Many of you work eight to nine hours a day, five or six days a week in office. You often have to commute long distances to your job destination. In the process, you tend to overlook your health and encounter with many life-shortening diseases. However, you can take charge of your health by figuring out the exercises and diet, as well as forming good habits around your day. Health coach and owner of New Delhi-based Sugati Clinic Bipasha Das outlines the plan and tells me how to pursue it:

Make Your Room an Ambient for Sleeping

Don’t fiddle with your gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Keep them switched off or put them away from you at least 30 to 45 minutes before you go to bed. If you keep looking into your gadgets, your melatonin hormone secretion will have an adverse effect. These hormones play an important role in making you fall asleep and wake up. Maintain good sleep hygiene. This means going beyond changing your clothes and brushing your teeth; you should make your bedroom an ambient for sleeping. You should switch off the TV and make your room dark or dim the lights or simply lit up a zero-power bulb; you can also play a light music. Think what you have done in the day and things you want to achieve next day at work. This often augments your sleep.

Reclaim Your Morning Time for Max Productivity

If you want to be productive in your office, don’t start your day by thinking or doing office work in the morning. Don’t just think about brushing your teeth and bathing to get ready for office understand that mornings are beyond it. Wake up from sleep with the sun to steal maximum morning time for you. Engage yourself in physical exercises to de-stress your mind and body. This will improve your attention span and will set you up for work with a phenomenal focus. But, this is easier said than done. That’s why you shouldn’t reset your clock to sunrise at once; this is not a sustainable approach. Instead, take small steps towards it to form the habit. Let’s assume that you were waking up at 8 AM and now want to rise at 5 AM; advance the eight o’clock time by half an hour every day, and on the sixth day you’ll finally arrive at five o’clock time. Next is finding out which activity drives you: it could be Yoga, Zumba dance, cardiovascular exercises, machine exercises, swimming, cycling, jogging or brisk walking. If you feel happy doing any of these, you will tend to hit the same place every day.

Bipasha Das

Make Commuting a Joy Ride

If your office is far away from your home and if you drive a car or ride a motorcycle to the workplace, then your health could be in danger. Prolonged sitting jeopardizes body’s ability to burn fat to cause obesity. Long distance driving or riding involves negotiating with traffic for a long duration of time. This is stressful and can trigger heart ailments and cancer. When you are in a car or on a motorcycle, you should stretch your hands and legs, as well as move your shoulders and neck at two or three-minute waits at traffic signals. If you are driving a car, move your sit back while comfortably reaching for the accelerator, brake, and clutch; maintain at least 10 inches distance from your chest to the centre of the steering to get your sitting posture right. You can play light music that gives a good healing therapy for keeping you relaxed and helping you keep steady mind amid sickening traffic gridlocks. If you are a biker, you should prefer riding on a cruiser rather than sports bikes to get your back position right.

Don’t Munch at Work…

To keep yourself going, many a time you continuously munch on wrong things such as junk food, including a burger, Samosa, Pakora, Bhel, as well as caffeine-laden drinks such as coffee, tea, and cold carbonated drinks. If you are addicted to these stuff, you should gradually decrease your intakes: let’s say from four Samosas to one Samosa a day. You should switch to green coffee or green tea, which are rich in anti-oxidants. These help avoid weight gain, a tendency often visible among desk folks. You should embrace these by gradually decreasing your daily five or six cups of normal tea or coffee intakes to two or three cups and fill the remaining intakes with green tea or green coffee. Besides, you should drink a lot of water, at least 8–10 glasses. Get fresh fruits, fruit yogurts, Chana Chaat, Chole Chaat, Nimbu Pani, Pudina Pani, Lassi, Chach, Butter Milk from home and store these in the office fridge.

At times, you aren’t able to look up from your laptop and eat or drink in office. Sometimes, you don’t even eat at all for a considerable time, first by skipping your breakfast and later lunch; and when you eat, you tend to take a lot of portion of food. These two situations — over-eating and under-eating — lead to obesity along with diabetics, hormonal imbalances, low and high blood pressure and cholesterol. So, never skip your meals.

Do basic stretching and upper body workouts such as backstretch, besides elbow plank and chair squats as well as short walks by taking brief hourly breaks or during lunch breaks or while going to the loo. Always try to use stairs instead of taking elevators and escalators. Be mindful of your sitting posture: sit straight and make sure that your computer is on your eye level. The movements and posture will help you keep neck, shoulder and cervical issues at bay. These also help create thermogenesis, the heat production process for burning calories, in your body.

This interview was originally published on my LinkedIn blog