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The Top 10 Ways in an Office or at home

--by Dennis R. Tesdell

Everyone knows it is hard to schedule exercise, especially if one owns a home business. People who have an office or business in their home are at an advantage however. The following list will show the many exercises and techniques that can be used in a "home office" setting to aid in both health and productivity.

1. Get Up And Down Frequently
Instead of sitting in the desk chair all day, get up and down frequently. Taking just a 3-5 minute break every hour and walking around will benefit your eyes, your back, and increase your attention span. It also will burn some calories and give you mild exercise benefit.
2. Hop On The Treadmill Or Stationary Bike ( if you have one)
Just 10-15 minutes a day on a teadmill, stationary bike, etc., when taking a break will benefit you. Especially effective, and sometimes easier, is to take two or three 5-10 minute breaks to do the exercise. Total time counts, not "single session" time. The exercise benefit is cumulative.
3. Use Stairs If You Have Them
Have a two-story home? A basement? Take a "stair stepping" break 2-3 times or more per day. One step up is the equivilant to about 5-6 steps on a flat surface from an aerobic standpoint.
4. "Stretch And Flex"
This is easy and can be done right next to your work area. Several times a day (3-4 is fine) stretch your back, legs, arms and neck by doing simple and easy to learn neck rotations, back and side bends, and specific exercises to help keep the arms, hands, and legs from getting too tight during the day from sitting or from doing repetitive movements like typing or even using a mouse.
5. Go Out For Lunch vs. Eating At Your Desk Or At Home
Sure, you are home, and eating there is easier. The point is to get a change of movement and atmosphere. If there's a nearby eatery, go there. If you will make time, eat anywhere, but take a 10-15 minute walk around your home after eating. It's exercise, it's relaxing, and it promotes good digestion.
6. Exercise AT Your Work Chair
There are many isometric and gentle exercises especially for the upper body that can be done in your office chair. Check the local bookstore, or an Internet bookstore, in the health and exercise section. You'll find several for use by people in an office environment.
7. Exercise correct Breathing Throughout The Day
When we are tense, talking on the phone alot, or very busy, we tend to breathe shallowly, to hyperventilate (if tense) or to breathe from the thoracic or upper chest area. Healthy breathing (like when we are relaxed or sleeping) comes from the diaphram/low abdomen area. Practicing breathing from the diaphram will energize and relax you. Once you get used to breathing that way, you will do it automatically.
8. Exercise Your Hands/Arms At Your Desk
Seed-filled plastic "squeezer" balls, sports handballs, or any number of other spring loaded or air filled gadgets are made to exercise the hand and lower arm muscles. These can easily be kept on your desk on in a drawer and used throughout the day as you are on the phone or reading. The use of these is suggested by physical therapists to treat and to prevent Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (a common hand muscle disease caused by doing repetitive tasks such as typing on a keyboard). The use of these "squeeze" toys can strengthen the hands, fingers and lower arm muscles, and they are also very good stress reducers.
9. Exercise Your Eyes
Ok, it sounds silly. But behind all of your eye movements are muscles. Eyestrain, from working at the terminal screen, or from reading too much paperwork, can cause burning, dryness, watering and blurriness in the eyes. You can help prevent or remedy these symptoms. Every 15-20 minutes if you are using your computer screen, look off in the distance at another object for 2-3 minutes. Relax and loosen up your eye muscles by SLOWLY rolling the eyes in a circle, first one way, then the other, 3-4 times. Do it slowly! The use of products which will lubricate your eyes and help alleviate burning and dryness is recommended. Try not to use the drops that have the "gets the red out" chemicals in them. These can end up making your eyes more red and irritated than before. Use eyedrops that are all natural, unless directed by a physician to use another kind.
10. Exercise Your Hearing and Your Mind
Just as most people are dominant with the right or left hand when doing tasks, most people favor one ear when talking on the telephone.This can cause problems with a tight neck by the end of the day. It also has been shown that when we change our usual "dominant" ear (same goes with our hand) we change the way the brain operates, and we add more range for creative potential and endeavors. You can really see and feel this effect when walking. If your right arm normally swings forward as your left leg is back, change it so your left arm swings forward with your left leg - so arms and legs are "in sync." It feels odd, but when practiced, it is said to benefit your ability to balance out your right and left brain hemispheres. If nothing else, it is walking -- which is, after all, exercise!

Related Links
MensHealth On-line version of this top magazine go!
Fitness Link Good on-line guide
They said...
Noah was an amateur; the Titanic was built by professionals. (Malcolm Allison)