Oddly enough, it is often this population that has the greatest means at its disposal to pursue and afford proper nutrition and health-promoting activities. Office workers, professionals and executives today are the most susceptible to the two greatest contributors to poor physical health, obesity and related illnesses. These two factors of paramount importance are poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
This ever-growing group of workers today includes lawyers, bankers, consultants, doctors, secretaries, administrative assistants, and any professionals whose work commitments and timetables make it difficult to take the time to eat properly or provide the body with the focused physical activity it requires in order to be convinced it must maintain itself in a functional form. The fact that most of their work is done seated at a desk, or that they are often traveling contributes to the physical inactivity and poor eating habits that, over time, lead to the downfall of the human body.
The problems of poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are not limited to the corporate environment, however. Any occupation or lifestyle in which people find themselves inactive or in which it can be difficult to eat properly is a situation that can be improved by thinking critically about its details. Even minor changes in activity and eating, whether at home or at work, can bring immeasurable benefits to individuals regardless of whether they spend their days at home, in an office, in transit, or anywhere else.
If you have been neglecting your body, chances are it is slowing down from years of disuse and abuse - like an automobile that has missed tune-ups and oil changes. Once the body is running optimally, results will be seen not only in the way you feel, on the scale, and in the mirror, but also in your productivity at work and your mental acuity. You owe it to your body. Your firm owes it to you to look out for your health. Your business and career will benefit from your increased productivity. Fitness is always a high-return investment
Pitfalls Of The Professional Lifestyle
It is from working in corporate environments with high expectations that I am fully aware of the difficulties one can face in meeting the commitments required by a position of responsibility in a top-tier corporation and also to meet the commitments inherently required by your own body.
In satisfying the expectations of demanding clients and also maintaining a vigorous training regimen, experience has provided ways in which any professional can maintain the highest caliber of work product and output, and also take realistic steps to promote his or her own health, and both look and feel his or her best. Several of the most pressing problems that are fostered by the typical professional schedule are considered here.
While advances in ergonomics have led to the development of body-friendly chairs, keyboards, and other office paraphernalia, even the most carefully designed tools cannot entirely cure the problems of long periods in unnatural positions and the stress of constant repetitive motions such as typing.
The results that often accrue from years spent in an office environment and in commuting to and from work can include carpal tunnel syndrome, computer-related vision strain, and excessive periods in a seated position can contribute to poor posture and lower back pain.
As deadlines approach, workdays can involve long hours where the activity level rarely extends beyond typing, shuffling papers and picking up the phone for sixteen hours on end. When compensation and bonuses are tied to billable hours, incentives can be created to borrow or steal from the minimum amount of time required to maintain good health and applied instead to raising billable time.
The losses incurred from inactivity may impair the quality of your work product or the efficiency of the hours billed. Ultimately, there may be a point reached where the marginal gain to both yourself and your company or clients would be higher if an additional hour were spent on pursuing good health. The resulting improvements in focus and efficiency would more than outweigh the lost billable hour of only moderate efficiency.
Traveling for business is one of the most challenging situations one can face in attempting to maintain a fit body and healthy lifestyle. The vast majority of one's time is bound to be spent in boardrooms, hotels and commuting. Business trips may involve a great deal of work to be done in a short time frame, leaving little excess to be spent on exercise or seeking quality sustenance.
Cocktails and social functions to celebrate the closing of a deal can contribute to the lack of available time and nutritional deficiencies that can be the hallmarks of a business trip. Still, these problems can be partially countered by the convenience of a quality fitness rooms in hotels, limited as some may be, and some cursory research of the surrounding neighborhood may reveal top-notch exercise facilities with reasonable drop-in fees.
Work-related airplane travel itself can be an impediment to promoting fitness. The inactivity and prolonged sitting involved in lengthy flights can be compounded by the lack of quality sleep to be had on airplanes and possible sleep disruptions and energy loss due to subsequent time zone adjustments. Furthermore, airplane meals are typically infrequent and not known for their nutritional value.
It can be difficult enough to properly sustain the body even without the rigors of a demanding work schedule. If meals are provided in the office or lunch room, they are quite likely of substandard quality from a nutritional perspective, as tasty as the donuts may be. Likewise, if workmates are ordering a meal in or heading over to a favorite spot for a group lunch or late dinner, the group consensus will quite often be a meal virtually devoid of nutritional value. The typical workday can make it difficult to adopt a healthy pattern of frequent smaller meals rather than the classic large breakfast-lunch-dinner model.
The constant availability of coffee and sugary soft drinks can combine with inactivity to produce hypertension. Effects on body composition can extend well beyond lost muscle tone and love handles to outright obesity. Packing a lunch and snacks that are based on sound nutrition is one means of promoting your own health and quite probably saving money as well.
Time Management and Exhaustion
Not everybody has the time to be a professional bodybuilder, even if they have the drive and motivational fortitude, traits that indeed characterize many professionals. Most will complain that the limiting factor is availability of time. Developing quality time management skills extends beyond pigeonholing work projects into different slots in a day planner. Workout management is a skill in itself.
Finding the right time for your workouts can be a critical element of getting you into the gym and staying active, particularly during busy seasons at work. In time, physical training will no longer have to be wedged into the schedule, but will rather be a welcome complement to job commitments. Experimenting with different times will produce results that are best for you, whether it means an invigorating lunch time workout, or exercise to start or finish the day.
In the end, it all comes down to you. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar. Nobody can do the running or the lifting or the stretching for you. Nobody will knock the French fries out of your hand before you put them in your mouth.
Many people employ personal trainers or enter weight loss programs in which they are diligently supervised and actively motivated and encouraged. These programs can be extremely effective, and I have personally trained many individuals to better health. One thing I always advocate, however, is that any client take responsibility for motivating himself or herself. Workout partners can be an excellent means of augmenting, but not creating, motivation.
Relying entirely on your trainer or anybody else can create a motivational dependency that becomes evident when separation from the source of inspiration occurs. As a result, many people put the weight back on shortly after cessation of the weight loss program. Likewise, when the personal trainer exits the picture, the workouts can cease entirely and the body returns to the form that inspired the need for a trainer in the first place.
It all comes down to whether or not you are ready to take charge of your own life and your own health. A good fitness professional can arm you with the knowledge you need to bring your health and body to where they should be, when you are ready to make the commitment to yourself.
Knowledge is power. Understanding the value of the knowledge and the incredible benefits that can be reaped with even a little bit of consistent effort serves as the strongest motivator of all. Being healthy and fit provides its own motivation to individuals who care about themselves.
About The Author
Andrew holds degrees in business administration, psychology, and law, and is a published legal writer. Andrew writes from experience in maintaining a vigorous training regimen and providing fitness instruction while pursuing demanding studies and working for top tier international law firms.