Get Yourself Moving!
Most of our readers are small to medium business owners that lead very busy lives. If you’re not a business owner you might be a digital marketer or even a social media marketer…but the chances are, you spend a lot of time at a desk! Well we wanted to write a little bit about how walking has made a huge difference for us!
16 hour days
Owning a business, no matter how big or small, often means putting in the extra hours in. The only problem we have with that is sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it! We can’t think of the amount of times we’ve woken up and worked right through to bed time. The only breaks are to boil the kettle! It’s great for business and can often mean that after a period of putting in lots of hours, you can then have a period of normal hours because you’re not looking for more clients etc. But sitting at a computer for 16 hours a day and not really taking breaks is SO bad for you. In the beginning, I (Stephen) was doing it a lot. I had to build up a reputation, which meant working for peanuts to prove myself, and then build up a client base which meant finding clients, doing the work, continuing to find clients, doing more work. Etc. etc. etc. But I enjoyed it. Until I started feeling tired, uncomfortable and worst of all in pain. The strain of hanging over my laptop finally took it’s toll on my neck and I started to suffer from neck and upper back pain.
I tried everything!
As most people do when they experience a new problem, I looked for a fix and expected a miracle! I won’t go into all the different treatments etc but it was about 2 years until I accepted that I wasn’t going to get magically cured from my pain, my lifestyle had to change. So here’s my list of habits and changes that I believe have dramatically improved my mood, health, energy levels and pain levels:
- Walking – By nature I’m quite competitive and I’d heard about these fitbits that people were getting. So I got one and the thing I liked best about them was that you can see how many steps other people are doing compared to you. You can also set each other challenges to encourage each other to walk more. Well I took it to another level and would be walking until midnight just to win these challenges, but that’s calmed down a bit now! Fitbit recommend at least 10,000 steps a day. That’s a great starting point and most people might be surprised at how hard it can be to reach that. The first week I got my Fitbit I decided not to change anything in my routine. I was averaging around 3000 steps per day! It shows just how little I was moving around. These days I’m disappointed if I don’t get to 10,000.
- Stretching – Stretching is something everyone should do whether they’re in pain or not. What I’ve actually found is that if you stretch your whole body (starting with legs then moving up the body) rather than just focussing on the part where you feel pain, you’ll benefit more from it. Stretching is great but if you’re over stretching one part of your body, which i was, you’ll just making things worse because the muscle will become weaker!
- Strength Exercises – I bought a resistance band online and I use that to do certain exercises to strengthen up my back. Now I’m not going for the Arnold Schwarzenegger look but it’s really helping me to get through my working day without fatigue in my neck. This is something I neglected for a long time because I was worried it would make my problem worse!
- Diet – Now by diet I don’t mean cutting out food. I just mean be aware of what you’re eating. If you’re sat at your desk all day you don’t need to eat that much! I find if I have a big breakfast or lunch I just feel heavy and my mind isn’t focussed. Try adding more fruit and veg to your diet and consider smaller meals until you’ve finished work for the day. I actually do something called Intermittent Fasting which generally means changing your eating window from 16 hours to 8. For example most of us sleep for 8 hours (imagine) and then break our fast when we get up, then eat at intervals during a 16 hour day before sleeping again for 8 hours. I currently start eating at 1pm and don’t eat anything after 9pm, so my fast is 16 hours instead of 8. I find not eating in the morning helps my mind focus all day until lunch time at 1pm.
- Water – Drink loads of it! I drink a lot of coffee in the mornings and that can often have the opposite effect of water. So I’ve actually started drinking a pint of water every time I boil the kettle. During the afternoon I don’t tend to drink anymore coffee so I just drink a few more pints of water and it’s great to feel so hydrated. Make sure you can regularly go to the toilet though…
Where did that come from?
I realise this is a bit different from our normal type of blog. You certainly didn’t learn the latest Facebook advertising trick today. But the reason I posted this is because Abby and I had a bit of a break from our normal walking routine and I noticed a huge difference. We stopped walking as much because I broke my toe. But over the past few weeks we’ve got back into the swing of things and it feels great. We’re more productive and creative with our work and it’s definitely down to our walks. So try it. An hour out of your day, every day, to go for a walk!