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There is no doubt about it. Computer programming renders me immobile for hours  and  I need to get away from my ‘learning’  momentarily  (currently I am immersed in cloud computing via AWS and digital ocean) and focus on lighter side of things, like, life. Oh yeah, I need to get a life. I am a late bloomer in  computer languages and sometimes I act like  a freshly minted college graduate who just got his first job, and, well, that is basically true. I just graduated in I T  last December. A few days ago I was offered  days off from clinical  work on account of having low hospital census (summer). That excited me. It meant I could work on my  coding which  I was dying to do. It doesn’t earn me a penny but wow, what I can do with it in my free time! But (despite pursuing  my passion), sitting on a chair for hours can be dangerous to my physical health. Being old and wise now, I need to press the brakes when I get too concentrated.  Prolonged immobility is no good.


I remember a patient who recently had surgery of a fractured  hip asking me, “I am in so much pain,  why must I sit up  on chair? What is so important in sitting up?”


Obviously the patient haven’t had been in a hospital before or he subscribes to the old notion of bedrest  in times of injury or disease. I said  there are things that happen when you  go vertical. You move the muscles, you inhale more air that expands the lungs,  your circulation goes down the legs to be pushed up back, which makes the heart work more, gravity pulls down whatever needs to get expelled out of your system, you prevent hypotension, you prevent blood clots, all your organs will rev  up and of course, you  eat better when you are sitting and looking better when visited by friends and families.


I guess my answer did register something as  he asked to be assisted  to the bathroom. Yeah, unfortunately, I need to deal with THAT when people go vertical the first time after being sick.  He just couldn’t wait to use the bathroom.


That is the reason why movement, no matter how little, matters to everyone. For seniors like me, it is much more important. There is a quadrangle of needs a person must meet at this stage in life, like 4 corners required  to stabilize it.


Movement, Nutrition, Mental Stability, Rest.


We need to balance all these to maintain an optimally functional and good quality life. One should not be tempted to focus on one and ignore the rest. Too much movement or exercise at the expense of the other three leads to injury and depressed immune system.  Too much dieting or the opposite will lead to starvation or obesity and  related problems,  too much stress or mental anguish will lead to stress hormones affecting the whole being,  and absence of rest will lead to fatigue and again, compromised immunity.


These components of the quadrangle are very dynamic, much like setting up a pole supported by 4 wires. All those wires should be equal or at least each compensatory for the others as need be. The goal is perfect harmony and balance. Do not ignore any of them.


A lot of health care workers  nowadays are looking more closely  into the mental component since it appears it is the main driving force of all 4. If we seriously consider them all,  the mental discipline seems to drive the  resolve and concentration and consistency for the quadrangle. It is the motivation to keep us moving. It is the mental discipline to choose the right food. It is mental power for us to turn the light off at night so we can complete our daily sleep.


There are a few ways to address the mental component of the quadrangle:


  1. To keep motivated to exercise, read exercise books, internet blogs,  health and lifestyle magazines.  Spend time with people who are regular exercisers, talk to family about giving you space and time to exercise, keep a journal of your routine. Shoot for self-data progress. Data progress includes weight loss, improved sugar and blood pressure, feeling of well being. Keep these data so you can evaluate progress.

  2. Keep a journal of what you eat. Educate yourself on proper nutrition. If you have no time to cook healthy meals, subscribe to programs who can do it for you. Personally, I always look for natural cooking in my own kitchen.

  3. Make sure that no matter how hard working you are or how passionate you are with what you do, set a time to pause and stop to resume at another time. That applies well on me. It is important to mentally shift your gears to sleep mode, rest mode, exercise mode, meal mode. Don’t get complacent. When you say you finish work at 5 pm, try your best to finish at 5pm. If you determined sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day means retiring at 10, try to drop everything you do and sleep at that time.

  4. Again, it’s all about mental power.