Blood pressure is often cited as a factor associated with your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is also widely accepted that exercise is a key factor in lowering blood pressure.
And over the past few days, the European Society of Cardiology has revealed the results of a study about daytime sleeping. It turns out that napping during the day can lower your blood pressure significantly.
In turn, this lowers your risk of having both a heart attack and a stroke.
And yet, when it comes to both sleep and exercise, life tends to get in the way.
I know that work-life balance is topical, it’s always in the news. But what does it really mean?
I’ve got the best possible work-life balance. I now work part-time hours from home. I look after my children full time.
And yet, having the time to exercise is tough. Getting enough sleep at night is virtually impossible and afternoon naps? I wish.
So how exactly are we supposed to stay healthy whilst coping with the pressures of modern life?
Heart disease is the biggest cause of death in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics.
And yet we go to work day in, day out. The days are long, the nights never long enough. The afternoons pass in a tired stupor but of course, there is no time to sleep.
When evening finally comes, we are too exhausted to exercise. Most of us have a drink to unwind. Probably too much to drink.
We live for the holidays. The measly two weeks off work when we get to see our families, unwind and maybe have a bit of time to ourselves.
The holidays go too quickly and we’re back to the grindstone.
These days, we are living longer. But the welfare state has bitten off more than it can chew with the aging population so the state retirement age is increasing as well.
If it doesn’t increase again within my lifetime, I will be 68 when I receive a state pension.
By which time, I will be glad of an afternoon nap. Let’s face it, I’d have one now if I could. But what of exercise?
I like to think that I will still be able to exercise, after all, Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran the Marathon des Sables aged 71 years old. This is widely accepted to be the hardest footrace in the world.
At 35 years old, I struggle to find the time to train for a half marathon. So where are we all going wrong?
I have read about a few companies recently that have started to allow their staff to have unlimited holidays.
Would the next step be to allow them to choose their working hours as well?
I know that I am more productive when I’ve been for a run in the morning. If I ever manage to grab a nap in the afternoon, I can keep going for the rest of the day and late into the evening even if I’ve hardly slept at night.
But when I was younger, my productive work times were completely different.
Nowadays, I work when it suits me. If I am tired or disinterested, I don’t do it. And I am certain that my clients are getting a notably better service because of it.
So isn’t it time that more work places moved to slightly more flexible working hours?