Health

by Anne Laing and Tim Bean

Workouts

Our bodies were designed to function on 14 hours of exercise a day. In order to compensate for the lack of physical activity our lifestyles now present us with, you should consider doing at least one hour of vigorous exercise every day of your life.

Without health, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest itself, wealth becomes meaningless and intelligence cannot be employed.

Herophilus, 300BC

Posture

Posture affects the way you breathe, the way oxygen flows around your body and your vitality. Passive ageing leads to stiff joints, a fat stomach and unnatural fat-loading, all of which ruin your balance and posture.

Strengthen your postural muscles by working on your back and upper body, and keep your flexibility through stretching exercises, such as yoga.

Successful people recognise that small, daily rituals are what count with longevity. You can sculpt any physique into great shape with knowledge and persistence. There are no exceptions!

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

Jim Rohn

Building a calorie-burning engine

Lift weights at least three times a week. Weight lifting is non-impact, corrects weak posture, drives up metabolism, strengthens bones, creates great shape, lifts endorphin levels, regulates hormones, boosts self-confidence and can be done in as little as 20 minutes a day.

Weight-training first thing in the morning should give you great results, as HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is at its peak between 6 am and 9 am. If you are short of time in the morning, get up 15 minutes earlier. Exercise is not a waste of your time, but an investment in energy!

Sustained inactivity in one position reduces blood flow, slows metabolism and can lead to pins-and-needles, numbness, sleepiness and, in extreme cases, blood clotting in the leg muscles. Schedule a three-minute break every hour to get up, move about and stretch. Stimulating the circulation through muscle movement will prevent cramping, supply fresh nutrients and flush away stupefying toxins. Stretching also reduces muscle knotting and tension, which causes headaches and sometime nausea – common office stress symptoms.

Lunchtimes are a great opportunity for a workout. You can burn off stress, defragment your thought processes and get your exercise points out of the way for the day. You’ll come back to the office refreshed and recharged.

Walking one extra mile per day burns 100 extra calories, so buy a pedometer: set a target of 10,000 footsteps a day. Keep an extra pair of training shoes at work so you will be encouraged to walk home instead of taking a car, bus or train.

Key point

As soon as you begin to move with intent, a cascade of chemical and physiological equations switch on your energy hormones and trigger your sympathetic nervous system, making you alert and sharp. One good hour of exercise daily more than doubles your energy investment!

Training tips

Keep an exercise diary – workouts go more quickly and smoothly when you keep records. You will know exactly what you have been doing and what you must accomplish to improve further. Constantly challenge your body in your exercise sessions by striving for improvements. Every day, note at least one thing that improved or increased in your workout. If you do the same, you will stay the same.

  • When walking on a treadmill, don’t hang onto the rails. This will negate any positive effort you would otherwise be exerting to maintain your balance. Even a fast five-minute walk works wonders for stress hormones and takes away some of the appetite-triggering and fat-storage effects associated with stress. When jogging on a treadmill, raise the incline up to 2-3 degrees. Research shows that this will more closely mimic what it’s like running out-of-doors.
  • Power exercises, such as plyometrics or similar high-speed exercise, alternating with heavy weight-training, boost muscle and build bone better than walking or cycling. Don’t do phoney workouts (where you just go through the motions) – you won’t get the benefits and boredom will set in. Push yourself.
  • Play golf without a cart – be your own caddy!
  • When using an elliptical trainer, you will burn more calories per minute by making the resistance harder, rather than going faster.
  • Include self-defence in your fitness regime – you never know when you will need it.
  • Try yoga to balance, stretch and challenge your mobility and strength.
Note

Don’t use deadlines or hangovers as an excuse to skip your regular exercise. And if you really do need to miss a session or two, add strategic movement – get up off your backside and take a walk around the office every 90 minutes.

It is an absolute given that if you don’t take time for health now, you will have to make time for illness later.