Do you sit at a desk most of the day? Here’s how to stay active during the 9-5!

Stay active

Do you sit at a desk most of the day? Here’s how to stay active during the 9-5!

Would you be embarrassed if you got caught doing jumping jacks in your office? We hope not—and we think many successful companies would likely applaud the effort!

It’s becoming more well known that staying physically active throughout the workday isn’t just better for your health. It can also boost productivity, job satisfaction, and psychological well-being, too. Even if you work at a desk, there are plenty of simple things you can do to get moving more often. Check out these five tips from our physiotherapy team here at NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness Inc.—tips we actually use ourselves!

5 Simple Strategies to Stay Active at Work

  1. Hydrate. Drinking more water throughout the day can improve mental clarity and support healthy joints and connective tissues. Plus, if you keep a glass or stainless steel bottle of water on hand, you’ll find yourself having to get up more often simply to refill the bottle or relieve yourself. 
  2. Schedule “movement breaks.” Getting into the flow at work is a great feeling—but you don’t want to look up from your desk and see that one, two, three or more hours have gone by since you’ve gotten up from your desk! So, set a timer on your watch or phone to go off once per hour (or at least be more mindful of the clock) and use these breaks to stand up, go for a short walk, or do some simple stretches and exercises.
  3. Modify your desk set up. Is there a way for you to install an adjustable sit to stand desk in your office? You may not even have to replace the whole desk—these days it’s easy to find high quality and affordable portable options online or in retail stores. You can also consult with a physiotherapist to ensure the ergonomic set-up is ideal, so you can minimize any strain on your neck, back, shoulders, hands, and hips during the time you do spend sitting.
  4. Make moves on the move. Instead of sending an email or text to your colleague down the hall, why not walk down and deliver the message in person? You can also take business calls while walking outside. 
  5. Lastly, do you love your lunch breaks? Sit down and enjoy your meal, but when you’re done eating use the remaining time to go for a walk around the building or even climb a few flights of stairs. We know it’s tempting to just work through lunch. But if you take even just five minutes to get up and move mid-day, you’ll be staving off health risks associated with excessive sitting and you may very well find yourself with way more energy.

How a Physiotherapist Can Help You Get Moving—At Work and in Life

There’s a good reason why the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” was coined. Excessive sedentary behavior and sitting for too long (e.g., 7 or more hours per day) has been scientifically linked to an increased risk to potentially life-altering conditions like heart disease, obesity, and chronic back pain. This is why we’d love for you to contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness Inc. We can help you stay more active at work by:

  • Teaching you specific exercises and stretches that are individually tailored to your body’s needs
  • Address underlying health conditions, like degenerative disc disease or sciatica, which can make both moving and sitting difficult
  • Help you optimize your ergonomic environment
  • Recommend specialized tools, like kinesio tape and customized orthotics, to improve your posture and enhance our other healing modalities
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How the Addition of Carbs Can Improve Your Active Lifestyle

Anyone who lives an active lifestyle knows how important physical activity is to maintaining that sense of well-being. However, you also know how much energy it takes to maintain that lifestyle – workout routines, athletic training, competitions, injury rehabilitation exercises, and even the non-stop pace of your everyday life can take a lot out of you. That’s why carbohydrates are so important.

When your body uses energy, it first turns to carbs. If you’re working hard at the gym or in physical therapy treatments, it is important to fuel up on carbohydrates in order to reach your goals. For more information on how a physiotherapist can help guide you in your carb intake, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness in Winnipeg, MB today.

Why are carbs so important?

To understand the importance of carbohydrates, you must first understand what they are. Carbs are identified as organic molecules comprised of equal parts hydrogen, oxygen, and water. They can also be split into two separate categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. Sugar is a fast-burning fuel that your body absorbs quickly. When you are in need of immediate energy in large quantities, your body will burn its simple sugars first. These carbohydrates will increase your body’s natural insulin levels until they are burned off.

Complex carbohydrates contain larger chains of sugars, but unlike simple carbs, they also contain fiber. Complex carbs burn much slower and steadier than simple carbohydrates, allowing insulin levels to increase less dramatically.

Both simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates can post different benefits depending upon the activity in which you are participating. For example, if a sprinter needs to burn a large amount of energy in less than a minute, simple carbs could help significantly. Conversely, endurance athletes who partake in steady, long-term activities will benefit more from the slow-burning complex carbohydrates. Whatever the case may be, carbohydrates can assist you in getting where you need to be for your physical goals.

Why cutting carbs isn’t ideal:

Any unwanted extra weight can undoubtedly hinder your active lifestyle. It not only slows you down and lowers your physical function, but it can also result in long-term effects to your weight-bearing muscles and joints.

Carbohydrates that go unused end up getting stored away as fat instead, which is why many people decide to cut out carbs when they are trying to stay fit. However, a physiotherapist will tell you that carbohydrates should be a plentiful part of your diet! Carbs are good for heart function, brain activity, and other physical processes. Additionally, cutting out carbohydrates from your diet will force your body to burn protein as a substitute fuel source. This can result in reduced muscle mass and an overall sluggish feeling.

Carbs can enhance PT treatments!

If you’re in a physiotherapy program for restoring injured tissues, boosting your muscle strength, or improving your range of motion, carbohydrates can help! If your physiotherapist prescribed active exercises, such as walking/running on a treadmill, swimming, or cycling, your body will need enough glycogen (blood sugar) to remain energetic and stay on track.

Because of this, your physiotherapist can advise you on how you should prep with meals before your physiotherapy sessions; for example, consuming 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of your body weight for each hour of activity. Your physiotherapist may also suggest adding additional carbs to your post-workout meal (in addition to muscle-building protein) because your body will still be burning fuel after your workout is complete.

Carbs can help you achieve the most out of your high-energy tasks or physiotherapy sessions. To learn more about how participating in proper dietary practices can help you achieve optimum results, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today and schedule an appointment!

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4 Simple Ways to Feel Better by Strengthening Your Core

Have you been suffering from persistent pain? Are you trying to get your body vacation-ready? Do you want to shake the sluggish feeling that’s been dragging you down? Whatever the case may be, core exercises can help. These simple and classic techniques have been practiced by athletes for years and are a great way to quickly increase your body’s core strength.

If you are recovering from an injury or beginning these core strengthening exercises for the first time, it would be in your best interest to consult with a physiotherapist beforehand. Engaging in strenuous exercise can do wonders for your body, but it can also do harm if your body is not ready for it. A physiotherapist can also advise you on correct techniques, providing you with the appropriate adjustments for safely performing these exercises.

Once you’ve received the go-ahead from your PT, you can begin performing the exercises listed below. For the best results, begin by completing these exercises 5 times each. As your core strength increases, your repetitions will be able to increase, as well. Consult with your physiotherapist before you increase your repetitions to the 15-25 range.

1. Plank

The plank is one of the most efficient core strengthening exercises used by athletes everywhere. It is a great way to warm up by engaging your core muscles: the internal and external obliques, the hip flexors, the rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis, the erector spinae, and multifidus.

  1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Make sure your forearms are parallel to one another, at about a shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Lift yourself into a horizontal position by balancing yourself on your forearms and toes, making sure to squeeze your glutes to allow extra support for your body.
  3. Utilize your leg strength in order to keep yourself upright. The position should look similar to a pushup, except you’ll be balancing yourself on your forearms instead of your hands.
  4. Maintain your neck and spine neutrality by looking at a spot approximately one foot beyond your hands.
  5. Stay in this position for as long as possible, without compromising your form. Aim for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Make sure to take slow breaths the entire time.

2. Abdominal Crunch

This exercise can feel intense if you’ve been on a workout hiatus. However, it is an exceptionally successful exercise for increasing core strength and endurance.

  1. Lie down on your back with your feet placed flat on a wall. Make sure your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles and glutes by squeezing them. Place your arms across your chest, rather than behind your head, in order to avoid neck strain.
  3. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Hold for three deep breaths.
  4. Resume your starting position and repeat.

3. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your rectus abdominis and obliques. Much like the abdominal crunch, this one may feel sore if you haven’t exercised in a while, so start off slow.

  1. Lie down with your back flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head, with fingers intertwined. Make sure you do not pull on your neck.
  2. Raise your knees to a 45-degree angle in the air. Slowly start making a “pedaling” motion, as if you are riding a bike.
  3. As you “pedal,” bring your elbows to your knees, so that your right elbow meets your left knee and your left elbow meets your right knee.
  4. Repeat without sacrificing your form or losing your breath.

4. Bridge Exercise

Bridge exercises help to strengthen and stretch your abs, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. It is also a common rehabilitation exercise for core improvement and spinal stabilization.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your arms flat near your sides.
  3. Engage your abs and glutes by squeezing them. Slowly lift your hips to create a straight line between your knees and shoulders.
  4. Hold the position for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Or, you can hold until you begin to lose control of your body.
  5. To increase intensity, lift your feet so that only your toes are touching the ground. Afterward, you can alternate so that only your heels are on the ground.

It is normal to anticipate a few challenges before beginning new core strengthening exercises. You’ll be working out muscles that have remained stagnant for an extended period of time. It is perfectly fine (and recommended!) to start off slow, as long as you consistently continue your exercises.

For more information and insight on how core strengthening can benefit you, contact NRG Athlete Therapy Fitness today. One of our experienced physiotherapists can provide a full physiotherapy evaluation and exercise plan for your specific needs!

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