19 Aug

How to move more in office

Our bodies were not meant to be seated [often in lousy postures!] in a chair all day long. Which is why, anyone who works in an office, must find a way to get more movement during their time there.

How you do that will depend on the type of office space you are in and what your day looks like. As consulting editor to Complete Wellbeing magazine I also spend a few hours of my day in an office, mostly working on a PC. Here I am sharing ideas that I use to make sure that I get some movement during my office hours. See if they work for you…

  1. Avoid the lift whenever possible and take the stairs. If you have some knee or hip pain, then you may have to take the lift. If your office is on a very high floor, you can still take the stairs for half the distance and then use the elevator. Get used to being starred at by those folks waiting for the lift, as you walk towards the staircase. They’ll look at you like you’re some nutcase, but you’ll get used to it.
  2. Take a break to go take a walk… at least twice. It’s better if these timings are fixed, if not, you will tend to forget once you get busy with work. If you decide in advance at what time you will be taking your walk-break you can set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Or use an app that will remind you when it’s time to get up from your seat. You can walk outside your office in the corridor or go down and again come up taking the stairs.
  3. Get a small bottle for water. Ditch the one litre bottle and keep a smaller bottle on your desk [250 -500ml]. This means you’ll have to walk to the pantry to refill your bottle at least twice a day. water-bottle-small
  4. If you’re speaking on your mobile, get up from your desk and walk around while talking.
  5. If you have to communicate with a colleague who is in office, avoid calling and walk up to the person’s desk instead.
  6. Do not eat at your desk. Even if it is just a snack. Get up and go to the pantry to eat.
  7. You can also do some stretching exercises on your desk and I’ll share those in another post soon. Most of them can be done discreetly without having to get up from your chair or make a display of your new found passion for fitness.
  8. When seated, make sure your posture is always correct. Back should be straight, shoulders relaxed, feet rested on the floor [or foot rest] and chin parallel to the ground.

These activities are only to give your body a break from sitting in the same position, in a cold environment for hours together. These do not make up for ‘exercise’. You still have to make time for that ­čÖé

14 Aug

The curse of the cramps

leg cramp

Yes, cramps can turn us into Ninjas.┬á Specially the cramps that occur in the calf muscles. Strangely these usually happen in sleep, during the early morning hours [that’s why they are called ‘night cramps’]. Sometimes they can also affect the feet.

I’ve had these cramps a few times and from my experience, when the cramp is happening, there’s not much you can do except try your best to not scream and wake the entire household or neighbourhood. For some people, stretching the muscle during the cramp gives relief, but I do not attempt anything so heroic. For me, the cramps have usually lasted for a few seconds [seem so much longer], so I just wait for them to pass and then I go back to sleep. Since night cramps are caused by some mineral deficiencies,┬á the morning after a cramp usually has me evaluating my diet to identify what I’ve been missing [or should be avoiding].

 

We can’t say with certainty that we know what causes cramps… but these could be the possible reasons:

  • Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium or Sodium deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Exercising [and not stretching your muscles enough]
  • Keeping feet in an awkward position for long
  • Diabetes, Alcoholism, Pregnancy, Hypothyroidism
  • Sudden change in temperature

 

What to do to prevent them

  • Hydrate: be sure to drink at least 2 litres of water per day
  • Nutrition: Include enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and also include enough sources of potassium, calcium and magnesium
  1.  Potassium: Bananas, spinach, mushrooms
  2. Calcium: Nuts, broccoli, sesame, almonds, spinach
  3. Magnesium:Nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, avaocados.
  • ┬áMake sure to stretch your muscles well after a work-out and also stretch your feet before going to bed
  • Do not tuck your feet under a heavy blanket or tight sheets. Keeping your feet in the same position for long can cause muscle cramps
  • Take a vitamin E and magnesium supplement [also does wonders for your skin]
  • Massaging the calves and feet with magnesium enriched oil before sleeping also helps
  • Apple cider vinegar is also known to help prevent muscle cramps. Have two spoons a day or add it to your salad dressing
  • Get enough sunlight so that you are not low on vitamin D. Aim for sun exposure for 10 – 15 minutes 3 times a week, before 10am.

These are some of the things that help to reduce the frequency and intensity of cramps. Have you tried anything else that has worked for you?