A fitness trainer’s easy tips for keeping healthy at the office include walking sideways and using the squatting toilet

Vanan Nadarajan, co-founder of fitness company EzFit, said Singaporeans should drink more water and avoid overworking.
Rachel Genevieve Chia/Business Insider

It’s 2019, and undoubtedly, “be healthier” is a new year resolution for many.

However, apart from going to the gym, there are also easy ways to incorporate healthier habits into our daily lives.

We asked personal fitness trainer Vanan Nadarajan, co-founder of fitness company EzFit, to share with us his five easy tips that office workers can implement to have a healthier lifestyle.

Nadarajan’s clients include young children and the elderly – with his oldest customer aged 91 years old – so the tips are achievable even if you’re not fit, and won’t cost anything.

Here’s what he recommended:

#1: Walk sideways in the office


Nadarajan admitted that this sounded like an absurd suggestion, but said people should try walking sideways – much like a crab – while in the office.

He said this habit was in practice at his own office.

“I know it sounds ridiculous, but the body is meant to move laterally, to rotate and move sideways,” he said. “These are sleeping muscles, and you must wake them up. Shuffle sideways to the printer.”

“The problem is we don’t train our bodies to move laterally, and that’s why when we bend down to pick something up, we pull a muscle.”

Nadarajan added that in public, he uses the time when waiting for someone to pace sideways. “When I do this, people sometimes get curious and ask me what I’m doing,” he said.

“I know it’s going to look absurd, but be up for it.”

He added that people should also try to exercise whenever possible in the office, such as taking the stairs.

#2: Use the squatting toilet


While far from glamorous, using the squatting toilet promotes hip mobility and strengthens the core muscles around the pelvis, Nadarajan said.

The action of moving the body from a standing to a squatting position and back again is also a good way to activate multiple muscles in the body.

“People tend to feel pain and tightness in their lower back – that’s because their pelvic and hip muscles are tight,” Nadarajan said.

For those who want to squat in a less objectionable environment, Nadarajan recommended static squats, using the office wall to support your body in a chair pose.

Read also: I found the perfect office chair for people with back pain – and it’s worth every cent of the shocking S$988 price tag

#3: Slowly reduce your intake of unhealthy foods like char kway teow, instead of removing them straight away

The Straits Times

One common mistake people make when trying to be healthy is to totally cut out the unhealthy foods they enjoy, which people often find too difficult to continue for long, Nadarajan said.

“if you change your diet too fast, you’ll find yourself thinking you’d rather be fat and unhealthy,” he cautioned. “Rather than make a drastic change, try gradual changes so your body can adapt.”

The fitness trainer advised that people should take note of the number of times they indulge, and reduce that number slightly so they can cope psychologically with the new diet. For example, going from eating char kway teow five times a week to three times a week is a good start.

“Don’t go on extreme calorie-cutting diets as you’ll feel like a zombie (tired and lethargic) at work,” he added. “This is because your body misses those extra calories and you can’t function well. Dieting has to be done gradually.”

#4: Drink more water.


“Hydration is very important because we live in Singapore and the humidity is high,” Nadarajan said. “Often, we don’t drink enough.”

He said that water should ideally constitute about 60 per cent of the body – but for most Singaporeans, this number drops to about 40 per cent.

#5: Don’t work and party so hard 

Nadarajan said that younger Singaporeans tend to work too many hours at the office and then party too hard on weekends, placing their health and exercise regime in the backseat.

He said he made the same mistake in his youth, and advised people to “think of balance”.

“Young people hammer their bodies since they’re in their prime – they overwork themselves at the office and forget to take care of themselves. Then they go out on the weekends and party until late and go into the office hungover,” he said.

“Exercise. Pick a sport. You have to,” he added. “Don’t let these things take over your life. Your body doesn’t feel it now, but you’ll feel it soon.”

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