Take A Stand On Sitting

When you think about risky jobs, you probably think about mining, steel work, or commercial fishing, not typing memos in a corner office. However, researchers are increasingly raising the alarm that office jobs carry substantial health risks because they require people to sit for long periods. Sitting for 8 hours or more per day increases a person’s risk of premature death by up to 60 percent, according to a 2012 study of a million adults published in the Lancet. Sitting causes more deaths than obesity and poses as great a threat to public health as smoking, according to the researchers’ analysis.

Are you concerned your sedentary job may be harming your health or shortening your life? It’s time to take a stand against sitting. Keep reading to learn why frequent physical activity during the day is necessary regardless of how much you exercise, and discover how to move more at work to stay healthy and productive.

Exercise Is Not Enough

Health experts recommend approximately 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise to maintain physical health. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of Americans don’t get that much exercise. Worse, even frequent exercisers are at risk for health problems if they’re sedentary for long periods for the rest of the day. The human body is designed to move frequently.

What types of activities are best? Any movement is better than none. In one study, people who took the most frequent breaks from sitting during the day (even for just a minute) had significantly smaller waistlines and lower markers of inflammation than those who took the fewest breaks. In other studies, people who fidget are consistently thinner and healthier and have lower morbidity risks than those who don’t. In a large observational study, women who spent the most time doing light household activities such as cleaning, home repair, gardening, or climbing stairs had the lowest risk of breast cancer (Notably, vigorous exercise was not associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in this study). To be healthy, a person needs to be moderately active during the day.

Take a Stand

With all of the headlines about the ills of sitting, a standing desk may sound like the solution. Warning: staying in a static position for a long time is hard on the body whether you’re sitting or standing. Moreover, standing for long periods, as people do in certain jobs, is associated with a significantly greater risk of developing serious varicose veins in the legs, according to a 2015 study.

With those caveats, sit-stand desks provide many benefits over regular desks because they allow office workers to change position more frequently and may encourage more walking. Research on sit-stand desks is in its infancy, but a few studies suggest standing for some of the time at work may also increase workers’ productivity by approximately 10 to 15 percent.

If you don’t have access to a sit-stand desk, you can fashion your own. If you have a laptop, it’s best to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can keep your screen just above eye level and your hands at waist height. Then try one of these tricks:

  • Set a chair and low box on your desk. Put your laptop on the chair and the keyboard on the box.
  • Set a box on a waist-height countertop. Put your laptop on the box and your keyboard on the countertop.
  • Use a bookshelf. Put your laptop on a shelf at eye level and your keyboard on a shelf at waist height.

No matter which sit-stand arrangement you use, alternate standing with sitting and gradually transition to standing more. Aim for eventually standing for about one-fourth of your working hours. Use standing as an excuse to walk and move more, not less.

If possible, it’s also beneficial to sit on the floor for some of your working hours. Chairs are uncommon in many parts of the world, and some health experts argue chairs are not an improvement on the floor when it comes to sitting. Sitting on the floor increases the mobility of the hips, encourages good posture, and makes people want to naturally change positions often. It also requires people to rise from the floor to standing, a movement that requires a surprising amount of muscular strength, flexibility, and balance. Cardiologists can even predict longevity with the sitting-rising test, a simple assessment of whether a person can rise from the floor without using their hands.

Resting is a normal and natural part of life. Anthropologists have documented at least a hundred common resting postures around the world. However, it’s not optimal to stay in any one resting position for a long time. It’s better to move to new positions frequently, and get up and walk around often.

Jump on the Treadmill

What about walking while you work? Treadmill desks are growing in popularity and they offer benefits, according to some research. In one study, subjects who walked while they worked for two hours a day for two months slept better and significantly improved their blood pressure.

However, walking on a treadmill is biomechanically not the same as walking on land, and it can contribute to hip, knee, and pelvis problems in some people, according to biomechanist Katy Bowman. On a treadmill, you must use your hip flexors to propel yourself forward instead of your lateral hip and glute muscles. Moreover, if you’re typing at the desk, you can’t swing your arms as you typically would as you walk, which can contribute to lower back pain. The benefits may outweigh the risks, though, especially if the alternative is sitting all day, which is known to be hazardous.

Expect a learning curve if you decide to jump on the treadmill. New treadmill desk users performed much worse on tests of cognitive abilities than their seated colleagues in a study. Some new users also report dizziness and overuse injuries, such as foot inflammation. However, a longer-term study suggests workers are as productive as seated colleagues after using a treadmill desk for several months.

Escape the Desk Sentence

If you’re sedentary for long periods of the day, commit to being more active at the office. At first, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and move. Also, pay attention, and you’ll notice your body prompting you to get up periodically. Here are a few common signals: restlessness, inability to pay attention, fatigue, headache, eyestrain, and tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Take your body’s messages seriously – get up for a few minutes, and walk around. If possible, look outside at the horizon to relax your eyes. When you get back to your desk, change your position. You’ll feel better and be healthier, and you’ll probably also be more productive. Brief breaks have been shown to vastly improve the brain’s ability to focus.

No matter how much you move at the office, computer jobs are more sedentary than the daily work most humans did throughout history. When you’re not at work, commit to being active regardless of your age. Researchers used to think humans inevitably lost muscle mass, flexibility, and mobility as they aged. However, many of the physical changes we’d assumed were due to aging are actually due to physical inactivity, according to newer research. Regular physical activity keeps people strong and agile throughout life. Any type of movement is better than none. Walk, run, crawl, roll, squat, stretch, jump, swim, hang, and play. Or clean your house, tend your garden, mow your lawn, and commute and do errands on foot. Your body and brain will thank you.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/the-benefits-of-standing-over-sitting/

It’s getting hot in here: How to enjoy your summer and protect your skin

Sunscreen guide in Summer

The sun is shining and the beach is calling your name, but if you aren’t careful a few too many days spent exposed to the sun could have a lasting impact on your skin.

People have been flocking to the beach for decades. Past generations used to lather on oil and bask under an aluminum foil reflector to bronze their skin. Lately, however, people have been more hesitant to leave the house without applying a layer of sunscreen, and for good reason. When you’re young, lying in the sun might seem harmless. The worst that will happen is you’ll get a burn that is uncomfortable for a couple days and fades away into a great tan. As you age, though, these once insignificant burns play a bigger role in skin damage. The more sun exposure you get, the worse the damage will be in the long term. However, don’t get bummed out, you can still enjoy your day in the sun. By understanding the power of the sun and its long-term impact on your skin you can make healthier lifestyle choices that will slow the aging process and help you avoid health issues.

Sunscreen 101

Long-term exposure to UV radiation will not only increase your risk of skin cancer: it can also result in dark spots, wrinkles, a loss of elasticity, and discoloration in your skin. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can help protect your skin from these extrinsic aging factors.

To protect yourself from UV rays make sure you purchase a sunscreen that has broad spectrum coverage. Apply the lotion 15-20 minutes before going outside, and opt for an SPF between 30 and 50, or higher if available.

365 Days of Protection

Sun safety needs to be practiced all year round. While it might seem silly to put on sunscreen on a cloudy day or in the middle of a snowstorm, your skin will thank you. Even though it may not be hot out, the sun is still doing damage. The sun’s UV rays are still as strong as ever, even if it’s cold or cloudy. It’s not just the UV rays coming directly from above you should worry about, either. UV rays can be reflected off the ground, exposing your skin to rays from above and from the ones bouncing back off the ground. If you are planning a day of outdoor winter activities or heading out on the water, the reflection off the water, snow, or ice, paired with the sun from above, can increase your risk of getting a sunburn and serious sun damage.

Here are some tips:

You are never too old to begin protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. The more unprotected sun exposure you have in your lifetime the higher your risk of cancer and sun damage. By using sunscreen daily you are taking action to improve your skin’s health and longevity. Now before you head off to the beach remember to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours especially if you are sweating and/or swimming and apply a good amount of sunscreen to increase the level of SPF protection.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/preventing-sun-damage/

The Ways Of The Mind

The human mind is a fabulous thing! However, it’s also the one thing that prevents us from making positive changes in our lives. Exercising and following a healthy diet are two important aspects that contribute significantly to our well-being. But our mind has a knack of pulling us down and preventing us from embracing these lifestyle changes.

It’s true that sticking to your workout regime is easier said than done. However, it’s not impossible altogether. Determination and perseverance should get you to your goal. That said it will be easier for us the address the issue if we break it down further.

So, what are the things that our mind tells us every time we try to hit the gym or complete that 10km run?

  1. There’s no time— Yes, we’ve heard this before, more from ourselves than from others. But it’s the same 24 hours that an ace athlete has in hand. Agreed that he doesn’t have a 9–5 job and a toddler to take care of. Well, how about starting with 5 minutes of exercise instead of trying to accommodate the recommended 30 minutes? Once you form a habit, you can easily increase the duration.
  2. I will do it later— “I will start working out from the 1st of next month.” “It’s Wednesday today, I’ll go jogging from Sunday.” “It’s too hot outside!” Do some of these statements sound familiar? Yes, our minds do a fantastic job of conjuring up excuses for not exercising. The best time to start was 10-15 years ago, and the second best time is now. Just do it!
  3. I am too tired— Wonder why! Being tired is one of the best excuses for not working out. On the contrary, exercise actually works towards building stamina and alleviating stress. If you’re tired, it’s all the more reason to start exercising. It’s the sure way to get strong and stay fit.
  4. I don’t have the right sports gear— How we all love the big brands! But if you really want to work out, then any comfortable running shoes will do just fine. Maybe, if you stick to your routine for one month, your reward could be a nice pair of branded sports shoes.
  5. Exercising is too boring— Sure. If you do the same thing at the same time every day, it’s going to be boring. The best way to quieten the voices inside your head is to mix things up. Weight-training one day, cardio the next, followed with some freestyle dancing, you could even add a good stretch class or a swim. Take your pick, and, if you get a workout buddy, you’re bound to have fun together.
  6. I can’t— Classic! Yes, we often hear the ‘I can’t’ slogan from within us. You won’t know until you try. Besides, there are loads of videos and articles that can teach you how to get started, if that is your concern or even better you can sign up with a personal trainer to commit.

For every excuse that your mind comes up with, there’s a workaround to overcome the same. Exercising regularly not only makes you stronger, leaner and happier but helps you deal with a number of health issues and stressors. It clearly is a win-win situation. You simply have to get your mind to see it too!

Exercise Psychology And The Battle Of The Mind




Exercise Psychology focuses on the psychological factors that influence both physical exercise and activity promotion. Furthermore, it is also concerned with the application of both emotional and psychological consequences of a certain physical exercise and activity as well as emotional, mental and health related consequences of the lack of any fitness activity..

The relation between exercise and psychology has been recognized a long time ago. This involves the importance of exercise for the overall health of an individual. Research shows that regular exercise or physical activity has a positive correlation with a wife range of physiological and psychological conditions.

Essence of exercise psychology

Maybe you are wondering why so many people are sticking with exercising but you find it more difficult to do the same. Well, there are lots of things that may be involved, most importantly it depends  on the mindset of a certain person. Once an individual has the determination to execute a certain exercise routine, he is now focused on achieving that goal. Thus, this involves both the mind and body.

If you really want to change your way of life and your daily routines, you must be well motivated. It is a constant battle of the mind, you have to motivate yourself if you want to accomplish your goals.

For example, you really want to do a certain exercise routine to get back in shape. you will hear two voices inside your head, the first voice tells you all the positive things that you might gain once you execute that exercise routine. The other voice will try to discourage you and list a lot of negative reasons not to exercise such as the pain you will experience once you work out.

In this situation, it is very important  to remind yourself of the reasons why you want to stay fit and keep yourself motivated. Here are the things that you can do in order to help you overcome this problem:

  • Write all the reasons why you want to exercise and read them every day. This can help keep you focused and motivated to continue exercising regularly..
  • Think of all the benefits that you can gain once start exercising. Always remember that you really want to change.
  • Start of slow, you don’t have to jump right into work out for 30-45 minutes per day. Do 5 minute exercises every day and slowly build on that.
  • Work out with a friend, or a loved one to make things interesting. If you have a baby or a toddler you can even incorporate them in the workout and just have fun.

It is easier to neglect yourself and your health but it takes a lot of discipline and hard work to make a positive change in your life. Set your mind to your goals and remember that you can attain the success you want to achieve by taking a step in the right direction.

Mind And Body- The Ultimate Balancing Act

The lifestyle we lead today is fast paced and hectic. We are a generation of instant gratification; everything needs to be done immediately and the pressures of work and the home can disrupt our wellbeing without us even knowing it.

There are many levels to being healthy- the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level and it is imperative to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle because even if we are not conscious of it, they all influence each other. At times, we can experience high stress at work or in our relationships and this in turn affects our mental and emotional health as well. Therefore, health is a state of optimal wellbeing not just the absence of illness. We are ultimately healthy when our mind, body and spirit are in balance.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve that:

  1. Meditation: it can be extremely difficult to take out time in our busy lives to focus on ourselves and our breathing. Seems trivial, but meditation is where you experience a state of restful awareness, it is a powerful tool to restoring balance between our mind and our body. Because in the state of meditation you silence your mind, you begin to heal yourself by letting go of old patterns of thinking and feeling. Your body and soul can become one and you release any anger or sadness that is pent up inside you. It has been scientifically proven that meditation and the relaxation it provides can decrease stress, hypertension, heart disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia and addictive behaviors.

  1. Diet: you can only achieve a healthy mind if you have a healthy body and that begins with diet. It is important to have a nourishing and well balanced diet which includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. One way to make sure that you are eating all the rights foods is that your meal should include each of the six tastes- sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent.  Most of our meals are dominated by the first three, but our food should also include foods with the last three tastes, such as radishes, ginger, mustard, peppers, spinach etc as they increase metabolism and are anti-inflammatory. Drinking a lot of water is equally important and is necessary for digestion and absorption of food and to regulate our body temperatures and blood circulation.  A balanced diet is key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Exercise: There are numerous studies that have proven that exercise has a positive effect not just on the body but on the mind, as well. It has been proven to reverse the negative effects of stress, improve your memory, helps you get restful sleep and has been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, ADHD and more. Exercise is beneficial because it increases neural growth and releases endorphins that relieve tensions and stress and enhances feelings of calmness and wellbeing which make you feel good and keep you energetic throughout the day.  Just a few minutes of exercise a day can have such profoundly positive effects on your mental health without any side effects.

  1. Sleep: It may not seem entirely important but sleep plays a fundamental role in maintaining mind and body balance. Humans need at least six to eight hours of restful sleep each night and although people tend to boast about how little sleep they can function on, it is extremely harmful to our body to do so. When well rested, individuals are able to pay more attention to their surroundings and handle stressful situations, they can think critically, problem solve and stay alert. Getting an inadequate amount of sleep each night will inevitably lead to a weakened immune system which disrupts the body’s innate balance and can lead to numerous health problems such as various heart diseases, depression, stroke and diabetes.

  1. Relationships: having a positive support system whether it be family, friends or a combination of both has numerous physical and mental benefits. Being a part of a social circle can keep you from feeling isolated and lonely and it is important to have people you can rely on for advice and support. Not having friends or loved ones leads to depression and a feeling of seclusion which inadvertently affects your mental health.

There are numerous ways to maintain a healthy mind and body balance. Above are just a few ways to do that, as the relationship between mind and body is complex. At times, things can happen on a physical level but it eventually also has an impact on our mental level, that is why we need to view health from a holistic perspective and maintain a balance between our mind, body and spirit.