This guide provides easy and simple steps that many people overlook Adhering to these steps every day will improve your performance and help you feel better mentally & physically.
The best and easiest way to keep healthy to keep hydrated. You will not only feel the benefits physically but also mentally helping you to focus. It can help to stave off symptoms such as headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory.
Drinking around 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women a day via food and drink is the recommended amount. Sipping your water throughout the day also allows you to get up from your desk to refill your water bottle giving you a break from sitting duties and refresh your mental state.
Top tip: Buy a non-plastic water bottle/flask and keep it with you. This is will help to remind you to keep it topped up, help the environment and keep your water cool and fresh.
First of all the best time you can do exercise is in the morning. The affects are compounding and you’re less likely to make an excuses (like after work) because your willpower is at a maximum at the beginning of the day. The second best time is lunch time. The compounding effects of exercising in the morning is that you are more likely to drink more water in the day, eat better & less. This is both due to the mental and physical affects exercise has on you. I'd also recommend downloading the Nike Training Club app which has great workouts.
This includes exercises to be done out of the house, either during lunch or before or after work, but also exercises to be done whilst in the office. You don’t have to have gym equipment stuffed under your desk and you don’t have to sit on an exercise ball. Although you can if you want to!
According to a recent study 24% of people claimed poor lighting as a factor in causing loss of work due to eyestrain and discomfort, with an overall 2% loss of productivity per year for each individual in a workplace. For something that is as basic as lighting that is quite surprising. Lighting has also been found to decrease depression and improve mood, energy, alertness and productivity.
What then, can you do? Simple, if you can’t utilise natural light or because it’s winter time then speak to your HR manager because there are HSE Government requirements on lighting in the work place. However, you can chose excellent LED lighting systems such as the Koncept Lighting Z-bar High Power LED Desk Lamp which is my personal favourite.
NO DESK EATING
You’ll spend around 9,000 hours sat at your desk every year, why would you want to sit down at your desk any more than you have to? Your body will thank you later. Getting away from your office space and going to a different environment will also clear your head so that when you return to work in the afternoon you’re recharged.
Not only should you not eat lunch at your desk but this also includes eating snacks at your desk throughout the day. Stopping this will prevent mindless eating. Many people, myself included like to eat something in between breakfast and lunch, whether it’s apart of a diet plan or not, if you’re snacking get up for 5 minutes, eat and return to work. Regimenting yourself like this will make sure what you’ve eaten is registered by your brain and prevent hunger 5 minutes later!
As well as exercise having a good posture is going to help prevent the strains of your neck, back, legs and wrists. There are a few things you can do immediately to help keep your posture in check:
- Keep ears in line with shoulders
- Pull back your shoulder blades
- Have your seat at the correct height so that your knees are bent at 90degrees
- Line of sight to your monitor is directly ahead
- Keep legs uncrossed
Hearty food for breakfast and light foods for lunch will help you keep hunger away and make you feel less lethargic. This will then make you feel more inclined to go for a stroll after your lunch and generally more active. Can you see the virtuous circle starting to come together?
A study found that job performance improves by 25% if employees eat healthily and by 15% if they exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times per week. I’m now thinking of renaming the this post; 10 Ways to Stay Fit AND Be Better At Your Job. There really are so many benefits from following these tips - who doesn’t want to get paid more?
For breakfast I like to have things such as; yoghurt with granola and berries, or porridge topped with fruit and now working from home I have time to make scrambled egg whites with protein cheese. Snacks are great, they can give you a boost throughout the day and top up your protein levels. Favourites include; peanut butter with apple slices, hummus with cucumber sticks and pineapple cottage cheese (Sainsbury’s do the best one).
Lunch is always best prepared the night before. I recently made a ratatouille and mixed it up each day for lunch (rice, couscous, chicken breast). I also did the same thing with a chickpea tagine using a slow-cooker. Great for meal prepping!
Give your eyes a break. Staring at a monitor for 8 hours a day can be a real strain, the best thing to do is to look away every 15 - 20 minutes. Why should you try to reduce screen time and what are the benefits?
Prevent headaches It’s proven! A 2010 study in France found that the more time spent in front of the computer screen is directly linked with causing headaches.
Improve sleep Reducing the amount of blue light (the light emitted from computer and phone screens) will help to improve the quality of sleep you’re getting. Try not to look at your phone or computer at least an hour before you go to sleep.
Increase focus If you think that you’re going to perform better and get more done by being glued to your screen, then you’re wrong.
How though, I still need to work?…I hear you say.
To reduce eyestrain The 20-20-20 Rule is a great way to reduce the chances of getting Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Every 20 minutes look away from your screen at a distance of 20m for 20 seconds.
If you can prevent headaches, improve your sleep and increase focus then you’re going to better influence how you feel towards performing exercise, healthy eating and getting fit!
The best way to ensure that you’ll stick to being healthy and to avoid excuses is to plan ahead. Whether that’s the night before or its at the start of the week, having an idea of what you’ll be eating (and having it prepared) and when you’ll be exercising (and having your kit ready) will give you the best chance of avoiding excuses and achieving success.
Firstly, outline your goals. What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to be? What will it look like? How will you feel when you reach that goal? Having answers to these questions are the things that will keep you getting to the gym before you start work or make you go out for a walk during lunch or do burpees in the park.
NB: When the lockdown is over you can keep this section for then!
While this cannot apply to everyone reading this, however there are still a huge number of people that are within cycling, bus or walking distance to work. Getting the heart above its resting rate for at least 15 minutes in the morning is going to ensure blood is flowing and helping your brain concentrate for the rest of the day.
Without sounding too morbid; you might think cycling can increase your chances of dying. However, in a five-year study by researchers at Glasgow University of 263,450 commuters found that regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%. The incidence of cancer was cut by 45% and heart disease by 46%.
It doesn’t stop there, you can save money, lose weight quicker, increase productivity and make you feel happier!
Update: During the lockdown this is inevitably not possible, however this can still be achieved virtually!
Having other people embarking on the same of similar journey will help you stick to your goals. You will also have a sense of pride by being successful in helping yourself as well as others using the wisdom you’ve gained from these very pages!
Start by going out at lunch after you’ve eaten for work. When it’s raining (when it inevitably will be) why not get a few people together to do some press ups, burpees and sit ups? If you’re a member of a gym nearby you can go at lunch and get a colleague to join too. You’ll probably even get something from your gym if you get them to join as well.
Utilising and implementing these tips is all about habits. A good way forward would be to consistently stay hydrated for a month and then try implement the next one. It would be more beneficial for you to implement just one of these successfully for a month and form the habit rather than implementing all 10 for a week and giving up.