BC magazine's Top 10 tips to tune yourself up

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BC magazine's Top 10 tips to tune yourself up Empty BC magazine's Top 10 tips to tune yourself up

Post  Rex Smith on Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:24 pm

From the January edition of BC magazine.

Staying healthy in a city like Hong Kong, holding down a steady job and juggling family affairs can be a major undertaking.

When it comes around to New Year’s resolutions, let’s face it – it’s all a bit of a farce. “I’m going to quit smoking,” “I’m going to be a vegan” and “I’m going to go 100% green” get thrown about like candy. These are huge changes, and, if successful, deserve congratulations. But most of us might as well be asking the tooth fairy for, well… anything really.

This is Asia’s World City, we work all day and we play all night. Regulating our sleep so that we can hit the sack at 10pm on the dot every night of the week just isn’t an option. Hitting the gym five times a week – not plausible. Using our lunch breaks to get out of our Wanchai office to run about the surrounding area – just not a good idea. So how can we at least make an effort to become healthy and stay that way? We present to you bc’s 21st Century Business Person’s 10 Tips to Get Healthy.

1. Have Something Before You Go To Work
This one is quite touchy, because it appears to conflict with another of many people’s resolutions – losing weight. There are all sorts of reasons why this is completely ridiculous. Not eating breakfast will make us grumpy, affect our mood levels and exhaust us. It’ll tempt us into snacking on junk food later on. And, most obviously, we don’t get the nutrients we need. Losing weight isn’t about starving your body of health, it’s about moderation, and that has nothing to do with skipping a meal. Many of us skip breakfast because we simply don’t have the timeor don’t feel hungry in the mornings. Yet ‘breaking the fast’ gives us the blood glucose injection to the brain and body that we’ve been lacking for 8-12 hours and without which we are running on empty. Even just afive-minute bowl of muesli in the morning cuts your time between meals from possibly 16 hours (dinner last night to lunch today) to a reasonable 8-10. If you’re really pushed, have a fruit salad straight from the fridge or pack a breakfast sandwich for the office once you get settled. Don’t confuse not taking the time with not having the time.

2. Become a Stair Master
You have left home and it is time for the next challenge: the commute. That campaign, that struggle, that war. We are talking here about MTR commuters, with apologies to readers with free car park spaces and those who take the bus. If you haven’t noticed, those kind folks of the underground have labelled various staircases next to the escalators with the number of steps they have, and all the way down the walls delightfully colourful silhouettes are rays of sunshine in what can be an hour-long game of ‘sardines’ for many of us. Chances are, however, that some people, blinkers attached, charging towards the nearest escalator, haven’t noticed either stair numbers or silhouettes. Ironically, those same people often take to the left and pump their calves up the moving conveniences anyway. So why not take the stairs? Besides alleviating traffic flow, and putting yourself in a lane where fewer old ladies will be knocked over so that you can clock in on time, you could get a health boost along the way. And for extra points, mimic the silhouettes as you pass them.

3. Wean Off The Bean
You emerge from sub terra and, with the office in sight, you might decide to make a beeline for the local caffeine distributor. We know the reasons why we shouldn’t – coffee is a drug, it cuts off sleep hours, it makes us pee more, blah, blah. Which is all true and should be reason enough, but for many of us being a part of the Pacific Coffee/Starbucks crowd just isn’t worth sacrificing. It’s a money-centric world, so here’s an incentive that ought to do the trick. Cut out one grande cup of café latte ($30) every day and, besides the health benefits of better sleep, stabilizing adrenaline and hormones, you’ll find that you can save enough for an Xbox 360 in 74 days, a 46” LCD in under a year (prices taken from Fortress) or a night in one of the Burj Al Arab’s Deluxe King Suite’s in 602 days. Now, what would you rather have?

4. Officercise
You’re finally at your desk, contemplating the long day ahead. Now is the time to get some exercises going. And we don’t mean office rowing. Regular passengers of long-haul flights might be familiar with these sedentary exercises, the goal being to stay in one’s seat while keeping the blood pumping. With a straight back, keep it simple with shoulder rotations and flexing your feet ballerina style. Hold your legs out at 90 degrees for 20 seconds or as long as you can. If you don’t have the space, keep your legs neatly under the desk and alternate pushing pedals with your heels. These exercises have been known to keep the blood moving and help prevent deep vein thrombosis on long-haul flights – and don’t Monday afternoons sometimes feel just like those, but without the movies and in-flight service.

5. Get To Know Your Circadian Rhythm
In layman’s terms, we’re talking about your body clock here. This physiological process is what determines our regular sleep and eating patterns and without it we’d be jetlagged 24-7. Why are we so tired on Mondays? Most of the time it’s more because we slept in on Saturday and/or Sunday rather than partied hard the night before. And though the sleep-in might have seemed like a good idea at the time, it interfered with our body clock and, by the time the weekend is over, we’re being alarm clocked out of our sleep on a Monday morning with three hours less snooze than our bodies thought they were going to get. Wake up at the usual time (or around about) on weekends. Trust us, it might hurt to begin with but it will keep you surprisingly revitalized.
Knowing your rhythm can also greatly help during the day. As a general trend, we are tired when we wake up, hit our peak in the early morning, get tired through the afternoon, start to wake up again throughout the evening, then slump just before bedtime. By getting to know your exact patterns, move heavy or strenuous work to ‘awake’ times (usually around 11am), and take that brisk 10 minute walk around the block during your slump (usually around 4pm). Theoretically, your efficiency will go up, and your stress levels will go down.

6. Get Hydrated
Here is an example of a resolution we failed at keeping: “Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic beverages at social gatherings.” Yeah, right. So how else are we going to get our mythic eight glasses and is it really all that important? Well, on average, we lose 1.5 litres of moisture through urination and one litre through breathing and perspiring. Food usually accounts for half a litre of fluid taken on board, so quick maths tells us that we need two litres of water. There’s your eight cups. If it is difficult to make water your drink of choice, drink the glass of water provided at the restaurant you’re eating at for lunch as you wait for the meal. And use the water dispenser in the office, just one glass during and in between meals, and opening and ending your day makes seven already. The eighth will take a smidgen of willpower – so sue us.

7. Patch Adams Was Right
You’re lunching with your pals and the laughter flows freely. That merriment might be as important for you as the food. “Specifically, laughing was found to increase blood flow by more than 20%, with the positive effect lasting for up to 45 minutes. On the other hand, stress decreased blood flow by approximately 35%,” a 2005 study by the University of Maryland tells us. And it doesn’t take Einstein to let us know that people who laugh are generally happy. Gasping for air during a hilarious joke is a fantastic aerobic exercise; your blood pressure lowers, as do stress levels. Further research by the university has even gone so far as to show that “laughter [can] change one’s biochemical state by decreasing stress hormones and increasing antibodies. Laughter could help an individual fight off illness by increasing the body’s infection-fighting cells.”

8. Get Networking
Work is over for another day and thoughts turn to relaxation. Bars, restaurants and other social venues fill up with people out to relax and have
fun. And to good effect, for great times with your friends have been proven to help marriages and serious relationships
greatly. Believe it or not, a study at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, USA has shown that health is actually linked to one’s social life. The study provided strong evidence that those with greater social ties (more friends in greater areas) are “less vulnerable to colds and have milder symptoms when they do get sick”. Who would have thought that going out partying was actually better for you than working overtime at the office?

9. Listen To The Music [Note: death metal is exempt from the following]
Finally, it is time to go home. Get on that bus or train and wait. Most of us already do this, so this is really more of a ‘keep up the good work’ entry. Listen to music. And none of that tropical rainstorm or whales moaning crap, tracks like these have actually been shown to have adverse EEG patterns. Just listen to the music you like. Musictherapy.org suggests that it is “the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us although we may not be very conscious about it”. It cites our mother’s heartbeat when we are in the womb as a possible source of why music soothes us so effectively. When we listen to music that appeals to us, an “amazing right/left brain hemisphere synchronization occur[s]” the website claims. Also, when we listen to music, we start breathing more deeply which leads to a slower heartbeat. Serotonin levels rise as well. Massage parlours always play music – because it is a tried and tested method to relieve stress.

10. Entertainment Exercises
Work may be out of the way but we still may have to face a workout, even though we know the gym is all wrong for most of us. We go there because we don’t have the time for anything else and it appears the easiest, fastest option. But with rank upon rank of treadmills and rowing machines, it looks daunting and gets tiresome quickly and soon not even our efficient get-fit scheme is worth it and we quit. Try to put the fun back into your exercise with a martial art, or getting back in touch with the inner kid with rock climbing or mountain biking, or, if you can’t leave the city, sign up to a salsa class. And if you can’t even get out of the house, freak out to a dance mix in the bedroom for 30 minutes (we recommend locking the door behind you first). Just do something fun, something you’ll look forward to the next day.

If you follow this guide, we’re not guaranteeing you a Brad-pack or anything like swimmer’s shoulders, sorry. But let’s face it, few of us need either and if we really felt we did we’d already be packing on the creatine and renting Pumping Iron every Saturday night. At least if you follow these 10 tips, we can guarantee that staying healthy will be one hell of a lot easier to keep up than Atkins. And a step in the right direction cannot be a bad thing.
Rex Smith
Rex Smith

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BC magazine's Top 10 tips to tune yourself up Empty Re: BC magazine's Top 10 tips to tune yourself up

Post  Grant Wistful on Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:03 am

HK is only 12 hours from London!!!

Get your sleep before you head out and try for some shut eye on board, if you can!

It takes me 3-4 days to get on the local time, and by then I am usually off to Mauritius or Manama.


Grant!!! Laughing

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