As if we needed another reason why being fit and in shape and healthy is good for you, we have yet another reason. Exercise is the single best thing you can do for yourself physically. It’s better than any anti-depression drug, it’s better than any high blood pressure medicine, it’s the closest thing to a magic pill that we have.
When we do vigorous exercise, we release “feel-good” chemicals known as Endorphins throughout the brain and the body. So not only does exercise feel good physically when we’re doing it, we also feel the psychological feel-good chemicals when we look in the mirror and see that we’re making progress and getting in shape.
Even though I’m a massage therapist, I don’t always get massages as regularly as I should. You know how it goes: doctors don’t go to the doctor, dentists don’t go to the dentist, massage therapists don’t go for massage etc,. Since I don’t get massages as frequently as I’d like, I rely more heavily on Self-Care exercises and…exercise! As long as I’m moving my body almost every day and doing some self-care on a regular basis…I feel pretty decent.
Of course, I’m a huge believer that the food we eat plays a monumental role in how we feel, think, act etc. The food we eat plays a huge role in how our mood is, how we feel. I used to eat junk food all the time, and I would notice that I would get so grumpy sometimes. When I eat clean…I feel clean, productive, happier, on a mission, like I’m on the right track.
I’ve learned a bit about myself. I know all the things that make me feel terrible, both physically, emotionally and mentally. On the other hand, I’m well aware of all the things that make me feel very good about myself, productive, like I have a purpose. I imagine I’m not the only one. I realize some people are more in tune with their bodies than others.
You might be wondering…well are you going to tell us? Sure, why not.
Things that make me feel terrible:
1. Sitting watching tv/playing video games for hour and hours on end
I have always been addicted to video games. But what I would notice is, that if I was sitting down for like more than three to four hours, I would start to get very grumpy and irritable. My girl can attest to this.
For one, sitting for hour and hours on end is a bad idea. Lack of blood circulation, bad for posture etc. Secondly, staring at a computer screen or a phone for hours and hours isn’t such a great idea either…especially before you go to bed. The blue light in the screen isn’t good for your eyes and it keeps you brain active if you’re trying to go to sleep. Thirdly, playing mindless video games for hours and hours, or watching tv, are both bad for your mind! I try to minimize the tv I watch as much as possible. I think unless it’s with family, it’s a totally waste of time. Either with family, I feel there are much better ways you can bond with your family like playing a board game or something.
2. Eating Junk Food and Sugary Foods.
As I said before, eating junk food, processed foods, or foods loaded with sugar is a terrible idea for many reasons. 1) It spikes your insulin levels, basically making you insulin-resistant i.e. diabetes. 2) It affects your mood, sometimes a LOT. 3) You’re re-addicting yourself over and over to junk food, making it THAT much harder to want to eat good clean healthy food.
3. Being Lazy.
Many times, if I make bad choices, I’ll do a combination or sometimes ALL of the bad things that make me feel terrible, and when I do all of them, man o man, it’s not pretty. I’m much better with it now, if I’m tempted to be lazy, I know right away the consequences. I know I’ll feel terrible later on and so I wisely choose to do the things that make me feel good. Being lazy can become addictive, like anything else. And you hate yourself when you’re lazy too, at least I do.
4. Being Negative.
Believe it or not, thoughts affect you on a physiological level. Being negative can lead to stress, higher blood pressure and much more. Being positive, grateful for life and family and health, has many positive effects.
Things that make me feel good:
2. Exercise makes me feel great. Not during the exercise mind you, but it helps me not to feel terrible. If I don’t exercise and I sit all day, I get this pressure headache that just won’t go away. The only way to get rid of it is through vigorous exercise and a cold shower.
3. Cold Showers.
Most people hate cold showers. I love them. And sometimes I hate them. But in general they help me to feel better. It forces me to be disciplined, but it always snaps your brain awake if you’re sleepy or fatigued. It always helps my headache to go away a bit. I’ve been doing it for so long now that I usually don’t even think about it.
4. Eating clean, healthy Nutritious Foods
Eating clean healthy foods is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll feel nourished, clean and on top of the world. Make sure it’s food you actually enjoy eating. There’s soooo many delicious ways to eat healthy foods.
5. Meditation for 10-15 minutes.
I try to meditate for ten to fifteen minutes every day. It helps me to be grounded, calm and relaxed. It helps me to clear my head and be in the present moment. I highly recommend it.
Ok, there you go. Exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself. Find out the things the healthy habits that make you feel good (in the long run, not short term) and avoid the things that feel good in the moment, but make you feel terrible long term.
Hope you found some value in this, let me know if you liked it.
A Few Tips For People Who Sit All Day At Work
1. Don't sit for more than 4 hours at a time.
Even that is way too much. Better yet, try to get up every hour for about three to five minutes from your desk. Walk around, get some water, stretch...just so you're not sitting hunched over for hours at a time. Trust me I've done it, I know.
I took a flight from Thailand to Japan, six hours, and Japan to Chicago, twelve hours. I didn't get up once on my flight from Japan to Chicago, twelve hours. I regretted that most dearly to say the least. For the next three weeks after I got back, my left glute was so darn tight, I couldn't walk normally. It took stretching three times a day for three weeks for it to get better....so yeah....don't make the same mistake I did.
2. Stick A Pillow or Rolled Up Towel Between Your Lower Back and the Chair.
I've always had lower back issues. I used to commute by driving from Kenosha to Chicago every day for six months. Within twenty-five minutes of driving my lower back would start to hurt bad. So I rolled up a towel, held it together with rubber bands and stuck it behind my lower back in the car while driving. It helped me a lot. I still had some pain, but not nearly as much. You can do this in your car or at your desk at the office. It's a great way to add some lumber support to your back.
3. Pectoral or Chest Stretches Are One of the Best Things You Can Do For Your Back
So you're sitting all day at the desk. Gravity takes it toll on your sitting posture and you begin to slouch and hunch over...just like everyone else. So your chest in front gets closed off from the hunching and rounded shoulders...and in the back, your back is hunching over, thus being lengthened and overstretched.
So if you work on opening up the chest...that would help the back to go from a lengthened state back to it's neutral position, thus reducing pain and discomfort.
One of my favorite stretches to open up the chest: Find a big bouncy ball...and then lay on your back on the ball. Let your arms fall to the sides and feel a great stretching in the pectoralis major, i.e. chest muscles. Do this for one to two minutes a day, at least three days a week, better to do it everyday. Try it, it should help a lot.
4. Get a Standing Desk
Standing desks can be a great way to help prevent you from sitting slouched all day in a chair at a desk. Although I personally, due to my lower back, I can't stand for long periods of time. So I recommend standing for thirty to forty-five minutes, then sitting for thirty minutes. I like alternating. I understand this could be a bit distracting though and could take away from productivity. Play with it and see what works for you.
5. Do Yoga
When you sit all day, your spine is in a flexed position. Everything is forward. The great thing about yoga is that it gets you moving in ways that stretch the spine in different directions. Such as upward dog - putting your spine in extension.
Most people can't move their spine into extension very much, it's very limited. Even for me, I can't do tummy time for more than a few minutes, it gets uncomfortable and starts to hurt pretty quickly. That's why it's so important for mothers to get their babies to do "Tummy Time" a few minutes either every hour or every day. It develops the lower back muscles, which if not strengthened, would cause the body to become very imbalanced.
Well, there you go. A few tips for those who sit at a computer and/or desk all day for work. Hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you found this valuable in any way.
Tips for TMJ