Look after your lunchbox!

Words by:
Ian Eassom
Featured in:
November 2020

Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…

Although we are far from being back to normal, a lot of us are working again, be it from home or returning to the workplace. With that in mind, this month I thought I’d share some easy exercises you can do during your break without leaving your desk, or a sneaky workout while the boss isn’t looking. If you are the boss, why not encourage your staff to do this, as it will help with stress levels and maintain their general well-being at work.

Also, this month is ‘Movember’, when men’s health is in the spotlight; it’s all about having a healthy lunchbox, and by that I mean foods we can eat to promote prostate health. Around 4 out of 10 men in the UK suffer from an enlarged prostate (myself included), so we want to do all we can to keep it healthy.

Stiff neck and tight shoulders are a common complaint linked to our jobs, whether they’re manual, or involve being hunched over a desk all day. Luckily there are numerous stretches and exercises you can do to work all these body parts, without the need for gym equipment. I’ll be showing you a few of these you can do with bits of common office equipment.

As it’s Movember, I’ve asked one of my clients, Chris Spring (from Control Tech Ltd in Lincoln) to help me out in demonstrating a Shoulders/Triceps Stretch and Triceps Dip in his workplace.

For this exercise you can use a desk or chair (although make sure the chair is stationary and secured against a wall or desk before you start). Place your palms flat on the chair behind you, fingers gripping the underside of the seat. Bend your elbows straight back and gently lower yourself down several inches, keeping your back as close to the chair as possible (or tyre in Chris’s case!), then straighten your arms to lift yourself back to the starting position.

This can be performed standing or sitting. If standing, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms straight out to the side at shoulder height, with your wrists stretched out so that your fingers are facing upwards, then move your arms in small forward and backward circles 20 times in each direction. This is great for circulation and taking tension away from the neck.

As the name suggests, for this you only need a wall, but you can use a desk too if you prefer. Standing a few steps away, lean towards the desk/wall, with your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface, then lower yourself down, keeping your abs tight to maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. When you’re at the deepest point from which you can recover, push back until your arms are straight, but be careful not to let them lock. To vary this, you can change the position of your hands to be wider (which works more of your shoulder muscles) or narrower (which works your triceps more).

This is another one you can do whilst seated, so no excuses! Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, positioning both hands behind your head. Raise your left knee upwards and at the same time rotate your upper body to bring your right elbow towards your raised left knee. Return to the starting position, then do the reverse, bringing your right elbow to meet your left raised knee (or as close as you can manage). Make sure you don’t overstretch on this one, and don’t put pressure on your neck when leaning; if you can’t reach, don’t worry, that is something that will come with practice. I would recommend doing three sets of 10, or whatever you feel is a good challenge for your level of fitness.

Well, after all that you must be ready for some lunch, so here goes!

As I said earlier, I am one of many men who need to look after their prostate, and for me, diet is the best way forward. So when it comes to packing my lunchbox with healthy foods and nutritious treats, there are a few tips and tricks. The Prostate is just a cluster of glands the size of a walnut, but it can be quite a worrisome walnut, and an enlarged prostate currently affects 40% of men over the age of 50, with that percentage increasing the older we get. Cutting down (or even cutting out) red meat and having a low-fat diet is a good way to stay healthy, as well as making sure we get plenty of vitamins A, C and E, which we get from a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Including spinach or kale is a great way to get those nutrients in, together with broccoli, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils and soy nuts, which are also rich in zinc. Your prostate will thank you for all these too. Eggs will give you protein for muscle building too. I’ve added some wholemeal pasta to the lunch featured this month, with a homemade tomato sauce, with spinach, courgettes and chickpeas. Regular readers will know how much I love a nice steamed salmon fillet on top, full of protein and is just as delicious hot or cold.

Have a happy, healthy November everybody!

Ian Eassom is a Lincoln based mobile personal trainer, offering individual training sessions in your own garden or public space, following the latest social distancing rules. Ian is also offering private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. He is also able to offer one-to-one sessions in a quiet Covid-secure city centre gym. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers. For the latest information, visit Ian’s website at www.ianeassom.co.uk

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