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Our active lunch break

When a shiny new gym opened at the New York end of Collins Street (that’s near Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station), Angelika Langer-Zindel was one of the first members to join-up. It took another six months for her to recruit a work gym buddy, Diana Tanvis Loi. While there are a few fitness junkies amongst us in the workplace, these two colleagues who both work in our Shared Services team (Accounts Receivable and Payroll respectively), are often seen heading off to exercise together at lunchtimes. I asked what motivates them beyond the Healthy Me, Healthy You program we instigated at Slade Group last year.

Why do you choose to work out in-between work?

Angelika: At my local gym I was missing all the fitness classes – there were only one or two classes I could do. If I was late home from work, I missed them altogether. So it’s much more convenient for me to go at lunchtime.

Diana: Same as Angelika, I used to go to 6am classes at my local gym, but it’s just too hard and I started missing my trains to work.

Why go to the gym together?

Diana: At this gym, they have a rock climbing wall facility and it is definitely more fun to climb with a buddy and also safer, as we make sure that each other’s harnesses are secure.

How do you manage to change into your gym gear, then get back into work clothes, as well as fit in a 45 minute class within your lunch hour?

Angelika: There is no time for showers, so we don’t do classes that are too high intensity. A spin class is a definite no. I have short hair, so I don’t have any problems. If you have a complicated haircut, it just doesn’t work!

Diana: Definitely no body combat for me, or I’d sweat. Athleisure is a new trend in fashion – you can wear a hybrid tank top to work out and put a blazer over it to dress it back up for the office. We also have nice change rooms with free towels and showers in our building, but I generally use the facilities at the gym.

Do you miss doing other things at lunchtime? When do you actually eat your lunch?

Angelika: Not really. Doing a lunchtime class is good break; sitting all day is definitely not healthy.

Diana: Most of us only walk a few steps from our desk each day.

Angelika: It means eating at your desk, which is not the best habit, but you have to compromise. I always eat after exercising – if I eat too much before, I feel sick, so it’s good for weight management.

I see a lot people carrying gym bags on their commute. Is fitness amongst corporate types becoming more popular?

Angelika:  I think so. A lot of the classes where we go are fully booked, so it seems that others are sharing the same habits as us.

Diana:  I think more and more deskbound professionals are finding it really unhealthy to be sitting up to 8-10 hours a day. Employers are also becoming more aware of this and allowing flexible work arrangements.

What are some of the less obvious benefits to including exercise in your work schedule?

Diana: I spend a lot less money on shopping since I started going to the gym!

Angelika: That’s right, when you work in the city, you go shopping at lunchtime.

Diana: It’s also a great way to release your pent-up frustration. I don’t think about work at all while I’m exercising and by the time I’m finished I’ve forgotten whatever I was worried about.

Both: We are still recruiting if anyone is interested to join our lunchtime habits!


Have you been taking active lunch breaks? What are some of the healthy practices you have incorporated into your work schedule?

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Melbourne to New York at the Age of 65

Sometimes it feels like you’ve run a marathon just to keep with the world @work! This year, at the age of 65, long-time Melbourne running superstar and long-serving Slade Group employee Heather McBride has qualified to run in the New York Marathon. The race takes place on Sunday, 1 November 2015 and the Slade team will be proudly supporting Heather every step of the way. To find out what it takes to go the distance (that’s 42.195 km or 26.219 miles to be exact), we asked Heather about her running history and got a few tips on her pre-race routine.

How long have you been running?
24 years – since November 1991, the day I gave up smoking.

What’s your biggest running achievement?
Running my third Melbourne Marathon in a time of 3:49:05. My second most memorable achievement was coming first in my age group last year in the Sydney Half Marathon.

What’s the best part of being a runner?
The love of running, for the sense of achievement after each and every run. It can be gruelling, especially when doing the long runs; however, the euphoria is worth it… The friendships I have formed with other runners, the common ground we share although from very diverse backgrounds… The knowledge that it provides me with good health and wellbeing. Whenever I’m feeling down, a good run will work wonders. I suppose I have to admit that it becomes an addiction, but what an addiction to have!

What is the hardest part?
I don’t think there is a hard part, except when injury gets in the way.

Do you have a weekly training schedule?
I run four times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). I also like to walk on my off days.

What’s your routine prior to an event?
A big pasta meal two nights before the big day, and get lots of sleep in the week prior to the race. I eat a lot of carbohydrates as part of my normal diet, which I find is of enormous help.

Do you have any superstitions before a race?
I am not at all superstitious and I very rarely get nervous before a run – although New York will probably be the exception. I am feeling nervous already!

Any food just prior to a run?
I don’t normally eat before a training run, except for long runs. On the morning of a marathon (or half marathon) I will have a banana, toast with jam and a cup of strong coffee (caffeine gives you a lift). It is important during a marathon to keep the fluids up and also to have a couple of power gels in your pocket.

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Do you want to look, feel, sleep and love better? (and dare we say work smarter?)

Dr John Tickell presents five ways to achieve all of the above.

The futurists are telling us that our life expectancy has peaked and that our great-grandchildren will probably not live as long as we do. In the 20th century, life expectancy rose by about 10 years, mainly because of three things – sanitation, vaccination and antibiotics. There were also better therapies for some cancers, such as leukaemia, and organ transplants.

While life expectancy may have peaked, our health expectancy is plummeting. We are getting sicker, earlier – heart attacks (200 a day), diabetes (3000 a week) – and it’s estimated that one in three of us will get cancer. We are literally making our children vulnerable and, of course, we are role models for our children and grandchildren.

One of my three heroes in life, George Burns, did live until he was 100, and enjoyed every minute of his life, while proving that you did not need to be a fanatic.

Fanatics of any shade are boring – fanatical eaters, fanatical exercisers, religious fanatics, all-about-money fanatics… and they run out of friends fairly quickly.

If you love exploring our continent by taking to our well-maintained national highways, you’re already ahead. Enhance the experience by staying fit and healthy while travelling. On the road be flexible, explore different places and meet interesting people, all of which will broaden your mind.

The bottom line: we only get one go at this life, so feel 10 years younger. Do you want to look better, feel better, sleep better and love better?

Here are my five musts for living the good life:

1. If you take the ‘f’ out of ‘life’, you are living a LIE, and that’s the truth. My big four ‘fs’ are family, fun, friendships and faith. Put them back into your life.

2. Stay busy or die – be careful never to retire. You’re tired; why would you want to get re-tired? If you retire, what are you actually going to do? Coffee, newspaper, and then what? Golf? If you are over 65 you will never get better at golf.

3. Do the ‘one-percenters’ – they make a positive life difference: Send a thank-you note. Take three slow, deep breaths to get your blood pressure lower. Say “well done” to someone. Walk on a beach, or in a forest or park. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in some time. Do six backward shoulder rolls to loosen up your spine. Go to a movie or read a book. Plan your next 3×3 with your partner or friend – that’s three days break, three times a year, three months in advance. Just do it. Become part of a community. The longest living and healthiest people do not live in concrete boxes stacked one on top of the other! They live in villages and communities.

4. Keep achieving. Forward-looking is the cornerstone of a long, healthy life. Look forward to things; mixing with people, especially younger people; aim at something you can do or make happen or achieve in the next three, six or 12 months.

5. Improve your ‘ACE’ skills: activity, coping and eating. Activity: move – start with a brisk 30 minute walk five times a week. That’s just two-and-a-half hours of the approximately 112 hours you are awake each week and represents just four percent of a 24 hour day. Coping: get out of the pressure cooker – often. Eating: eat more plant and less flesh foods. Eat many more low ‘HI’ foods – that’s foods low in human interference – foods and drinks that are not processed, refined, fried, and destroyed with sugar, packaging, preservatives, added salt, hormones, shelf life and use-by dates. Forget willpower and adopt won’t power: “I won’t stuff 45 of the 50 fries that have been served as part of my balanced meal into the amazing machine that is my body.

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