Are You Turning Into A Couch Potato?

Couch PoatoeDo you have days, weeks, and sometimes months when you have absolutely no energy to exercise?  Well this may sound a little harsh, but have you turned into a couch potato coming up with different excuses and reasons why you can’t exercise?

Well you’re certainly not alone.

As shift workers we are prone to constant fatigue and tiredness, so the mere thought of getting out and doing some exercise can be the last thing on our minds.

But fortunately (or unfortunately for some, depending on which way you look at it) – it’s absolutely essential that the human body gets some form of exercise or movement.

Exercise by definition is “… any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health”.

You see by exercising, you will become more flexible, stronger and have a lot more energy.

Did someone say more energy?!!

And there is even more good news.

* When you start getting into shape, your self-esteem also increases. You begin to handle things better, and it can even help those who suffer from depression.

* Your relationships with your colleagues, friends and family also improves because you begin to feel so much healthier.

* When you get physically fit – many people find that they begin to get their lives back in shape too.

So don’t wait until you gain 20 kilo’s and your doctor tells you that you MUST exercise. Prevention is the key to good health, and exercise is the key to acquiring more energy.

And considering good health and loads of energy can be a missing link in the life of a shift worker – it’s got to be one of the simplest solutions around.  So go on, switch off the telly and pop on some walking shoes.  Just 15 minutes of movement a day is going to make you feel so much better than if you were to stay on the couch!

Shift Work Health – What Price Do You Place On Yours?

As shift workers we often feel like we’re on a constant uphill battle trying to achieve optimum health. The irregular hours, disruptive sleep patterns and work-related stress place an enormous amount of strain on our bodies every single day.

But what price do you place on your shift work health?

Many shift workers say they take good care of themselves, but are you really? Are you really doing absolutely everything possible to take care of your health?

Take a moment to think about your answers to the following questions.

1. Do you avoid buying ‘health’ food products because you think they’re too expensive?

2. Have you chosen not to join a gym, health club or yoga class because you believe they charge too much?

3. What about those dancing classes you’ve always wanted to sign up for but keep saying to yourself you can’t really afford to do them?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then it might be time to re-evaluate.

Healthy food is not expensive – it’s how you perceive it to be.

When Cyclone Yasi wiped out 70% of the banana plantations in North Queensland last year, the price of bananas went up – no question. But even though a banana cost $1.50 at the time I still bought one because it was cheaper than buying a chocolate bar or a bag of chips.

And for a shift worker who is starved of energy, eating a banana is always going to be a much healthier and better option than eating a chocolate bar or a bag of chips.

The same goes for buying fruit or vegetables. Even though I do try and buy things when they are in season (you know they are going to be fresh this way as well) – I don’t NOT buy them just because the price is higher than normal.

Why? Because I know my shift work body can function so much better if I provide it with the right kind of fuel – that is, the right kind of nutrition.

The same can be said about exercise. You don’t have to join a gym or class to enjoy the benefits of exercise. There are lots of outside activities that are free, but sometimes joining a club or signing up for a class is a great way to meet new people and you are more likely to work that bit harder than if you were exercising on your own.

So never underestimate the value of your shift work health.

Many people spend their whole lives eating all of the wrong foods and doing all of the wrong things because at the time they appear to be the ‘cheaper’ and easier option. But if you consistently abuse your all-ready-struggling shift worker body with bad food choices and little exercise it will eventually catch up with you when you get older – guaranteed.

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

Shift work health is all about prevention. Spend your hard earned money taking care of yourself now, so that you don’t have to spend a fortune correcting it when you’re older.

Striving For Optimum Shift Work Health. Why Would You NOT Pursue It?

You know it never ceases to amaze me how many shift workers don’t take the time to look after their health. I mean why would you not strive to achieve optimum shift work health?

The alternatives are certainly not good.

Constant sickness, exhaustion, a lack of fitness, stress, unhealthy relationships, premature aging – the list goes on.

So if there is any ONE THING that I believe you must spend most of your time focussing on when you work irregular hours – is striving for optimum health.

Because there are many things about our job that places us in a dangerous category of developing illnesses later on. So why not spend your time learning how to prevent it?

You see, you can never overestimate how good you feel when you eat well and exercise regularly as opposed to eating junk food and leading a sedentary lifestyle. There really is no comparison.

So start taking 100% responsibility for your life – no one else can make you eat healthy food or drag you out the door to do some exercise (unless of course you have a Personal Trainer which can definitely be a good thing if you lack motivation!)

If you work crazy and irregular hours then make striving for optimum shift work health your PRIORITY.

When you do, everything else in your life will improve as well. In fact you will even become better at your job because when you feel healthy, you are much happier and more productive at work.

So stop thinking about it. Make the decision to improve your health and your life will begin to change for the better in so many ways.

How To Find The Motivation To Exercise When You Really Don't Want Too.

Now a lot of shift workers lack motivation to do anything let alone exercise because most of us are struggling with extreme fatigue, lethargy and an overwhelming feeling of tiredness.

So how do you find the motivation to exercise when you’ve lost it (or perhaps never had it?)

By making a conscious decision to improve your health.

You see most things are easy to do, but they’re also easy not to do. And for most people, they take the easiest option.

Let’s take getting up and off the couch to go for a walk, as an example. You can make the choice to go for that walk, or you can take the lazy option and stay put on the couch. The trouble with most people is that they take the lazy option which of course leads to weight gain, feeling more lethargic and poor health.

Exercise is essential to maintain good health, whether you work shift work or not.

In fact I believe that it’s even more important because it’s frighteningly easy not to look after yourself when you work shift work.

Using shift work as an ‘excuse’ or any other reasons why you can’t exercise is not going to help you to improve your health.

If you fail to exercise, this neglect or laziness causes your body to become just that – neglected, soft, lazy and fat. When you don’t exercise you are actually depleting your energy levels even more. Studies have shown that a lack of exercise can also lead to boredom and depression.

So make the decision to get out and do some exercise. Have your joggers and exercise gear ready to go … staring at you in the face as soon as you get up, or in the way so that you literally have to step over them to get through your front door.

In time you will see your muscles grow and the fat go away which should be enough motivation to keep you on track.

Bad habits can wait on you forever, in fact they don’t really ever go away. They will always be there, just around the corner, lurking and looking for an opening. But don’t wait until you have a heart attack before you remember you have a body!

Fat, unhappy and slumped on the couch versus looking trim, energized and glowing with health? I know which one I’d rather choose. How about you?

3 Words To Improve Your Shift Work Health – Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

If you’re looking for ways to improve your shift work health then I’ve got three words for you – exercise, exercise, exercise! Because one of the best ways to combat fatigue and tiredness is simply moving that body of yours, which is exactly what it was designed to do – move.

You see the average person today probably gets less exercise than any of our ancestors did throughout the history of mankind. Pretty scary stuff hey?

Let me help explain by walking through a typical day for most shift workers.

The alarm clock goes off (at the most inappropriate time of the day or night); you stagger out of the bed, get into the car and sit down. You then drive the car for let’s say 30 minutes, you get out of the car, go into work, sit down at your computer and get to work doing whatever it is that you’re getting paid to do. Your shift ends, (after 8 hours if you’re lucky), you get back into your car, sit down and drive for another 30 minutes or so, stagger into your house and sit down on the couch because you’re feeling too darn tired to do anything else.

Sounding familiar? It’s a bit like going for a long drive in your car. You feel absolutely exhausted by the time you arrive at your destination even though you’ve done absolutely nothing all day except sit!

Now lots of sitting and little movement is certainly not good for your health – short or long term.

You see over the years, improvement in technology has made things a lot easier for us (cars, lifts, chairs, computers, phones) – but it has certainly made us lazy. In fact far too many of us (shift work or no shift work) are flabby and lazy, and addicted to convenience foods because it’s just too much bother to cook a nutritious meal.

The old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it” – certainly rings true.

Exercise is important for everybody. It’s important not only to improve your present degree of health, but also to help maintain it as you get older.

And another good reason to get up and boogie (AKA my code word for “exercise”) – is that it helps you to sleep. Now if you’re a shift worker then that can be music to your ears, because sleep is certainly our best friend … when we can get it of course!

So if your shift working job involves a lot of sitting – get up and stretch every hour, go for a walk to get yourself off that chair and away from the computer screen. Despite what you may think, your chair is not your friend.

P.S – As for your days off – well there are certainly no excuses for you not to exercise then … absolutely none!