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Are Desk-Bound Individuals More Susceptible to Health and Mobility Issues?​

Ever feel the ache from sitting too much at your desk? Shikha Puri Arora has the game plan you need in her latest book, Move Better.  This book isn’t just about sitting less; it’s your ticket to feeling awesome every day and staying away from ache-y postures and limited mobility.

Read this exclusive excerpt to learn simple tricks that can make sitting at your desk a breeze, keeping discomfort away and bringing more pep to your step.
Say goodbye to desk discomfort and hello to a healthier, happier you!

Move Better
Move Better || Shikha Puri Arora

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A comprehensive approach to employee quality of life needs to be adopted so that they can deliver top-notch performance while thinking of their long-term well-being. Most approaches ignore the following factors:

• Most individuals are sedentary twenty-three hours a day and move just an hour. This makes them struggle with the basics of human function and health.

 

• A deskbound individual has limited range of motion in the joints and stiff muscles that are the consequence of inadequate hydration and poor posture. Efforts to increase mobility without addressing the causes are of little use.

 

• Stored muscle tension and emotions that are not removed from the physical body cause breathing limitations, which lead to anxiety and nervous tension. The state of the body detracts from the value of the courses undertaken to improve mental health. Troubleshooting the physical body thus becomes a pre-requisite for mental health.

 

• Basic movement mechanics of spinal stability, sitting, bending, standing, walking are untrained, thus neutralizing any benefit derived from fitness activities.

 

General fitness and corporate programmes don’t provide solutions to these causes and their effects. Employee welfare can be addressed only by including all these above aspects into a programme that focuses on the basics of health and well-being.

 

These techniques must be used by deskbound individuals to add mobility solutions to their daily life. Besides combating pain, the solutions provided make the brain alert and promote relaxation in the body. None of these divert the already preoccupied mind while working and can be used every day to increase blood circulation. These self-care techniques counter the effects of daily life stress and come with many benefits.

 

 

• Sitting with a wedge cushion keeps the spine erect and brain alert. The spine can stay erect longer without a back support and feel no fatigue. This is half the battle won as mobility isn’t compromised.

 

• Using a stick/rolling pin or ball under the foot at a standing desk prevents the fatigue (from standing), enhances posture and increases blood circulation. This is a position that encourages brain activity, improves concentration and creativity, and charges up the brain with ideas, increasing output. This is also a great way to increase NEAT calories for those individuals who have excessive sedentary hours.

 

• Rubbing a myofascial ball along the sides of the neck, jaw and head is an anxiety and stress-buster that increases circulation in the head and eyes. The entire action is inconspicuous!

 

• Myofascial release for the glutes keeps the hip mobile. Simply place a hard to medium ball under the buttocks. To prevent the ball from sinking into your chair you can use a hard placemat under the ball. This technique also massages the glutes and increases blood circulation in the area.

 

• Myofascial release for hamstrings ensures you will never have to experience back pain because of sitting! Imagine the magic of lengthening your hamstrings while you sit. For details on the technique, refer to page 205.

 

 

• Wrist, palm and forearm release with a ball not only improves mobility in the wrist, fingers and forearm, but it counters the stress on the palms, fingers, wrist and forearms caused by using devices.

 

Image 1: Place a ball under the wrist with your palms facing upwards. Place the other hand on top to put a gentle pressure and mobilize the wrist by moving it up and down. This instantly gives relief from wrist pain.

 

Image 2: While standing, lean forward and put your body weight on a medium to hard ball placed under your palms. The pressure will automatically make your palm and fingers feel light. Those with carpal tunnel will get some ease from this simple release technique.

 

Image 3: Place a hard to medium ball on one forearm and dig into various areas of the forearm. This gives instantly relief for those suffering from tennis elbow.

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Get your copy of Move Better by Shikha Puri Arora wherever books are sold

The fine art of balance – Deanne Panday’s guide to a wholesome life

Deanne Panday tackles all facets of modern life in her new book, from home-cooked food and finances to spirituality and joy, nudging us towards a holistic approach to wellness. Here is a glimpse into her insights on climate change:

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we experience life in so many ways. One of the most drastic impacts was on the environment when half the world was forced to stay home, and reduce movement and travel. All those days, I woke up to a clear, blue sky instead of the smoggy, unclear one I’ve gotten used to in the years I’ve lived in Mumbai. With no vehicles on the streets and polluting industries shut, people were able to breathe probably the cleanest air of their lives. It’s a pity it took a life-threatening virus to steer us to a way of life we should anyway strive for.

Our reckless and ignorant attitude towards the environment has brought us where we are today. We are all guilty of willingly choosing the things that convenience us, no matter how much it endangers others. As long as it doesn’t harm us, as long as our needs are met, we’re ready to turn a blind eye to the destruction we leave in our wake. I see children learning about various subjects in school and then spending more hours gaining more knowledge, but yet not enough to change their lives in a way that they can reduce pollution in their surroundings and work to reverse it.

According to the National Green Tribunal, more than 60 per cent of sewage generated by urban India is untreated and enters water bodies, such as rivers, making the water in them unfit for consumption.1 We somehow think that whatever we throw away will be cleaned by someone else. It’s an ignorant attitude, and we need to raise our children to be responsible for their own actions. Littering, even if it is a small packet of single-use plastic, doesn’t do any immediate harm, but this attitude is part of the reason we are the fifth most polluted country in the world. People blame it on several things, but it’s never themselves. The power to reverse ecological damage lies with the people, but we often forget the responsibilities that accompany that power.

Front cover balance
Balance||Deanne Panday

I learnt a lot more about our impact on the environment when I took up an online course offered by Harvard University  during the lockdown. I discovered just how badly we have abused our planet without realizing that we have abused ourselves in the process. Working out regularly and eating healthy can mean very little when the air we breathe is of poor quality. We are all partly responsible for that unbreathable air. By not taking care of the environment, we are endangering the lives of our children and our grandchildren. If you’re as old as I am, think back to your childhood. Wasn’t the environment much cleaner then? In just thirty to forty years—barely a blip when we consider the age of the Earth—we have damaged our planet to such a grave extent that we, along with other living creatures, are all struggling to live. If just a few decades can do this, imagine how bad it will be in the next couple of decades. I shudder at the thought.

That is why I decided to include this chapter in my book. Turning a blind eye towards climate change does not make you immune to it. I hope better awareness will help you take a step towards a better life for yourself and the coming generations.

…While governments need to bring out drastic changes in policy to go green, on an individual level there is a lot we can do too. After all, when a toxic environment can affect our health so badly, how can we not make changes to our lifestyles? We can all contribute in the simplest ways, whether it is by walking or hopping on to a bicycle instead of taking the car to places that are close to us. Not only will this result in more exercise, but it will also ensure the air we breathe is cleaner.

A clean environment is one of the vital foods of a balanced life. As we work internally and externally on making ourselves happier and our lives more fulfilled, we also have to be mindful that our existence doesn’t impact the world adversely. After all, all that we do today affects our children’s and grandchildren’s lives in the future. I don’t want my loved ones to struggle to breathe clean air because of our ignorance and mistakes. Do you?

… I strongly believe that once our mindset changes, everything else will follow. In school and college, we’re taught about finance, science and history, yet spreading knowledge about the environment is overlooked and treated as less significant. We are raising our children to be intelligent enough to hold top rankings in prestigious universities around the world but ignorant of how the world is inhabited, polluted and taken for granted. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It’s time we inculcate respect for the planet in our lives rather than just our test papers and studies, and understand that every negative action of ours has an equal or more drastic effect on our planet. Climate change is more real than ever now. It is time to act.

~

Balance focuses on thirteen key elements that we all need for a happier, healthier life. It is customized to our benefit, and also serves as a guide to managing the deteriorative aspects of our life – anger, stress and dissatisfaction.

Get moving into a healthy life

‘Movement is the cure’

– Shwetambari Shetty

 

‘I’ve trained with many people who completely turned around their circumstances once they started incorporating exercise they enjoyed in their fitness regime’, writes Shwetambari Shetty. Her book, Get Moving!, is, among other things, a curation of the ways of fitness. The focus of her exercises, and the broader driving philosophy is that the human body is made for movement; it is in its natural habitat when moving. In her book, Shetty also details how exercise, diet and fitness routines have helped people with lifestyle diseases, and she explains the impact of physical movement on some of these medical conditions:

 

  1. Diabetes

Regular exercise keeps blood glucose levels low, and Shetty says that a brisk 45-minute walk for 5–6 days a week is a great start. If yoga or weight training is added to the routine, it enhances the benefits. Weight gain in diabetes is most likely due to inactivity, and a well-planned diet with reduced sugar intake can help reduce excess fat. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, watering the plants instead of assigning it to someone else, doing the dishes instead of using a dishwasher or walking to the grocery store instead of taking your car are small changes that can have a big positive impact on our health.

 

 

  1. Thyroid

A modified diet should be accompanied by training 4 to 6 times a week. Patients with hypothyroidism can boost their metabolism through exercise, but intense activities can cause fatigue. The key here is to choose medium- to low-intensity workouts. Combining cardio and light weight training is a constructive change, in addition to functional training and circuit training without heavy lifting. If this not possible, brisk walking once or twice a day can clock in 10,000 to 12,000 steps daily, and is a good substitute.

front cover Get Moving
Get Moving!||Shwetambari Shetty

 

 

  1. PCOS/D

Working out regularly stabilizes the hormone levels in the body, and helps manage PCOS/D more easily. Walking, running, dancing, rowing, boxing and exercising on the cross trainer or treadmill are all great. Another good option is cycling, which works the abs and burns a lot of calories. Swimming also works as great strength and cardio training. Combining it with a bit of light weight training protects the muscle mass and make fat burn more effective.

 

 

  1. Arthritis

People with arthritis should avoid processed food (especially sugar) as it causes inflammation and bloating. Bone broths, on the other hand, are extremely beneficial. In addition to diet, the focus in terms of exercise should be on strengthening the muscles around the joints. Stronger muscles help mitigate the pain and increase the range of motion, delaying stiffness, allowing you to keep exercising and managing the condition better. Water-based activities such as water walking (if you can’t swim) are much safer and less painful. They build resistance, help gain strength and burn calories in the process. Aerobics, dance, weightlifting and squats too can be done more easily in water.

 

 

A lot of the conditions described are amplified by a sedentary lifestyle, and therefore, consistent activity throughout the day is a good way to keep the symptoms at bay. Lifestyle diseases do not preclude people from working out; it only means that the workouts need to be tailored in such a way that they address the specific problems at hand. Movement, as a rule of thumb, is the best way to avoid these conditions from getting out of control, allowing us more manageable and healthy lifestyles, where nothing is an impediment.

 

 

 

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