Working from home has been a very welcome break from our traditional office environment. We can skip the commute for a little extra sleep, prepare a nutritious lunch in our own kitchen, and have more time to do the things we love.
However, this new way of living can have a negative impact on our health. Even before Covid, over 25% of workers were sitting down for more than nine hours a day, and the situation has only gotten worse with remote working. When your home becomes your office, there’s very little reason to leave your house, and this makes it easier to slack on your workout regime.
Sitting for long periods of time is linked to several health issues, including obesity, increased blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels, all of which can contribute to heart disease. As such, it’s so important to exercise regularly, not only for your physical health, but your mental wellbeing too. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of activity a week (around 20 minutes a day), but how can you stay active while working from home? We’ve got a few tips to encourage you to get your body moving.
1. Don’t forget to stretch
You likely sit at your desk for eight hours plus a day without much movement, and during the pandemic this has become even more of a problem as many employees don’t have a proper working setup. For example, workers have created makeshift desks on sofas, beds, and the kitchen table, and it’s ruining our posture. Without a suitable desk, bodily pain is more prevalent as a result of slouching, sitting for longer, and relying on a laptop screen. So, it’s essential you stretch often to loosen your muscles.
Many people aren’t aware of the benefits of stretching and associate it with something you should do before and after a workout. However, it increases your flexibility, blood flow, and posture, and allows you to go about your day with ease. Celebrity personal trainer Jason Wimberley told Shape that: “The body is designed for movement. It’s an essential way to move lactic acid, increase circulation, decrease inflammation, and lubricate joints. The less we move, the more stiffness sets in.” As such, it’s so important to step away from your computer and stretch, and include it in your daily routine. Some of the best ones to do include the piriformis stretch, the lunge with spinal twist, the frog stretch and the seated shoulder squeeze.
2. Subscribe to an online workout programme
Online workout classes and programmes truly are perfect for the working from home lifestyle, enabling you to continue exercising without having to leave your home. From yoga and dance, to strength and cardio, there’s a workout for everyone. Many of these can be accessed anywhere at any time, enabling you to exercise with ease.
Meanwhile, many personal trainers have been offering their clients online exercise alternatives during the pandemic. For example, Naturally Sassy provides her ballet-inspired barre workouts in a series of fun online sessions, helping to sculpt ballerina-esque bodies. This programme doesn’t require a professional barre (you can simply use a chair or table) so it’s easy to get results at home and allows everyone regardless of fitness level to reap the benefits.
3. Put your workout clothes on when you wake up
Sometimes the thought of working out is the worst idea ever (we’ve all been there), and it can be hard to get active. However, just putting your exercise clothing on in the morning can put you in the right mindset. After all, you’ve got the kit on, why let it go to waste? Even more so if you wear your favourite pieces. In fact, 69% of people say that having nice workout clothing helps push them to exercise. “When you feel good, your mindset shifts to a place where self-care becomes more important to you,” Denise Lee, founder and CEO of activewear line Alala, said to Well and Good. Check out this workout gear guide if you’re unsure what to wear during exercise.
4. Schedule workout sessions into your day
Scheduling your workouts into your week is a great way of staying motivated to exercise, as the physical act of writing them down helps hold you accountable. It’s all well and good making promises to yourself that you’re going to work out, however, the chances are you’ll find an excuse not to do it. Treat it the same way you would an important client meeting. You wouldn’t cancel it because you were too tired or feeling lazy, so why would you do that for exercise? Scheduling your workouts makes you more committed, provides a balanced regime, and allows you to track your progress. Whether you use a paper diary or an online calendar, it doesn’t matter as long as you note them down. You can even set a reminder to doubly make sure you get active.
5. Incorporate simple no-equipment exercises
There are many types of exercises you can do at home, and these make it easier to stay active, knowing you don’t need to leave the house for an endorphin boost. Yoga and Pilates are ideal for this as you can do it from your living room with just a yoga mat and YouTube video. Other exercises that are simple without equipment are squats, on-the-spot jogging, planks, jumping jacks, and skipping — anything that gets your heart pumping. If working out sometimes seems a little daunting, these are suitable as there’s no pressure to perform. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a long time or you struggle, as long as you’re getting your body moving, you’re a step ahead. You can even incorporate exercise into your daily activities. For example, ten squats while waiting for the kettle to boil, a few lunges during cooking, or weight-lifting when you’re watching TV. These are all easily done and are a great use of your time.