I am excited to partner with Amy Connell with Graced Health. Amy is a recovering calorie and step counter. She’s a nutrition nut who also loves wine and chocolate, especially when enjoyed together. She founded Graced Health in 2016 to minister to women seeking a faith-based healthy lifestyle but don’t always have the time or energy for a perfect process (or body). Amy encourages women to strive for balanced health, sustainable healthy living, and appreciation of their bodies. She writes, speaks and coaches this same mission. Amy has been a certified group fitness instructor for over 12 years. Today Amy gives us best get healthy tips that you can use at the office - even when you are in your business suit!
I’m a checklist girl. Placing a solid line through each task gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. I admit sometimes I write items I’ve already accomplished just so I can cross them off. Morning quiet time? Check. Workout, check. “Big Three” items I want to accomplish today? Check (sometimes).
Unfortunately, I often find myself so focused on checking off the boxes that I forget to check in with my own body. I get in a zone churning out a project, fingers tip-tapping away, and looking deep into the twenty-inch screen in front of me. Then I stand up, take a few steps and realize I can’t stand upright immediately. My entire body needs a few steps to recalibrate.
Turns out being so productive has its drawbacks. I’m trying to adjust. Instead of compartmentalizing each task on my to-do list, I’ve been trying to integrate movement and productivity. I add a couple of two-minute movements to my day in between sitting and more sitting.
Adding in simple movements throughout the day offers other unexpected benefits. Forbes Magazine reported results from a study that gives motivation for taking mini-breaks throughout the day.
Getting up and moving can provide:
• More energy
• Higher engagement in your task at hand
• Increased efficiency
Taking just a short break to strengthen or stretch one area helps your brain finish the task at hand. Think of it like accomplishing a big project two minutes at a time.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to take care of your body. It’s possible to weave movements into your day … even in professional attire!
Try incorporating these mid-morning and mid-afternoon to strengthen your body and productivity.
Standing Leg Extensions
This is a small movement that strengthens your secondary glute muscles (gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae). These muscles support hip stabilization and assist our larger gluteus maximus (otherwise known as the buttock). Focusing on these smaller muscles help prevent injuries. Trust me on that; I had to learn the hard way.
Stand tall with your shoulders back. Lace your rib cage together and pull in your belly button. This is also known as “engaging your core.” Shift over to the left side while keeping your shoulders level. Extend your right leg out to the side. Keep both legs straight. Rotate your heel up and point your toe down. Left and lower 10-15 times while leading with your heel. Hold on to your desk or a chair if you need balance support. Keep your shoulders level the entire time; it’s easy to start leaning over. Repeat on the other side.
Next time you’re on the phone, take advantage of that stationary time to work on your balance. Strengthening the small muscles around your ankles and knees helps prevent injuries and falls.
Stand tall with your feet together. Press your shoulders back and engage your core. Shift your weight to the left leg. Raise your right heel and keep your toes on the ground. As you feel comfortable, elevate the right leg off the ground and ride it up your calf. If necessary, place the front of your hands on your desk to help you stabilize. (Note: this may be challenging in heels, so either remove them momentarily or ensure you have something to grab onto if you feel unstable.) Repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Our hip flexor is the muscle that connects our hip joint to our femur, or large thigh bone. It remains in one position while we sit and check off our to-do list. Stretch it by performing this exercise.
Stand tall with your shoulders back and engage your core. Take one step back with your left foot while your right foot remains centered. Your right leg should be bent. Press your left heel down to the ground and straighten your left leg. Drive your left hip to your right heel and contract your left gluteal (buttock) muscle. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat on the other side.
We may not need one more to-do, but try putting these on your list. You’ll check them off feeling strengthened, stretched, and more energetic! Check out the "how-to" pictures below to get your office fitness on! And if you want more resources like a FREE 23 minute workout if you sign up for the emails at Graced Health!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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