, but helps in increasing efficiency.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
    • More comfortable attire aids in your likelihood to be more active at work, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Pack exercise clothes
    • If you’re unable to make it out the house due to a busy schedule, bring a change of clothes to work. Before heading home, change into your exercise clothes and make a quick stop at a park or gym and get some minutes of exercise going.
  • Track your steps
    • Having smart devices like a Fitbit or other smart watches can give you that extra boost of incentive to take more steps and reach the recommended 10,000 count per day.
  • Walk instead of calling/emailing
    • Take every opportunity to leave your desk. When communicating with a colleague across the room, take the time to get away from your desk and walk over to have your interaction.
  • Move during Lunch Break
    • Small segments of exercise over the course of a day can be very beneficial than a single session of activity. Simply 10-15 minutes can be very beneficial physically and mentally.
  • Stretch
    • Sitting all day can develop into pain in the body, specifically in the neck and back. Taking the time to stretch at your workspace every 30 minutes can help you feel more energized.

As you see there many more ways to exercise during work than are excuses not to. It’s important to find the time throughout the day stay active to stay healthy and lower the risks of developing other diseases. For more tips on how to stay active and healthy, visit your doctor and develop the best health plan for you.

Yes, You May Get Active

Spring in May is a wonderful time of year. The weather gets better by the day, which not only gives great incentive to spend more time outdoors, but also serves as the perfect time to rededicate yourself to an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s why May is also Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

Since this week is Bike-to-Work Week we’ll provide you with some of the best outdoor activities for spring, however, we’ll start by explaining how to ease into your exercises to avoid injury.

It’s important to prepare your body for any upcoming activities you’ll partake in, especially if you’re coming off a lengthy layoff. According to WebMD, one of the most commonly seen injuries is muscle soreness, stemming from too much activity, too quickly. Therefore, a great starting point is to perform manageable activities to prepare your body for what’s to come. It’s recommended you do slight exercises that increase in duration over time before true strenuous activity.

For example, if you plan on golfing during the spring and summer days, you should increase the amount of time you spend stretching per week for optimal flexibility. If you are a jogger, you should start by walking lightly, and increase the minutes week to week. The key is to prepare your body and avoid any lingering muscle pain. However, on the off chance you do overexert yourself, to recover you’ll need RICE (a mnemonic device used to remember):

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression (with an elastic bandage)
  • Elevation

Now let’s get to the activities! The Huffington Post wrote of the best spring exercises, and we’ll highlight the following:

  1. Biking – You can’t have Bike to Work Week without actual biking. Biking is a great alternative to traditional activities done indoors, plus it improves your cardiovascular fitness while working the legs.
  2. Swimming – If you’re not a big runner, swimming is another great exercise. Another cardiovascular intensive activity, swimming saves your joints of the high impact stress that may be experienced while running.
  3. Outdoor games – A quick game of basketball with your buddies, or tossing a Frisbee with your kids, these fast-paced games are a great way to get active during the spring.
  4. Hiking – While we’re not saying to go climb Mt. Everest, there are plenty of hiking trails that offer the same benefit: power and endurance training, core conditioning, and balance improvement.
  5. Yoga – Typically thought of as an indoor activity, but outdoor yoga offers great benefits, such as, new levels of mental concentration and peacefulness.

There are plenty more activities that provide both the physical and mental benefits, but the key is to find the one you enjoy and get active. This is the perfect time to not only challenge yourself physically, but also explore new avenues to be lively. If you are starting a new exercise program or searching for new ways to get active, it’s important to reach out to your R-Health doctor to make sure you are fit for the task.

No Time, No Problem

While we continue this month’s focus on nutrition, this week’s theme is exercise. Similarly to breakfast, one of the common associations with exercising is time…or lack thereof. Something we either hear, or even say to ourselves is, “I just don’t have the time to exercise.”

In hindsight that may seem like the case, but in reality, it’s imperative to schedule a little time for physical activity. Exercising is one of the most important things you can do to keep up your health, and today we’ll not only discuss how it’s beneficial, but also how you can engage, even with time constraints.

Our friends over at the CDC wrote an article highlighting the benefits of physical activity. Of the vast mentioned, we’re going to emphasize the following:

  • Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease(s)
    • Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death, however, moderate intense activity (less than150 minutes per week), lowers the risk drastically, while lowering your blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
  • Strengthens your bones and muscles
    • It’s important to protect your bones/joints/muscles, but especially as you get older. Moderate intense activity can help slow the loss of bone density as you age, and helps with arthritis and/or other major health conditions (e.g. hip fracture)
  • Controls your weight

Though these benefits may be more commonly known, we’ve entrusted U.S. News to share with us some astonishing facts about exercising that may not be privy to everyone. The few we focused on are the following:

  • Exercising can reverse the detrimental effects of stress
    • Physical activity can not only increase levels of soothing brain chemicals that relieve you of triggering stressful thoughts, but can also slow down the aging of the cells in your body
  • It lifts depression
    • Exercising can stimulate the growth of neurons in the regions of your brain affected by depression, thereby acting as a natural antidepressant.
  • Helps with learning
    • Vigorous activities aid in creating new brain cells and connections, while improving the capacity to learn and retain information – which enhances both attention and concentration skills

Aware of the benefits of exercising, yet still limited by the obstacle of time? Luckily, the American Heart Association (AHA) provides great tips on making use of your time to exercise. The AHA believes you can get heart-healthy benefits of exercise if you divide your time into two or three, 15 minute segments doing some of the following:

  1. Add more walking
    1. Walking the dog
    2. Brisk walks with your children
    3. Walks through a mall while you window-shop!
    4. Parking further away and walking towards destination
  2. Take the stairs
    1. Skip out on the elevators and power through sets of stairs
  3. TV fitness
    1. Turn TV into a mini gym session. Walk on the treadmill while streaming your favorite show, or even do quick exercises in between commercial breaks.
  4. Join a team
    1. Maybe it’s bowling, maybe it’s yoga, but find an activity you like that keeps you active and motivated!

These are just a few ways you can squeeze in some exercise even with a busy schedule. And if you are able to make it to a gym once or twice, make the most of your time. More activity, less rest. A 30 minute workout is just as good as a two hour session.

For more exercising tips that are right for you, feel free to contact your R-Health doctor, and follow us for more posts on optimum nutrition!