Life is crazy, and I’m the first to admit that when the demands of my job, kids and day-to-day life become unbearable, the first thing I sacrifice, sadly, is my health. When my time is limited, convenience always wins—whether it’s in the form of a fast-food meal, hitting the snooze button one too many times that I forfeit my morning workout, or unwinding after work in front of the TV rather than doing something active with my family.
As I get older (and hopefully wiser!), I have tried harder to rule out convenience in favor of good health. I think this is, in part, because I want to be the best dad I can, and also because as we age, our risk for health problems increases drastically. I have learned that by developing healthy habits now, I can prevent a lot of these risks in the future.
This month is Men’s Health Month and, while I’m certainly not a doctor or expert in all areas of men’s health, I want to share a few life-hacks I’ve learned over the years.
1.) Take office ergonomics seriously. I’m lucky—as the CEO of BackJoy, I have the benefit and convenience of using our ergonomic, posture-improving products all day long at the office (and at home!). If I feel myself start to slouch, I grab my SitSmart Posture Plus and sit on that. If my neck starts hurting from craning towards the computer, I grab my Trigger Point Massager and rub the tension away. And, if I happen to be standing at my desk, I always wear my StandRight shoes for greater comfort and less foot fatigue.
Not all of you have access to every BackJoy product at work so here’s a few other ways you can improve your health at the office:
- Take a break every hour on the hour to stretch—do a quick lap around the office or go refill your water bottle.
- If you’re booked with meetings all day, suggest an occasional standing or walking meeting to get the blood in your legs flowing.
- Experts are now suggesting that while you shouldn’t be sitting all day, you certainly shouldn’t be standing all day either. Get a desk that allows you to split your time sitting and standing and move between both frequently.
2.) Stop burning the midnight oil. I feel so much better when I get the sleep my body needs—which I’ve discovered is at least seven hours per night. Instead of working late into the night after the kids are in bed, I tell myself to shut everything off and re-visit it in the morning (trust me—the work will still be there!). Usually getting a full night’s sleep will give me a fresh perspective and allow me to have greater focus on accomplishing the tasks I need to do. I also have more energy to work out and I usually eat healthier, too.
3.) Breathe deep. I’ve come to realize over the years that the mental and physical toll stress puts on your body is not worth it. From gray hair to more damaging effects like high blood pressure, diabetes,and heart problems, stress can definitely impact the way your body functions. Sure, there will be times you have to set aside your glasses and put on your cape—it’s inevitable. But this simple trick has helped me overcome some of the most stressful moments and situations in my life: breathe deep.
Originally, I learned this technique in a yoga class (and to answer your question—yes, I felt silly doing some of the poses as a man—at first. Now I would recommend yoga to anyone who needs to relieve stress or back pain).
The instructor had me sit on the floor with my legs crossed, eyes closed and inhale through my nose for six counts until my lungs felt so full of air they were going to burst. Then she had me slowly exhale all of the air from my mouth for six counts. This went on for a couple of minutes. By the end, I had never felt more relaxed in my life. Although I don’t always sit on the floor to practice this technique now, anytime I start feeling the tiniest hint of stress or anxiety, I take a big deep breath and exhale slowly, repeating until the stress abates.