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Staying healthy in small business

While there certainly are challenges and constraints to being a business owner, one positive is that we often have more flexibility with our time and have greater control over how we structure our day. Whether we work at home, in a shopfront or other designated space, finding ways to keep ourselves healthy is not only good for our bodies and minds, but for our businesses too!

By taking regular breaks, eating well and moving often, we can boost our creativity, productivity and ability to cope with the demands business places on us every day. As a bonus, we will need less time off for illness, we will sleep better and be able to function without 10 cups of coffee a day!

For those of us who work at desks, moving regularly throughout the day is imperative to preventing long-term postural problems too. Common complaints such as neck pain, headaches and back pain can be eased by frequent stretching and movement, rather than relying on painkillers. Even if you work out regularly, long periods of sitting still can still wreak havoc on your body – so don’t be fooled that your evening fitness class or gym session is enough to counteract eight hours of sitting hunched over a keyboard.

Staying Healthy in small business | Written by Fleur Chapman

Tips for staying healthy at work – eating well

  • Be prepared
    Even if you work at home, prepare lunch in advance. Have some leftovers packaged up ready to heat and eat, or pack yourself something while you put together the kids’ lunches. 
  • Have healthy snacks on hand
    The same goes for snacks – plan ahead as much as possible. For example, have fruit chilled and ready to eat and some veggie sticks pre-cut in the fridge. Grab some hummus at the supermarket (or make your own), or put together little pots of Greek yoghurt with berries. If you have time on the weekends, cook up an oat slice, healthy muffins or protein balls. Having healthy food choices at your fingertips for when you get the munchies is the best way to stop the impromptu cracker grab or the afternoon blood sugar dip that drives us to seek out chocolate.
  • Tune into your hunger cues
    Listening to your body is another key way to ensure you eat well throughout the day. When lunch or your usual snack time rolls around, stop for a moment and think about whether you are hungry yet. If not, there is no harm in delaying food for a little while longer. Conversely, if your stomach starts growling at 11am and you have the flexibility to move lunch, do it!
  • Eat to 80% full
    When it is time to eat, keep tuned in to your body and make a conscious effort to stop eating before you are full. Aim to keep your belly comfortable but satisfied and leave a little wiggle room for your brain to catch up. Eating slowly can help you identify when you have had enough to eat, and choosing a variety of foods covering fat, protein and carbs ensures a balance of nutrients and ample satiety for the coming hours.

Tips for staying healthy at work – fit in movement throughout the day

  • Make use of technology
    Many smartwatches have a reminder each hour to get up and move. Rather than mute the notification, stop what you are doing and stand up, go for a quick walk or stretch for a couple of minutes. If you don’t have a smartwatch, set a timer or use a program such as a Pomodoro timer to make sure you take regular breaks. 
  • Off-the-cuff workout
    Get your movement fix with a quick Tabata workout between jobs or during your lunch break. This type of routine is also great as a morning workout to get you going for the day. Tabata workouts traditionally take just four minutes, but to make the most of the short time, aim to really push yourself during the work phase and get as many reps in as you can. Tabata utilises intervals of 20 seconds on the exercise and 10 seconds rest done eight times through for a total of four minutes. If you feel up to it, repeat the four minutes two or three times for a longer workout.

Try one of these Tabata workouts (twice through one set of four to make eight), or mix and match your favourite exercises. You can download a Tabata timer app or just use a stopwatch and keep an eye on the numbers. Do one exercise for 20 seconds, have 10 seconds break, then move on to the next exercise for 20 seconds and so on:

Staying Healthy in small business | Photography by CLP Advertising
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Situps
  • Burpees
  • Running on the spot
  • Mountain climbers
  • Pushups
  • Scissor kicks
  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees (running on the spot with knees coming up to hip height)
  • Butt kicks 
  • Jumping squat
  • Bust out some desk exercises
    If you don’t have the energy to go for a walk or sweat over a Tabata workout, some simple desk exercises can do wonders for your body and mind. If you work with other people, you may have to offer an explanation, but if you work solo – go nuts! You can even do these while you are reading an email!

Try this quick routine:

  • 20 arm circles (10 each way)
  • 20 arm swings (forward)
  • 20 forward punches (10 each arm)
  • 20 chair squats
  • 20 calf raises
  • 20 side (lateral) standing leg raises (stand straight and lift one leg to the side, alternating)

These are just a few ideas to help you stay healthy during your workday. No matter how busy we find ourselves, it is important to stay active and nourish our bodies with the right fuel (and the right amount) so we can stay at the top of our small business game.

For more tips on health and fitness, visit my website by clicking the button below, or book in for a free initial consultation to learn more about my nutrition and fitness coaching services.

I offer one-on-one programs tailored to your unique needs, covering food, mindset, sleep, stress, fitness and more. Together, we unravel old habits that no longer serve you well, and replace them with sustainable daily practices that move you towards your health and fitness goals naturally, easily and for the long-term. No deprivation, no tricks and no fancy products needed! Contact me on 0412 603 163 or fleur@fleurchapman.com.au.