Health News of Saturday, 26 January 2013

Source: r Essel

Great For Executives, Excellent For You

People sit for long hours for various reasons; some do so because they feel too lazy to do anything else, others because it gives them the least pain. A few people are unable to do otherwise because of an illness and a huge disturbing number are forced to sit for long hours either to work or because they are traveling either by an airplane or some other form of vehicle. Is there a very good reason to sit for long hours without standing to walk or stretch out? I wish the answer was a simple YES! But that is easier said than done. It may be worthwhile to find means of moving your body parts while you sit and the flyrobics video on Lufthansa is an excellent source of information that is relevant even in your office, in a car or bus journey and many more.
I am a big fan of taking occasional one minute breaks from your desk to walk and stretch out. It does wonders for your legs, back and neck. I refer to such breaks as DVT-relieving walk and many of the great people I work with will tell you I do it and advise others to do the same. One of my mentors once asked me how he could take breaks to stand during a board meeting for instance and it set me thinking. What a coincidence it was that Lufthansa presented it to me on a silver platter and I am glad to share some relevant parts(with modifications) with you, but always remember that whenever it is possible stand up and do a few minutes walk and stretching.
The first step is to relax in your seat; if you have a neck tie that could rival a suicide rope go ahead and ease the tightness. Your belt should also be loosened. Ideally you should remove your shoes and socks but that is simply impossible in some situations such as sitting in a meeting. Then breathe properly: take in a deep breath through your nostrils and breathe out slowly through partially closed (pursed) lips.
Wriggle your toes for about a minute then lift your right foot off the ground. Use your foot to draw circles in the air in a clockwise direction. Count up to ten and stop. Repeat this process two more times and then repeat the whole process moving your foot in an anticlockwise direction. Throughout the process keep on breathing as described above. The left foot will now have its turn.
Now put both feet flat on the ground. Focus on the right foot again. Lift your right heel off the ground, put it back on the floor and lift the front of the foot with the toes up next. Then continue to alternate; heel up followed by toes up. Count up to ten and breathe slowly throughout. Repeat with the left foot.
Now lift your right thigh and keep your knee bent. Put your left hand on your right thigh and press the right thigh down. Resist this push with your thigh. Repeat the process with your left thigh and right hand. I know the processes described can be done conveniently while you are seated at your desk in the office or behind your wares at the market or in a car or bus traveling but this obviously excludes the driver. I believe the driver should focus totally on the job. If you are in traffic that is at a total standstill then you may, otherwise stick to the old routine of breaking your journey and getting out of the vehicle to move around.
Sit upright and with your arms hanging loosely by your sides, lift your shoulders towards your ears and return shoulders to the starting position. This motion is similar to a shrug. Do this ten more times and then repeat the whole process two more times. You guessed right, breathe slowly as you do this.
Your neck can get really tensed out and we will not leave it out. Sit upright, feet flat on the ground. Look straight ahead. Turn your neck to the right to look at the tip of your right shoulder. Count up to ten. Repeat whole process twice. Then do the same to the left. Now support the back of your head with the fingers of both hands clasped or interlocked. Try to push your head backwards while you resist with your interlocked fingers. Count up to ten and repeat process two additional times. Then switch your interlocked fingers to your forehead. Push your head forwards and resist with your hands.
If your seat has an armrest this is excellent otherwise you may need to use your thighs. Place your wrists at the edge of your armrest such that your hands can hang over the tip. Lift your hand such that your palms face forwards away from you and then drop them such that your palms are facing you while hanging down. You may do this for both hands at the same time or use one hand at a time. Count up to ten and then complete three sets of the whole process.
Make a fist and release it while you breathe slowly. Repeat fifteen times. Complete three sets and then relax. You may repeat this whole process every two hours.
These seated exercises are great but the ultimate is to get up and walk. Do not substitute your regular exercises with these and if there is an opportunity to walk during a long journey please CEASE IT! and use it appropriately. Look out for more ways to keep active while seated. I will provide that soon.

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week –“The top three wealth creating strategies are 1. Stay Healthy 2. Stay Healthy 3. Stay Healthy.”
1. Inspired by Lufthansa FLYROBICS.