How to reduce stress, stay healthy, burn fat, and increase energy…
If you sit all day, every day, at your computer, and go to the gym a few times per week, you still might be at risk. Sitting has its own consequences, not all of which are counter-balanced by an occasional work-out. This is not to say that it is bad to go to the gym. Rather, all that sitting causes your body to pay a toll. A quick Google search of the consequences of sitting all day will reveal enough of a shock to get you to jump out of your chair. That might be a good thing.
Here are the benefits to you for adding movement throughout the day.
- Staying active helps relieve stress. It is more tiring to sit all day than it is to get up every hour or so to stretch, breathe, and move. Jumping jacks will help you wake up and feel more refreshed. You can actually lower the stress hormones through movement, and increase the neurotransmitters to promote clarity of thinking and a sense of well-being. These sound like anti-stress to me!
- Movement helps move fluids. There really is not an anatomical equivalent to sludge, but stagnant lymph is pretty close to it. So are blocked arteries. Movement gets the fluids flowing. Flowing fluids carry nutrients to every cell in your body and helps to remove metabolic bi-products to waste. This is essential for reducing toxins and promoting abundant good health.
- Reduce risk of disease. All forms of exercise are correlated with a reduced risk for a chronic degenerative disease.
- Achieve and maintain your ideal weight. Moving, sweating, breathing, swinging your arms — what I call playing in your body, will support insulin sensitivity, fat burning, and the production of energy. Even with drastically reduced calories, which is not recommended for a healthy approach to food, health, and nutrition, your body must move in order to burn fat.
Our cave ancestors kept moving in order to thrive. This included hunting for food and avoiding being eaten by prey. More modern day agriculture workers were active from sun-up to sun-down. Fast forward to the industrial revolution where people worked in factories moving many parts of their bodies throughout the day and evening. And then when the technology age, we all landed on our bottoms. For kids, this means video games instead of playing outside with their friends. For adults, this means a dramatic decrease in daily activity. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk to this sedentary lifestyle includes heart disease, obesity, and mental decline.
Four things you can do now to reduce your risk:
- Consider NEAT Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This means that your body can burn calories, lose weight more easily, have improved digestion, and stay healthy by just moving. This is the perfect complement to getting more strenuous exercise. You get credit by tapping your feet, walking down the hall, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and anything that gets you in motion.
- Everything counts. Every time you move your body adds to the number of calories you burn throughout the day. The goal is to increase your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy expended when your body is at rest. Another way to think of this is to keep the furnace turned on in order to stay healthy. This furnace represents fat burning, which gives you energy back. This movement-to-feel-more energy is a positive feedback loop.
- Bring movement into mundane activities. I have a hula-hoop and some hand weights that I use when we are watching a movie at home. Arrange walking meetings, like what Steve Jobs did. Get a stationary foot pedal for under your desk. Standing is better than sitting. Walk around your building every 15 minutes. Walk around when you are talking on the phone.
- Create routines. A mini-trampoline in your office for a mid-morning bounce will make you feel fantastic. Go see people in your building by using the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car further away to ensure you get a ten-minute walk when going to and leaving work. If you work from home, like I do, throw the ball for your dog or take her for a walk. Make it fun, notice how you feel and keep moving.
- Speaking of fun. Among the greatest stress-relievers/risk reducers is playing. What can you do that is fun, right in the middle of your laser-focused day? Keep it simple and remember that you will be getting back to work fairly soon. Depending on your schedule and the demands on your time, anywhere from fifteen to sixty minutes of fun can be the key to helping you feel better and remain productive. Some ideas are: call a friend who is positive and upbeat; watch a funny video, like Saturday Night Live or Jimmy Fallon, walk (if possible) to the local coffee shop if it is a nice day; organize a walking club with your co-workers; and my favorite, do some stretches, push-ups, relaxing breathing, or meditation just when you feel the stress is about to hit the fan.
Are you jumping up with excitement to know about this? Good! Keep it up! Your body will love you back on this one.
Rosie Bank is Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of Health Matters Coaching. She is the author of the book, Health Matters. Rosie is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified by The Center for Nutrition Studies (e-Cornell) in Plant Based Nutrition. Rosie is an international speaker, blogger, and the founder of Health Matters podcast. She is certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant through the American Fitness Professional Association and as a Nutrition Advisor through Sanoviv Medical Institute. Rosie founded The Vitality Club in Brentwood, CA in 2018.
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