Would this be the perfect day?
You go to the office, you sit at your desk with your two-gallon bottle of water by your side. You have three tasks to do, and you do them with ease and efficiency. In fact, after each completed task, you gain more energy to do the next. The morning goes by, then you have your one-hour lunch break and return very quickly to your desk, to sit for the afternoon. You have three more tasks to complete, and you do these tasks with the same ease and efficiency. With more energy gained after each one. As the day progresses, you finish the day strong and you go home to your family.
Happy knowing that you’ve done a good day’s work, right? But in fact, that’s not always the case. When you get to your desk, you already feel tired. You look at your tasks and lists of things to do, and wonder how each is going to get done.
Given your state of fatigue, when you start your first task, you begin to get grumpy. You realize it’s taking slower than you thought. Before you know it, you are watching social media, reading the news, doing your personal emails and texting on your phone. You become distracted. You struggle to continue on and sluggishly complete your first task. But – before completing it, you start to have cravings. You get hungry and you decide to go on a coffee break and get some candy. That, then leads to getting an early lunch.
You know how the story goes…
You don’t finish your tasks and you actually get tired more in the afternoon. Oftentimes, professionals find themselves in this same cycle. You sit at your desk for 8 hours a day, where you are sitting for long periods of time. Your knees start to ache. You sit still and become restless. You realize that sitting motionless is not good for you at your desk, because it reduces your blood flow to your legs.
Why sitting all day is bad for your health
It increases plaque in your arteries. Over the many days, weeks, months, and years that go by, you may end up with diabetes or a form of depression. So what should you do? How much exercise is right for you? You may ask yourself, “Well, isn’t 30 minutes enough for me to do in the morning to feel great and have energy I need to get through the day?” That may be true, but the energy boost that you get from that 30 minute workout is only going to last so long. So how much does moving matter and how much can you do during the day? Just start by moving around very minimally and activate your muscles, move your internal parts a bit. This will assist you with your blood flow. It will assist you with your transport of energy on a molecular level.
How Tai Chi leads to less fatigue
Over time as you move, you increase your muscle strength. You make your bones denser. You lubricate your joints and you have great benefits for your brain, heart, and lungs.
This is not news to you because you know how important exercise is, but you just don’t know how much? Studies show that moderate exercise, five minutes every hour can give you those benefits. Moderate exercise, like walking or what I’m doing right now – Tai Chi – can lead to greater happiness. It can lead to less fatigue, fewer cravings during the day and increase your vigor. Not to mention it will reduce your afternoon slumps. So, how much is the right amount of exercise?
A little bit of activity spread throughout the day is going to improve your wellbeing.
Especially when you’re an office worker, having to sit 8 hours a day, every single organ system in your body is going to be affected by movement, by some form of exercise. So what are moments during the day where you can actually start to move around?
1. Begin by using your bathroom breaks at work to sneak in a few minutes of exercise, maybe in the bathroom, maybe in the corridor or fire stair.
2. Then, there are times when you feel stiffness, maybe in your neck, aches in your shoulder and some leg pains, and you can interpret those feelings as a cue for doing some movement.
3. Finally, there’s the feeling of being lethargic. That is also a cue for you to start moving, get up, maybe not every hour, but whenever you feel the need to get up and walk or do a little stretch. It goes a long way.
I’m not asking you to run a marathon or hike 14K foot peaks, or even jump rope in your office (‘cause I’m sure that’s not allowed), but I am asking you to consider doing a few movements throughout the day. Take little breaks, maybe not every hour, but every so often, a few times in the morning and a few times in the afternoon and see how that feels. Does it give you more energy? Does it make you feel happy? Does it make you feel less fatigue?
Consider this: What is the right amount of exercise for you?
There is such a thing as not getting enough exercise, which is underdosing and getting too much, which is overdosing. So the Dao tells us, and the Dao is nature – nature tells us that extremes are no good.
If you’re a couch potato all day long, it’s probably not good for you. If you are an addictive gym rat, someone who goes to the gym every day for hours, then that might not be such a good idea either, but whatever your circumstances are, I’d advise you to first ask your doctor or physiologist how much exercise you need, because it depends on your particular condition. If you want to have energy throughout the day and finish your day strong, then maybe a few minutes of exercise every hour can go a long way.
So now you might be asking yourself, what kind of exercise should you be doing during the working hours so that you can feel good about yourself, and have a good experience? One that allows you to discover the kinds of motions that your body would enjoy? I cover topics such as these in future posts, so stay tuned.
But – in the meantime, I have a special breathing video for you so that you can have an exercise that you can do in front of your desk. All you have to do is just take the time and get up, stand and do these motions and breathing exercises, click on the link here.
I hope you enjoy these exercises and I will see you in the next blog post.