Friday 23 February 2018

Ten tips on how to make the most of your day - and your commute

Wheel-good factor: Cycling to work is great for your health and wallet
Wheel-good factor: Cycling to work is great for your health and wallet

Karl Henry

Welcome to our new six-part series for the new year: How To Work Well. We spend so much time in work that most people forget to take advantage of the opportunities to get healthier while actually working. This series is going to be all about simple switches and changes that you can make that will have a big impact.

In today's column, I am going to look at the first three hours of your day and take a look at your morning routine as well as your commute. There are certain routines and habits healthy people do in the morning that set them up to succeed for the day - these are things you can do too.

 

THE MORNING ROUTINE

Get up 30 minutes earlier than you currently do

By getting up early and not rushing out of bed, you will allow yourself time to get your head around the day before you. You will ease yourself into the day and start the morning off on a relaxed note. It will also give you time to map out your day in your mind and realise you can do it. I get up at 5am most mornings and 7am at the latest on the weekends. I find it's a great way to start the day.

Water

You lose a lot of water while you sleep through sweat so you need to replace it during the day. A large glass of cold water is ideal for this or warm water with lemon - both are great for the digestive system and ideal to get you started in the mornings.

Have a shower

People rush so much these days they often don't get to shower before work. Not only is it important for hygiene, but it's good for your mind and body too - you will always feel better after a shower!

Have breakfast

It's the oldest recommendation in the book, but breakfast is your fuel for the day, breaking the fast of sleep. Aim for something healthy like eggs or porridge and you'll be good to go.

Make a list

I am a huge fan of lists. By making a list you have a map and a plan for the day, giving your day structure. Always start with the task that you least want to do.

Ok, so they are the simple tips for you before you even leave the house - now let's take a look at your journey into work.

THE COMMUTE

Surround yourself with anything that you may want to eat or drink

If you're driving, have healthy snacks and water in the car or in your bag if you're travelling. By making these food and drinks easily accessible, you're more likely to avoid the temptations in the vending machine at work.

Stand, don't sit

Standing is fantastic for your health, so if you commute on a bus or a train, why not offer your seat to someone else? If you have a sedentary job, you'll likely be sitting down for much of the next eight hours, so let your body do some work on the way in, forcing your legs and core to hold your body up.

Get off a stop early

By getting off the bus or train a stop earlier, you can gain an extra few minutes of movement pretty easily. As you get fitter, you can walk further and if you drive to work, you can park further away from the office.

Engage your core

As you are sitting or standing, simply pull your belly button in towards your spine and you will automatically sit and stand taller, forcing the muscles of the body to engage and strengthen.

Cycle

As you get fitter, avail of the bike-to-work scheme and purchase a bike to cycle to work. It's great for your fitness and your wallet - what's not to love?

These simple tips will really help you to get your day off to a healthy start. Pick the tips that are easy for you to do and add to them as you get fitter and healthier - you will be amazed at what a difference a small change can make.

Irish Independent

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