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Article by: Elizabeth Kirk and Tracey Guile

Health and Wellness tips for work should be more than take the stairs and eat a salad. Now we talk about office friendly exercise (or deskercise), stress relief techniques, and work/life balance. But how do you find quick and easy ideas without wading through endless health and fitness blogs or researching wellness programs. What are the 3 simple ideas you can do today to get your work health mojo on?

Where Do You Start?

You start with the basics. Take control of your food, add a little more movement to your day and take time to care for yourself.

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After years of working with busy, time poor professionals, Tracy Guile has noticed a trend. When it comes to diet, everyone asks, “How can I be healthy in an achievable way!? How do I lose weight, have more energy, feel healthier and be more productive?”

Tracy’s answer – It’s VERY simple!

 Small changes to your eating and exercise habits make a big difference.

 Key Food Tips – Eat lean, clean and from the earth!

Tracey

  • Avoid pre-packaged foods and advertising moguls enticing you with quick easy fixes.
  • Always eat breakfast!
  • Prepare your own lunch
  • Have quick healthy snacks on hand to avoid buying those devilishly good looking pastries…lol
  • Don’t starve!!!!!
  • Drink loads of water

 

Make food your friend…eat good, feel great, look amazing!

How do you fit all this into your work day??  With these very simple points…

Start & finish your work day right!

Breakfast

“The most important meal of the day!”

Why? Because it

  • Kick-starts your metabolism
  • Wakes up your body ready to take on the day
  • Decreases your stress at work. Breakfast gives you the energy to tackle the day.
  • A balanced breakfast of protein, carbs and fats will keep you fuller for longer, feed your brain for increased productivity and nourish your mood.

When you are more alert you function better and are more productive!

Lunch

MAKE AND TAKE!

Easiest technique Tracey has found is to make double dinner the night before! Easy!

“Let’s be honest, homemade will always be tastier than some limp wrap with minimum fillings or smelly fat laden takeaway…all of which you will feel the need to supplement with a naughty treat…haha”

Snacks

So easy to have healthy snacks on hand!

A few examples; veggie sticks (personally I can go through an entire bag of carrots and a couple of cucumbers a day – lol), apples, bananas, nuts, boiled egg, beef jerky, rice cakes with peanut butter, yogurt…

No preparation time for any of these things PLUS you will feel so much better than if you had reached for the cookie jar!

Top Up

At the end of the day, make sure you have a snack before you leave work. This is important for many reasons:

  • If you are on your way to the gym, then you have fuel to have a great workout!
  • If you are on the way to the grocery store to pick up dinner, it stops you ‘hungry shopping’ which always ends up in naughty treats!
  • If you are just going home it stops the common pantry raid before dinner preparation starts!

Eating healthy smaller meals throughout the day turns your body into a furnace! A fat burning energy producing machine!

Move More – Sit Less!

That’s your food sorted…now what about your exercise?

Liz Kirk found questions from clients revolve around how much we should move at work. Should we be sitting, standing, moving, relaxing, playing? There seems to be so much to know.

But again…it’s easy?

You don’t have to find a special time to exercise. You don’t have to plan a 30 minute block. In fact, to beat the office work aches and pains, it’s all about Moving rather than exercising. Yep…that’s right. You can avoid being sweaty and tried at work, especially if there are no showers. You can save that for your weekend touch footy or throwing on the joggers to walk part of the way home.

Walking more is a great start. Walking reduces your risk of illnesses and injuries, like diabetes or strokes, while increasing your fitness, enhancing mental function and having a positive effect on anger, depression and anxiety.

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10000StepsBuild in your 10,000 Steps a day. There are now lots of great support tools showing you easy and fun ways to get into the 10,000 steps habit!  Maybe start with 10,000 Steps.org.au

 Try different movement and relaxation ideas and see what works for you.

Talk to your friends to see what they do. Just try stuff!

Make easy small changes. Try to avoid sitting still for more than 30 minutes at a time. Even simple things like standing up to take a phone call, or walking around your chair while you’re thinking makes a big difference to your circulation and metabolism.

Try walking meetings. Do your neck and shoulder stretches in the bathroom. Walk the long way around to get a drink. Take a 10 minute walk at lunch. Even wiggling your toes, roll your shoulders and consciously relaxing back in your chair regularly will make a big difference to the tension in your back and neck.

Be good to yourself. A little relaxation goes a long way!

There is one more step to ensure you are at your best. We need to take a head space break. Build the skills that let you manage your stress at work and transition between all our work tasks and our roles at home.

But life is so crazy busy. What can you do? When your muscles feel tense and your heart is racing, it’s not always possible to go for a short walk in a green space or listen to music. When you only have a minute or even just 30 seconds, try rolling your shoulders, relaxing back in your chair, close your eyes, taking a deep breath and consciously dropping your shoulders. Or take a minute and try placing a hand over your belly button and feel your breath. Breath in for a count of three, pause, then breath out for a count of three. Try to visualise the stress melting away.3rdspace

And be good to yourself. Take a deep breath, relax, sit back and watch this engaging talk by Dr Adam Fraser on creating what he calls “The 3rd Space”. The discovery and practice of how to shrug off the emotions associated with a bad customer, a bad meeting or a bad day, will make a significant contribution to your productivity and wellbeing at work and home.

And Finally

3_Simple_IdeasDon’t stress trying to find the “best” way to eat or the “right” time to exercise. Keep it simple, make small changes and try different ideas. There are only three things you really have to focus on. Eat fresh and often. Keep moving whenever you can. Take a little time every day to be good to yourself and create a break between a stressful situation and what you want to do next.

Remember, building new habits can be hard even when we want to change. Help yourself get started by preparing food the night before, asking a friend to join you on your walk, placing a little note on the side of your monitor that reminds you to stretch and relax. Small easy changes you can build on over time and you will soon be feeling the rewards.

Exercises or deskercise at work, taking care of your diet by eating unprocessed food and not letting yourself get hungry, and working on your work and life balance to reduce stress will increase productivity, health and happiness at work

Finding ways to care for yourself at work through healthy eating and increased movement (that does not require a change of shoes or loss of work time) is the new Big Challenge for business. How do you care for yourself today? Let us know. We would love to hear from you!

 

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About the Authors:

Tracey Guile

A passionate personal trainer who lives and breathes health and fitness. Growing up in South Africa she has always been involved in an active lifestyle and found her calling within the fitness industry in 2000 after moving to London UK.

Her career continued in Australia after moving here in 2004. Having filled every role possible and studied her way through these 16years on exercise, lifestyle choices and nutrition she has a wide knowledge base that covers all areas from family, corporate, athletes, competitors, sports and kids.

Tracey has built a successful business on these elements and her life objective is to help people learn how to live a healthier happier and fitter lifestyle.

Elizabeth Kirk (PhD)

Elizabeth is one of Australia’s leading researchers and trainers in skill based office ergonomics, with a special interest in call centres. Elizabeth started her career with a degree in human movement, before moving into experiential training and development.

Working as an In-House Trainer and Contact Centre Operator with a major Brisbane call centre ignited her passion for exploring why existing office ergonomic interventions were not delivering results.

This resulted in Elizabeth undertaking a PhD at the University of Queensland, on the topic “Building Safe Computer Use Skills Training as a Management Strategy for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Computer Users.”

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