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You know that your health is important, but did you know that improving your health also improves your performance at work. It’s true! When it comes to performance at work, good health isn’t just for athletes and construction workers. It’s important for us desk jockeys too.
Plenty of studies demonstrate you’re at your most productive when you take a short break when performing long tasks. It gives your brain a chance to refresh and your body a chance to stretch out. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to take a 5 or 10-minute break every hour of the day. Here are a couple of tips to keep you healthy and productive even when you’re tied to your desk for most of the day.
1. Drink Lemon Water
Drink an eight-ounce glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it. Why? When you drink lemon juice your liver breaks down waste more efficiently and helps alleviate bloating, gas, constipation and general body aches.
2. Drink More Water
You’ve heard that you need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, but that isn’t true for everyone. Some of us need even more water to function at optimal levels. The Institute of Medicine says that most men need about three liters of water a day and most women need around 2.2 liters per day. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water is only 1.9 liters, so women should be drinking about nine glasses per day and men should be drinking about twelve glasses of water per day to maximize their hydration and performance.
3. Take Time To Stretch
One of the reasons it’s a good idea to get away from your desk is to get your blood flowing again. If you can’t get away, you can still improve your circulation by stretching at your desk. The fresh blood and oxygen makes your brain function better and helps relieve neck and shoulder tension.
- Start with your back straight and cross your right arm over your chest. You’re trying to reach a spot behind your left ear with your right hand. Bring your chin into your right shoulder and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch on the other side. Doing this stretches the muscles in the back of your head and helps keep migraines and tension headaches at bay.
- Stretch your neck and upper back by placing both of your hands on the back of your head and interlocking your fingers. Relax your neck and keep your back straight. Let the weight of your hands bring your head forward. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Place your right hand on your hip and raise your left arm towards the ceiling. Hold that pose and bend your upper body to the right. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side of your body. This pose stretches your oblique muscles and helps open your rib cage, allowing air to circulate more efficiently.
- Finally, stand up and place both hands in front of you and on your desk. Take a couple of steps backwards so you’re bent slightly forward at the waist with your arms are extended and face pointed at the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
4. Eat Protein
Instead of snacking on chips or candy throughout the day, stick to snacks that are high in protein. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. Snacks high in carbohydrates cause your sugar levels to spike and eventually crash. The crash saps your energy and causes you to feel sluggish and tired. Replacing donuts and candy bars with high-protein snacks helps regulate your blood sugar and allows you to be at peak performance all day long.
5. Ditch Your Chair. Maybe.
Sitting in a chair all day promotes poor posture. Poor posture restricts blood flow, nerve function and can lead to lower back, shoulder, and upper neck pain. You can try swapping your chair for an inflatable exercise ball or switch to a standing desk. Of course, you could always keep your chair, practice good sitting posture, and make sure to get up and move around for a bit every hour or two. Whatever you choose, make sure that you’re comfortable or your productivity will fall off.