Quick Fix your Fitness
Clearly, fad diets, miracle cures, celebrity exercise routines, muscle make-over’s, and overnight phenomenon are most often marketers method of taking your cash in return for false promises and worse for false hope.
There are some easy fixes that do work and they deserve their place in our lives. They deserve to be hyped. They deserve to be hyped because there are so few that work. They deserve the hype because they have earned this position of honor because they produce the promised and what you hope for health results. You can validate these two quick fixes for yourself by testing them out. Watch what happens when you give them a chance in your daily life activities:
Quick Fix #1. Just Move.
Whether you are hunched over your desk or glued to a monitor, periodic and frequent gentle bursts of movement pay off in higher alertness and energy. Getting tired and want to reach for a chemical quick fix like the feeling of stimulation from a boost of java? Trade in the java habit for a healthy fitness habit like a walk to the drinking fountain. My Denver businessman, entrepreneur, and friend Jack Corn is a Just-Move guy. He now permanently has the countdown timer on his sports watch to alert him every 60 minutes. Yes, every hour when the alarm beeps, Jack leaps from his desk and does a quick 20 jumping jacks. The next hour he does a dozen pushups when the countdown timer sounds zero. Jack explains, “Every single hour I take a one to five minute personal time-out to renew my energy doing an activity that gets me to move my body, raise my caloric burn rate, and refresh my brain.”
Give it a try yourself. If you are like many, pick up your body wherever it is draped and shake it up. Try a 10 minute easy or power walk and invite a colleague to join you. At the next hour, simply stand, move away from whatever you are hunched over, stretch toward the sky, take 5 deep breaths, and do five quick vertical easy jumps. This takes about 60-seconds but provides you with a break in your work flow to re-energize yourself naturally. These Just Move exercises do wonders for your circulation, your state of mind and yes, your energy level.
When you take a refreshing fitness time-out there is a shift in your body’s energy flow. Oxygen increases to the brain, there is a brief swing in response from your hormonal or neurochemicals, and your heart reacts with an elevation in heart rate. Try a Just Move exercise as an experiment for just one day and then ask yourself at the end of a workday if your work productivity improved and if you felt more energized.
Just Move activities are invigorating and give you relief from emotional stressors too. Sure, your co-workers might wonder why you are getting more done, feeling less stress, and have more focus. Explain Just Move activities to them. The body and the mind don’t want to be hunkered down all day without a break – your brains and your muscles responds positively to movement and variety.
So you say you don’t have the time? That’s easy – the 10-15 minutes a day that you invest in Just Move activities result in time saving efficiency and mental acuity. You save time by doing Just Move activities. So you don’t think you have the right shoes or the right clothes to take health breaks during the day, then look at a wardrobe changes that allow you to walk in comfortable shoes everyday and dress wear that permits stretching and free range of movement.
One last tip, make a list of 8-different just-move activities that you can do at the workplace. It may require that you purchase a few training tools like a mat or weights that are small and that you can store near your desk or office space – here are but a few of my favorites to help you into the Just Move work style:
- a favorite yoga pose
- kettlebell or weight swings
- deep breathing exercises
- chair dips
- jumping in place
- reach and stretches
Quick Fix #2. Emotional Shifts
Emotional fitness activities are a way to connect and listen to your heart. Emotions are the feelings that arise in response to our perceptions of situations and experiences in our lives. As you become aware of your emotional state at home or in the workplace you can consciously shift between different zones by a practice called noticing. Noticing is directing your focus to your feelings in the current moment.
Look at the Emotional Heart Zones chart above. The five emotional zones on the chart can be quickly learned because in a heartbeat, this at-a-glance chart gives context to the range of emotional responses. For example, you are working on a project and loving it. The time flies by and you notice that you have been absorbed in the flow of productivity. You have just spent an hour in Zone 3 the Performance Zone.
Use the emotional heart zones to help you become aware of your emotional state throughout your day. Use the chart as a health tool to shift from a high, hot emotional zones to a healthier, lower emotional zone. Elizabeth Janson was having a teacher-parent meeting about her daughter Tyler. The teacher said that Tyler was chronically late to school because of mom’s tardiness. Elizabeth felt her emotions taking control of her and said aloud, “I am going into Zone 4 and it would be better at this time if we take a timeout or change the subject.” She noticed the shift in her emotions to a point where she hit the Distress Zone. She quickly avoided the damage that can occur as her anger with the teacher increased and consciously choose to quiet herself by shifting the direction of the meeting.
Take some time reviewing the chart. Then, after you have a basic understanding of each of the five zones, answer this simple question as honestly as you can: in which zone to you tend to spend your time?
Too many people spend too much time in the high emotional zones – Zone 4 the Distress Zone and Zone 5 the Red Zone. Get out, shift out of the high emotional zones by noticing and zapping them. Take time throughout your day to practice emotional shifting techniques. They require conscious energy to get out of the high zones and to shift down into the lower three zones. If you want high productivity, if you want less stress then start noticing your emotional state.
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: keep track of your heart rate throughout your day. Don a portable heart rate monitor or manually count your pulse and record it every 30-60 minutes. Just the action of recording your heart rate initiates a noticing connection between your head and your heart. Listen to what your heart is saying in the language of beats per minute that it speaks. If your heart rate is high, notice, change, shift it down. It is harmful to your health to experience high ambient heart rates, the number of beats per minute when you are quietly sitting.
Here are some ranges for ambient heart rate that give you feedback on your current emotional state:
Range of heart beats Ambient Heart RAte
- < 60 bpm Very, very healthy
- 60-70 bpm Normal
- 70-80 bpm Above normal
- 80-90 bpm Cautionary
- >90 bpm High stress
It’s worth the hype to connect with your one precious heart to keep it beating on the mark. After all, it is the only muscle in the body that contracts without ever being given a chance to stop or rest. The medical evidence is in – to live a life with less tension and more joy practice emotional shifting trying to stay in the low zones throughout your day. This is a quick fix that works every time.