Stay at the top of your game with these tips for a stronger body and mind.
Sure, you love what you do, but admit it: There are days when you just want to scream, "This job is killing me!"
Even the most satisfying careers have their downsides when it comes to taxing your health: Professional women are at risk for stress, muscle pain, eye fatigue and other issues. To fight back, take a positive approach:
Recognize the Symptoms -- Men and women respond differently to certain health issues. For example, for men, the signs of a heart attack include pain in the chest and arm. But women may never experience these symptoms. Instead, you're likely to have feelings of indigestion, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and fainting--all warning signs to take seriously.
Understand the Causes -- Similarly, women and men experience stress differently. Studies indicate that while men tend to suffer stress as a result of competition, women are more likely to overburden themselves due to self-sacrifice in relationships. The takeaway? Learn how to delegate, set boundaries and say "no" in your professional and personal life.
Sit Well, and Less -- Emerging research shows that sitting for long periods of time is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and overall mortality. Take ergonomics seriously: Make sure your workspace is set up to minimize muscle and eye strain. (The Mayo Clinic website has an excellent tool for calibrating your workspace at www.mayoclinic.com/health/office-ergonomics/MY01460/ .) Experts also recommend frequent breaks: two minutes every half hour, with "microbreaks" of 30 to 60 seconds every 10 minutes. These will not only help keep muscles flexible and eyes relaxed, but can also aid in relieving stress.
Bask in the Sunshine -- It's easy to forget there's a world beyond your office walls, but locking yourself indoors isn't healthy. Regular exposure to sunshine can help alleviate stress and seasonal-affective disorder (SAD), and it's essential to creating vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and other minerals. Five to 30 minutes of outdoor sun without sunscreen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week should do the trick, except in northerly climates during the winter months, when vitamin supplements may be required.
Get Moving -- Outdoor exercise, even simply walking, is a great way to soak up the sun, and it can help you achieve a number of important health benefits, such as lowering LDL (a.k.a. "bad") cholesterol while raising HDL (a.k.a. "good") cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of or managing type 2 diabetes, managing weight, improving mood and reducing stress.
The good news is that you don't have to give up your day job to live a healthy lifestyle. All it takes are a few simple adjustments for a stronger body and mind that can help boost your performance in the workplace.
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