The stress of long working hours and deadline horrors are probably giving you nightmares every night. However, that doesn’t deter well-meaning friends and family, lifestyle magazines and the posts on your Facebook wall from reminding you of the run-down the stress may cause you. An unhealthy lifestyle could lead you into a swamp of heart ailments and diseases, a fact that you surely are aware of. But did you know that your working late need not be of any ill-consequence, as long as you squeeze in a few simple, good habits?
Recommended Lifestyle Changes - #EAT
Our on-going study of corporate lifestyles in India revealed that unhealthy eating habits among working executives resulted in a dip in productivity time by up to 2.5 hours a day.
If you need to combat health risks posed by unhealthy food habits, the first step is to identify some critical time slots in your routine.
Morning - We've all heard that skipping breakfast makes you gain more weight, than productivity at your desk. There's only one solution - NOT to skip breakfast! Even a simple fruit, cereal or sandwich is better than a 15-hour gap between last night's dinner and today's lunch. Your body is happier digesting smaller, more frequent meals than staying starved and confused.
Evening - Come 5 pm and what is the first thought that hits you? Hot chai and samosa? Or a few stretches for that overworked spine of yours? Unhealthy snacking is one of the top reasons for weight gain among working executives. The key is to tackle the temptation at the thought level. Instead of giving in to the snack, choose to do something that doesn't involve food - Make a phone call, listen to a new playlist and reconsider the advantages of settling for an early, healthy dinner instead. For those of you who like to snack healthy, fruits, yoghurt, almonds and walnuts are great options.
If your working hours don't allow you to have dinner on time or with family, have a solid meal at office around 7 pm and a light dinner at home around 9 pm. Do not hit the bed for at least 2 hours after that. Simply go for a walk or engage in some light physical activity before sleep.
Recommended Lifestyle Changes - #EXERCISE
Office desk workouts are the most under-utilized form of stress-busters in today's corporate space. There are a host of simple stretches and exercise ideas available on the web that you can do while at your work desk. Or you could just walk. An average Indian adult must walk 10,000 steps each day to lead an active, healthy life, according to experts. Simple devices like pedometers, sport wrist bands or even phone apps can help you monitor your step count.
Two rounds around the office car park, opting for the stairs over the elevator or a short walk after lunch are a few simple ways to incorporate fitness into your packed schedule. Working adults are also advised to drink up to 1.5 to 2 liters of water in a day.
If you are aiming for weight loss, cycling and a few weight training exercises can help tone the body faster.
Recommended Lifestyle Changes - #SLEEP
Good sleep is defined by the duration as well as the quality of sleep. Taking a hot shower or a few long, deep breaths before your shut-eye improves your sleep and also helps you destress better. It is also advised to keep your phones on silent and unplugged from the charging point next to you. Avoid heavy exercises before sleep time as it tends to depress onset of sleep.
Try not to push bed time beyond 12 am. Your body produces two important hormones during this time called Ghrelin and Leptin that control excessive hunger and over-eating. The production of these hormones can be affected by lack of sleep during this time. If you find yourself craving sugary or salty foods often, it could be traced back to a dip in these hormone levels.
Every long journey begins with a single step. Initiate a better lifestyle with small, healthy changes in your diet and exercise. Instead of directly resorting to crash diets or detailed work-out charts, start with planning your grocery list on a weekly basis, observing strict meal timings and incorporate simple ways to stay on the move even while at work. This way you’d adopt gradual and steady changes than set drastic goals that are difficult to achieve.
Dr. NAAZNIN HUSEIN
President, IDA MUMBAI CHAPTER
Director, Freedom Wellness Management