Long hours in the office can make it hard to find time to look after yourself. New research from Bayer shows that 99 per cent of Aussie men consider self-care to be important for their health, but at the same time 7 out of 10 face barriers to self-care including lack of motivation (23 per cent), money (18 per cent) and time (18 per cent). So how can they include self-care in their busy lives and days spend at their work desk? Michael Cunico, fitness guru and personal trainer gives his top nine tips.
Take deep breaths
Ten deep breaths can draw more oxygen into lungs, which in turn delivers more oxygen to your heart. This can increase your cardiovascular capacity and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your cells, helping you to relax and clear your mind. Set an alarm on your phone several times through the day to remind you to stop and breathe. Try this simple technique: inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four and wait for a count of four.
Drop your shoulders
Our arms are designed to hang, but often we unconsciously “hold them up” without even noticing, creating constant tension. Listen to your body and take five minutes to relax your muscles: from your toes, all the way up to your shoulders, squeeze each muscle group for the count of five and then release.
Shut down your computer
Find yourself getting stressed at work? The bad news is: It can slow you down and can cause you to make bad decisions. To help reboot your mind, simply restart your computer, literally. Use this quick break to go and make yourself a coffee, close your eyes and take few deep breaths or stretch.
Walk and talk
Recent research finds that the act of walking can lead to increased creative thinking – use a wireless headset when on the phone and walk around the room while doing your calls. Instead of long, sit-down meetings, take your clients or colleagues for a walk as the change of pace and scenery can also help reduce tensions and encourage more free-flowing conversation.
‘No email’ Fridays
Try to make sure that any communication you need to have with your work colleagues on a Friday is done ‘face to face’. Getting up and speaking to them in person will quickly ramp up your daily steps and help you build stronger work relationships.
Foam rolling helps with sitting-related tightness by increasing blood flow and flexibility. Get yourself a long foam roller near your desk and commit to lying along it three times per day, placing the roller along your spine and with your palms facing up to open up your chest.
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Stand up every 30 minutes to stretch out your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of siting. This will help reduce back and neck pain as well as making your feel more energised.
Use your phone or activity trackers to count your steps. It’s a lot easier to be active when you can actually see your progress. Find out how many steps you do in a normal day, then set yourself a goal to beat that number every day. Nothing motivates better than achievable goals!
Every step counts
Waiting for the photocopier, or the microwave? Take a little stroll, or even do some small exercises like calf-raises, squats or lunges. Need a toilet? Use the one on the level above or below. Always volunteer for the coffee run instead of letting someone else pick one up for you. You can also challenge yourself to discover new lunch places every week, the further they are from your office the better!
Bayer has launched Health Yourself an awareness campaign to support Australians to make positive health decisions and take charge of their own health.