Do you feel that every day of your corporate life turns out to be a misery? At the end of the day, when you get to bed, you feel terrible about your life because of work? And getting on that weighing scale in the morning is a nightmare? I cannot agree more. The lifestyle that the corporate world builds up, just takes away our general motivation in life day by day. Most of it has to do with our health, but we very often skip fitness as a list of a to do, which never gets checked even for a day. Fitness has more to do with the lifestyle than the work that we are subjected to in the offices. And staying fit at work is not an easy task either.
Getting up every morning to go to work, do 8 hours of sitting work in front of a computer on a chair. Adding to that, having a hefty breakfast and lunch for no reason other than it being delicious; eventually to go home and sleep. One may ask what kind of life is this that we are living?
This sedentary lifestyle kills us a slow death by causing us to become unfit (more like obese and overweight) over a period of time. Before we even start to notice it, we eventually end up being unable to perform the daily routines we used to, when we were fit. Walking to the grocery store to pick up supplies and maybe a jog in the park sometimes becomes a tedious and tiring activity. And soon, it invites a lot of diseases in your body for a house party! Yayy? No.
But this non fit routine of corporates can be beaten for sure. As the evergreen theory says, everything is possible. Just scroll down and count these 5 things on your fingers. (You obviously need to incorporate these as well to improve your fitness).
1. Eat Right
Most people will tell you to go on a stringent diet for a long time so that you can cut on your weight and hence achieve, what is usually the perception of being fit.
Let me tell you something, they are wrong. You do not need to go on a severe low calorie diet and turn into a dead mouse in the process of improving your fitness. You just need to identify your ideal scenario for being fit, how you see yourself being fit. There are a couple of factors you should consider when you start to plan your fitness goals –
- BMI (Body Mass Index) – The most basic measure of fitness for anybody above 18 years of age. Typically this should be under 25 and above 18. It can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by the square of your height in meters.
- How many calories should you consume in a day, and that depends on your lifestyle as well. Here is an online tool that you should use to check out your daily calorie requirements.
Apart from the above things, in terms of eating right you should take your daily diet on a nature trip. That is, as far as possible, try to eat natural, unprocessed and whole food like, fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereal and food that is organic in nature. There are four essential nutrients apart from the energy intake (fats and carbohydrates) that are inadequately present in our diets, specially for Indians :
- Calcium – Here’s a scary fact for you (try not to panic) – “When we don’t get enough calcium for our body’s needs, it is taken from our bones”
Each day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces, but our bodies cannot produce new calcium.
That’s why it’s important to try and get calcium from the food we eat.
Dairy products, such as low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are high in calcium. Certain green vegetables and other foods contain calcium in smaller amounts. Some juices, breakfast foods, soy-milk, cereals, snacks, breads and bottled water have calcium that has been added. If you drink soy-milk or another liquid that is fortified with calcium, be sure to shake the container well as calcium can settle to the bottom.
- Multivitamins – There are a handful of vitamins and minerals that are strongly suggested to be taken daily like Vitamin B,C,D etc. Your best bet at a good source would be raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables. But in most circumstances, that is if you do not go ahead and buy organic food, you might not get all that is required by your body. That is where the role of supplements comes in. Some people might think it as a bad idea and shun this altogether. But taking a multivitamin pill a day saves you all the trouble of thinking what you need to get and how much. And it obviously fills the nutritional gaps in your diet. What I recommend, being a user for a long time now without any side effects or allergies – Nutrilite Daily tablets
Disclaimer: You should always consult a doctor before including any supplement in your diet.
- Fiber – It is an essential micro-nutrient. Soluble fibre helps to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control. And since it slows down the carbohydrates, it also gives a feeling of fullness which in turn helps with weight loss.
Foods rich in this type of fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries. You need 5-10 grams of this daily, tops. But you sure as hell, need it!
- Protein -Last but definitely not the least, PROTEIN!!! In-fact, it is the last thing you should skip in your diet. That is just it. You need to take proteins, whether you are on a weight loss or weight gain goal, it does not matter.
Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Remember – Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient”, meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it.
How much do you need? If you do not workout or have a light activity (that is typical in a corporate or a sedentary lifestyle), your diet should contain at least 1 gram per kg of your weight. For Example: If your weight is 72 kilos, your daily protein intake should be 72 grams. If you work out, or do a lot of physically demanding activities, or are a fitness freak, your recommended intake goes up to 1.2 – 1.4 gram per kg. Elderly people also need significantly more protein (about 1-1.3 grams per kilos of body weight).
Apart from all that is said above in this section, you still need carbohydrates, some amount of fat (from good sources like walnuts, almonds etc.). If you need help with how much carbohydrates you need every day based on your lifestyle and fitness goals, you might get some help with the guidelines here.
Lastly, just remember the 80/20 rule – It’s always 80% diet and 20% exercise for a fit life.
With the amount and severity of daily pressure at work and the long hours at it, going to gym and committing yourself to workout seems a tad out of the question, doesn’t it ?
Well, Yes and No. It really depends on the type of person you are and how much stress you can take in a day. For the extremely motivated group of people, going to gym is not unimaginable, infact it is a daily affair. It gives some people the rush to just get those muscles pumping and the blood gushing through their veins that surpasses any other material pleasure. However for most, the answer to the above question remains ‘I cannot go to the gym because of xyz reason’, and that is a reasonable and practical choice for people working in a corporate lifestyle. But anyway, that is just subjective and relative. Here are five things to ensure the minimum recommended levels of activity while at office and otherwise:
- Stay in the correct posture – The first and foremost thing that most people forget to take into notice is how they sit, stand, walk and rest.
Because good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended them to. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at their peak efficiency. Good posture helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system as well.
- Do some exercise (office specific) – You will be surprised to see how you can use your on desk time doing little exercises that would affect your overall fitness and keep you going. Also try to make notes of small things that involve walking like, going to the water cooler every now and then (which by the way, also ensures the going to use the wash-room every now and then).
- Use stairs instead of lift – Make this a practice for EVERY-TIME. Time saving and ease of use are secondary factors when weighed aside your health, fitness and well being.
- Working out – Apart from being active, Adults falling in the age group of 19-64 should do two kinds of exercises on a weekly average to stay healthy:
1. At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week.
2. Strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, chest, shoulders and arms).
3. Drink water, lots of it!
There are countless benefits of drinking plenty of water during the day. There are however countless others of not doing just that. You should drink at least 4-5 litres of water everyday. It helps to keep your calories in control if you substitute high calorie beverages with water. Additionally, it energizes your muscles by refuelling them with electrolytes that helps improve their performance and efficiency. In other words, it keeps you active and gets rid of all the fatigue and lethargy. Also, water helps your kidneys function smoothly.
Sleep flows in five wave-like stages, often back and forth, throughout the night. Out of which, the 5th stage is the most important in terms of repair and reset activities.
Independent of, and quite different from first four stages, is REM sleep. It is characterized by the rapid eye movements that it is named after. During the REM stage your breathing becomes more shallow and irregular and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. This is primarily where you do most of your dreaming.
You really need your REM sleep if you want to feel your best the next day. Since REM happens at the end of a sleep cycle, getting only a few hours of rest in a night can mean we miss out on this vital phase.
If you sleep less than 6 hours per day of sleep regularly, it may be the reason for an increased hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep especially increases our craving for foods that are rich in carbohydrate and produce insulin which leads to storage of fat inside the body.
You should get 7-9 hours of daily sleep for the above reasons. Also it severely deteriorates your memory and attention when you don’t.
5. Stay motivated, Express yourself!
Wait, what? Expressing yourself and fitness? You might be thinking that these are not related to one another. But I would fall short of words just in attempt to emphasize the importance of this very section. One could do everything right from the above said things but still fail to achieve happiness at the end of the day. I do not blame people living in their monotony. Searching within oneself is a personal choice, impossible to judge by someone else.
For the same reason, finding what you love to do can be a very daunting task if you have never given it a thought, but patience is the way. Keeping things inside, unexpressed thoughts and emotions, only create stress. And if you are under stress, you tend to eat more, exercise less. That is your fitness practices tend to dissipate in this scenario. If you already have an interest in something, it goes without saying that you need to do it more often; make time for it. That way, you can let your emotions flow freely and exercise the freedom of expression which remains the top most reason to continue living one’s life. For one person, this could mean listening to music all day while eating his favourite food; for someone else, this could be dance used as a medium to express the sound of his soul.
So go ahead, Carpe Diem my fellow reader, seize the day! Live your life with no regrets.
Something about me – I am a Software Engineer at a multinational technology firm, I work 8-5. Part time dancer by choice, give it 9-11 hours of my week and “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good”.