Well it’s coming up to that time again! Rum balls! Christmas Pudding! Lollies! Roast! Christmas is a great time of year for alot of reasons…but not necessarily our waist line! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you get tempted by those Shortbread biscuits and fruit cake!

“Employers who offer health facilities don’t do it out of pure altruism. Fit employees mean fewer absences, possibly higher productivity, and a healthier bottom line.”

M. Brown, ‘Survival of the fittest’, Management Today, July 1996, p.77.


It’s a fact

When billionaire oilman John D. Rockefeller was 60 years old, he made up his mind that he would live to be 100, so he compiled a set of rules to achieve that goal. These rules have become known as ‘the ten commandments of health’:

  1. Never lose interest in life or the world.
  2. Eat sparingly and at regular hours.
  3. Get plenty of sleep.
  4. Take plenty of exercise, but not too much.
  5. Never allow yourself to become annoyed.
  6. Set a daily schedule and stick to it.
  7. Get a lot of sunlight.
  8. Drink as much milk as will agree with you.
  9. Obey your doctor and consult him/her often.

10. Don’t overdo things.

Rockefeller made it to his 97th year. Despite today’s differing medical opinions on one or two of his rules, his healthy lifestyle would certainly not have disadvantaged him.


Smile & ponder

Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, learnt about the game of golf for the first time on a visit to Scotland.

Grant was taken out on the links for a demo. His host placed a ball on the tee and took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf with a heavy thud, sending chunks of earth flying. The ball remained on the tee.

Again the host took a nasty slash at the ball. Again he missed.

A third almighty swish and once more the ball did not budge.

Grant watched the exhibition quietly, until after the sixth futile swoosh at the ball. At that time, so the story goes, he turned to his perspiring host and said:

‘There seems to be a good amount of exercise in this game. But tell me, what’s the purpose of the little white ball?’

The key to a productive worklife is to exercise several times a week – even if it simply involves spending half an hour swinging at – and missing – a little white golf ball.


Painless exercise

What we all want – particularly busy managers – is a painless way to exercise, one that requires little effort and no time. For this reason, personal trainer Maria Diaz from Healthworks provides these simple tips to incorporate as healthy habits and exercise into your busy routine:

  • Choose the stairs instead of the escalator. You can burn off as much as 1kg of fat each year.
  • Walk around while talking on the mobile/cordless phone. You could add hours to your exercise program.
  • Don’t add butter to your sandwich, and you could save hundreds of grams of body fat annually.
  • Choose to walk/jog/run instead of swimming, and you’ll burn more fat.
  • Walk an extra five minutes, three times a day. This small change can add up to 115 extra exercise minutes each week.
  • Don’t use the TV remote control. Get up and change the channels manually.
  • Park your car two blocks from the train station/bus stop and walk instead.
  • Eat small meals four to five times a day instead of the three normal ones. This actually increases your metabolism and helps you burn fat faster.


The murder of Grabwell Grommet

You may have heard the sad story of one Grabwell Grommet-the man who ignored his stress warning system.

On the morning of his 42nd birthday, Grabwell awoke to the peal of particularly ominous thunder. Glancing out of the window with bleary eyes, he saw written in fiery letters across the sky,


With shaking hands, Grabwell lit his first cigarette of the day. He didn’t question the message. You don’t question a message like that. His only question was, ‘Who?’

At breakfast, as he salted his fried eggs, he told his wife Gratia, ‘Someone is trying to kill me.’

‘Who?’ she asked with horror.

Grommet slowly stirred the cream and sugar into his coffee and shook his head. ‘I don’t know,’ he responded.

Convinced though he was, Grommet couldn’t go to the police with such a story. He decided that his only course was to go about his daily routine, and hope somehow to outwit his would-be murderer. He tried to think on his drive to the office, but the traffic lanes occupied him wholly. Nor, once behind his desk, could he find a moment, what with jangling phones, urgent memos and the problems and decisions piling up as they did every day.

It wasn’t until his second glass of wine at lunch that the full terror of his position struck him. It was all he could do to finish his Lasagne Milanese.

‘I can’t panic,’ he said to himself, lighting his cigarette. ‘I simply must live my life as usual.’

So he worked until seven as usual, drove home as fast as usual, ate a hearty dinner as usual, had his two whiskies as usual, studied business reports as usual, had his two sleeping tablets as usual in order to get his usual six hours sleep.

As the days passed he manfully stuck to his routine. As the months went by, he began to take a perverse pleasure in his ability to survive.

‘Whoever is trying to get me,’ he’d say proudly to his wife, ‘hasn’t got me yet. I’m too smart for him!’

‘Oh, please be careful, Grabwell,’ she’d reply, ladling a second helping of Beef Stroganoff.

His pride grew as he managed to go on living. But, as surely as it must come to all men, death came at last to Grabwell Grommet. It came at his desk on a particularly busy day. He was 53. His grief-stricken widow demanded a full autopsy. But it only showed emphysema, arteriosclerosis, duodenal ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, cardiac neurosis, a cerebravivascular aneurism, pulmonary oedema, obesity, circulatory insufficiency, and a touch of cancer.

‘How glad Grabwell would have been to know,’ said the widow smiling proudly through her tears, ‘that he died of natural causes.’

A. Hoppe in Physical Fitness Newsletter, University of Oregon, 1973


Are you a workaholic?

A balanced lifestyle is essential for effective managers. If you over-commit yourself to the workplace, your lifestyle and health may suffer in the end.

If you answer yes to many of these questions, you may be in danger of workaholism:

o When you’re not working, do you feel at a loose end?

o Do you believe you are the only person who can do your job properly?

o Is your work challenging and rewarding?

o Do you suffer stress headaches?

o Are you having relationship troubles?

o Do you take work home at weekends or on holidays?

o Are you a competitive person by nature?

o Do you put in long hours but feel guilty if you occasionally leave work early?

o Do you have trouble delegating jobs to others?

o Are you tired of friends or relatives complaining they don’t see enough of you?

o If you took a lower-paid job with lower performance expectations would you still put in extra hours and effort?


Sharp’s ten steps to better sleep

Lack of sleep can impact on work productivity, quality of life, relationships, success at work, and how you go about achieving your goals – yet around 80 per cent of people experience sleep disorders at some point in their lives, and 30 per cent have lasting difficulty.

In ‘The Good Sleep Guide’ (Penguin), Dr Timothy Sharp offers these ten steps to better sleep:

  • Understand the need for sleep. While the average person needs 7.5 hours sleep, some need only 4 hours, others up to 12. Realise that sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
  • Make sleep a priority. Do this and the health and wellbeing benefits will be significant.
  • Watch your diet. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and too much alcohol at night.
  • Exercise and be active. Do strenuous exercise three or four times a week and if you have a desk job, get up and walk around. Avoid vigorous exercise just before bed.
  • Relax. Try slow breathing techniques, progressive muscular relaxation, and imagery (picture yourself in a pleasant rainforest).

o Determine a sleep routine. Try to go to bed and get up at regular times every day. Develop a pre-bed routine or wind down 60 minutes before you go to sleep. This should involve relaxing activities such as light reading (not work-related). Also keep your bed for sleeping – avoid eating, working or watching TV in bed.

o Organise your time. If you are rushed off your feet all day and not getting enough done, you’ll find it hard to unwind at night.

o Develop healthy thinking and worry control. Worry is the biggest cause of insomnia. Catch those unhelpful thoughts – if you are lying awake worrying about an 11 am appointment the next day, tell yourself that you can’t do anything about it now and that if you sleep you’ll be better equipped to deal with it tomorrow.

o Deal with other problems. Chronic health problems, depression and anxiety also affect sleep. Seek professional help to deal with them.

o Persevere and practise. Don’t get discouraged if in one week you’re still not sleeping better. It can take at least four weeks to change your habits.


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