Sean Van Staden
3 minute read
14 Sep 2013
7:30 am

Now’s the time to change your inner image

Sean Van Staden

It is not easy being a human being, there is so much temptation all around us. We are constantly being tested all day long with lifestyle choices.

Sean van Staden

Go the healthy eating route, or how about that little cheat day with a side order of slap chips with salt and vinegar. You had a hard day, right? You deserve it, right?

How about dealing with the internal conflict of whether to exercise or not, which happens round about five minutes after you have eaten something you shouldn’t, or to take a chilled evening at home because you have had a stressful week. Oh, and because you deserve it, right?

You can’t drive a kilometre without an enormous billboard burger staring you right in the face, and correct me if I am wrong, but I am sure they have integrated speakers, because I swear I hear the words “Eat me … Eat me”.

Outdoor exercise has become a problem because you and your children don’t feel safe enough to play in the streets or go for a jog without looking over your shoulder or have this constant fear that something bad is going to happen.

Life in general has changed and society as a whole has moved to a more “behind the desk” type of job and this has led to bums getting bigger, postures getting poorer and tummies touching the front desk. As a friend eloquently put it on a remark about his round stomach: “My stomach is a free jumping castle for my children.”

You have all heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” and these words are true to the core but this is only half the story. The new expression I am coining is, “You are your environment”. Pause for a moment and let these words sink in. You look the way you do, feel unhealthy and are stressed because you have chosen an environment that reinforces and breeds that type of culture.

You sit for eight hours of the day. You eat the burger with chips and skip the salad bar and you make the excuse that traffic and a stressful day caused you not to go to gym or do any exercise. Come the weekend, you rest because “you deserve it, right?”

Before I hear another excuse, revisit my phrase. You are your environment and you have the choice to change. See your nine to five job as an opportunity to be more physically active. Skip the elevator, take the stairs, skip the office chair and get a Swiss ball which works your core for eight hours of the day.

Not only will your posture improve but you will be more mentally alert and energetic. Buy an elastic theraband and hide it in your office draw. When you need a coffee break, take out the theraband and stretch the band back and forth and feel the resistance and the toning of your muscles. We are not aiming for you to break out in a sweat but to focus on being more physically active throughout the day.

These are just some examples which can improve your environment to be “secretly” physically active at the office. Would you rather rush home through traffic to squeeze in 45 minutes of exercise or would you rather make better choices for eight hours of your office working day. Change your mind and play in your new environment.

Ultimately, exercise should not be seen as a session in a 15-hour day but rather be seen as part of your 15-hour day. Change your inner image.

v Sean is a sports scientist and director of Advanced Sports Performance. Share your comments and opinions on his Follow him on Twitter: @SeanVStaden or visit his website