If you've mastered the basics of a well-balanced diet, sufficient sleep and regular exercise, then it's time to conquer a new level of lifestyle tips to stay on the path to continual self-improvement.
For instance, Lumo BodyTech invented a sensory device that fits around your waist and gently alerts you if you slouch. The company (which comprises of medical advisors and a co-founder with a medical degree) coined the term “ Silicon Valley Syndrome ” as the physical or mental health symptoms arising from the way we use - or overuse - technology. They surveyed more than 2,000 workers and found that 60 percent reported a myriad of health problems from overusing technology or sitting for several hours with poor posture.
We asked various health experts for lifestyle tips to battle Silicon Valley Syndrome. Click on the following pages to read the full wellness manual and make sure to visit the last section for basic video tutorials from Live Liberated Fitness on rebalancing your posture.
Liz Barnet is a fitness and food coach with a private practice in New York City. She also instructs classes at two fitness studios, SLT and Uplift Studios. Her certifications include personal training, group fitness, yoga (RYT-200), and holistic health coaching, among others.
Barnet says worker-bees need to adopt these habits:
1. It's okay to indulge in massage therapy. Regular massage reduces stress and improves exercise performance. So go ahead and book that spa appointment!
2. Short on time? Be your own masseuse. Self-myofascial release is the cheap and easy answer to a personal masseuse. The basic techniques use simple tools like foam rollers, textured sticks and trigger point balls.
You can use a full length foam roller to increase circulation, decrease tension, improve lymphatic drainage and remove adhesions all over your body. Focus on your quads, glutes and upper back to combat chronic desk posture. Aim for five minutes in the morning and five during the typical afternoon slump.
If a foam roller is too obvious, bring in a tennis ball to sit on or roll under bare feet. This will help hydrate tissues, which is essential if you work a desk-bound job.
3. Stretch out your sedentariness. Follow up your self-myofascial release with a few key stretches to decrease muscular tension, enhance breathing capacity (which instantly boosts energy), and recover from workouts without setting foot in a gym. Again, focus on the areas that get tense from sitting hunched all day.
Stretch your quads and work your balance by standing on one leg and bringing the opposite heel to your backside; you should feel a stretch in the front of your bent leg. Right at your desk you can turn your head right and left and look up and down, stretching your neck and shoulders.
4. Get beauty sleep. “It bears repeating that getting consistent, adequate sleep is the number one thing you can do to step up your performance,” says Barnet. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain, carbohydrate cravings, irritability, inability to focus, suppressed immunity and widespread inflammation.
Brooke Alpert is a nationally recognized nutrition expert and author. She is the founder of B Nutritious and works with clients to meet their nutritional goals while working within their lifestyle.
According to Alpert, we need a healthy dose of:
1. Magnesium. A stressful day can affect how you sleep. If work is on your mind at night, take a magnesium supplement. This safe mineral helps your body relax and sets the mood for a peaceful sleep. "Be sure to choose a supplement brand you can trust for potency and consistency," says Alpert. "I like Nature's Origin, which is free of preservative-free and gluten-free."
2. Vitamin D. "Too much work and no outside play is unhealthy for your brain, body and spirit," she adds. One key nutrient you're certainly missing out on is vitamin D. Make sure to take your daily dose to keep you healthy, even when you’re stuck indoors.
3. Vitamin E. Snack on almonds. Not only will these protein and fiber filled little nuggets keep you going and your energy levels up, but the vitamin E they contain will boost cognitive functioning, making them a great brain stimulator.
Joe Masiello is co-founder of Focus Integrated Fitness and the Focus Personal Training Institute in New York City. He is certified by The National Strength and Conditioning Association, The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American Academy of Health and Fitness Rehabilitation Professionals. As a Medical Exercise Specialist, he collaborates with rehabilitation therapists. Here are his tips for the busy professional:
1. Become your own transportation. Give up traditional forms of transportation and walk, jog or cycle to work. If it’s too far, drive or take public transportation halfway and walk/jog/cycle the rest of the way.
2. Morning workout? Put your workout clothes before you check your e-mail. If you can fit an early morning workout in, get out of bed and put your workout clothes on BEFORE checking your e-mail or grabbing the morning paper. It’s easy to get side tracked and pulled away by other things. This will help prepare you mentally to make exercise the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning.
3. Use the Urban StairMaster. Work in a building with more than one floor? Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Stairs are a great way to torch calories while increasing leg and core strength. A few stairs here and there quickly adds up throughout the day.
4. Sign yourself up for an race. A race or fitness even gives you a concrete goal to train for and will help keep you focused. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, even a 5 or 10k is enough to keep you from putting your workout on the back burner.
5. Find a workout buddy. You aren’t the only one at work that wishes they had more time to work out in the midst of a busy day. Studies have shown working out with a friend can help your adherence to a program. Find a workout partner in the office to train with during lunch and keep each other motivated.
Sheena Nadeau is a fitness expert, physical therapist and founder of Live Liberated in Silicon Valley, which runs exercise programs at office campuses. She often schools clients on physical therapy protocols, Pilates method and yoga to improve their postures.
“Posture is the most important factor,” Nadeau says. “Excluding ab exercises, one should maintain a neutral spine while sitting, standing and definitely while working out.”
Follow these basics from her Postural Re-education Program:
1. Counter the damages of sitting all day with Hip Flexor Stretches.
There are 10 hip flexing muscles on each side, so doing just one stretch position is inadequate to relieve tension from sitting all day. Repeat each Hip Flexor Stretch three times, holding each position for 30 seconds.
2. Then do these QL/Low Back Stretches to
release tension in the lower back and upper glutes. (Three
sets each, holding each position for 30 seconds.)
3. Last, strengthen the upper back and shoulders with
these Posture Strength: Ys, Ts and
(Three sets of 20 repetitions for each exercise; repeat three times a week.)
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