Don't stress it!

We are all born with a primitive survival mechanism called the “flight or fight response”, inherited from billions of years of evolution.

Five thousand years ago, if a man was confronted by a threat, he could either run away or stand his ground and physically fight against his attacker.

imageHis body would automatically prepare for the action required to survive. His heart beat would increase, his blood pressure would go up, his breathing would become more rapid, muscles would tense to prepare for the fight or to flee, his hands would get cool and clammy, digestion and libido would be reduced, and the primitive brain would take over reducing his ability to think clearly, instead making him more reactive to his fear or anger.

The threats today are usually not as life threatening as 5,000 years ago but our subconscious tells us that an upset client, or a poor contract negotiation, are just as serious as a life and death confrontation.

Are you stressed?

Does your stomach get tied up in knots even on the way to work? Do you find your blood pressure rising when faced with aggravation or when trying to solve a tough problem? Do you have tension headaches and neck-aches at the end of your day at work, and find it hard to sleep at night?

These are all symptoms of executive stress, but luckily by following some simple rules you can alleviate your symptoms and improve your health.

A healthy diet will make you feel better straight away. (Remember the awful state of the guinea-pig in the film Supersize Me? That was through just one month of unhealthy eating.)

Try to spend some “extra” time on yourself every day. Anyone can find 20 minutes to relax – and that’s all it takes. If it’s hard for you to unwind, try listening to a relaxation tape or CD. Some of Paul McKenna’s books come with a CD, which talks you through some relaxation methods (available at branches of Magrudys)

Exercise is also important. Apart from the healthy effect on your body, it releases endorphins; those feel-good chemicals that make the world seem a better place.

So come on all you executives, follow these vital tips from today!

  • Always have a good, healthy breakfast – this speeds up your metabolism and starts off your day.
  • Avoid drinking excess amounts of coffee.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car a couple of blocks away from the office and walk.
  • If possible – try to exercise during your lunch hour – you don’t have to go to the gym. Try swimming or doing some exercise at home.
  • Drink 2.5 to 3 litres of water per day.
  • Leave early for work to ensure that you arrive in plenty of time – ensuring that you are not rushing to make meetings.
  • Make sure that you schedule your meetings with plenty of time in between – especially in the UAE you always need to allow for traffic.
  • Try to snack at least twice during the day on healthy food – such as cereal bars, fruit or yoghurt - then you won’t have that mid afternoon drop in energy levels.
  • Above all – do not prioritise your schedule, schedule your priorities.  Always make time for the important things first.  This is different for each person - so work out exactly what your priorities are - and go for it!

Check out the following sample of exercise classes which you’ll find in may locations around the UAE:

Body Pump

This one hour non-impact, resistance-training programme utilises barbells and adjustable weights, helping to improve muscular strength & endurance, as well as burning calories! As part of the Body Training Systems (BTS) programme, it is a studio-based group session led by highly skilled, motivating instructors who receive on-going training to ensure every class is safe, effective and fun.

Body Attack

This BTS run class involves high intensity, low choreography moves which makes it suitable for all participants. The class takes you through a series of phases, aimed at working your cardio-vascular system, as well as focusing on speed, strength and endurance in both your upper and lower body. Body Attack will push you to your limits, taking you to the next level of fitness!

Body Step

Run by BTS, this class combines simple yet effective choreography with athletic moves to ensure that your body gets the ultimate workout. The class takes you through a series of phases which focus on improving your cardio-vascular system, muscular endurance and flexibility.  Suitable for all levels, Body Step offers an alternative to the traditional step class.

Schwinn Cycling

Set on the stationary Schwinn indoor cycle, this cardiovascular class offers a unique aerobic challenge. The instructor will guide and motivate you through a series of climbs and sprints using a range of uplifting music. This fun and challenging workout is great for burning off those calories and is suitable for beginners.

Aqua Aerobics

This water based, low impact class can use specialised gloves, water dumbbells and woggles. The water acts as a cushion around your joints making it ideal for those with injuries and those who are pregnant. Each workout will combine cardiovascular and resistance exercises for a total body workout that is suitable for non-swimmers and for all levels of fitness.

Alternatively – if you can get away from the office during the day why don’t you try a personal training session with a qualified fitness professional and let them take you through a one hour personalised workout specific to your needs.

See you there!

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