Gone are the days when you worked a solid 9 to 5 in the office. Now, (thanks, but no thanks to covid-19) we have the incredible option of working from home. Hybrid working has drastically changed our way of living and left us with a mountain of questions about how we stay fit and healthy at work. How do you stay fit when you’re glued to your computer screen in Teams meetings all day? How do you battle feelings of isolation? How do you handle sick days when you’re working from home?
Our partners at The Gym Group have compiled a list of 10 Ways to Stay Fit at Work – The Hybrid Working Edition.
WHILST WORKING FROM HOME…
Take regular active breaks:
It can be very easy, especially when you’re really busy, to sit and work for extended periods of time. However, studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time slows down your metabolism, which directly affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. This can lead to a series of health problems such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines report suggests you only need 1 or 2 minutes of movement to break up long periods of inactivity. Try taking a 5-minute walk around the block after meetings, and it will give your body the boost of oxygen and energy you’ll need to conquer the day.
Create a moving workstation:
By now, most people will have heard of the mighty Standing Desk. It’s exactly what it says on the tin and is perfect for helping you stay in motion at work, but sometimes standing can get a little boring, so what else could you do? Use a Treadmill Desk!
These are perfect for working on the go (inside your house). Set the speed to 2-3mph and next thing you know, you’re getting in your 30 minutes of cardio AND completing your work. It’s a win-win!
Don’t forget the importance of where you set your station up. Check out this guide on Home Office Feng Shui to see how a good layout can improve your mental wellbeing and productivity.
Take time off:
When you’ve finished a long hard session in the gym, you usually take a rest day, so why don’t we do the same with work? Like many, when you started working from home, you probably felt a bit of imposter syndrome because you’ve always known work to be more tiring than what it is now.
Just because you’re working from the comfort of your home, doesn’t mean you can’t take a day off in the middle of the week to re-coup and watch Netflix. And just because you’re physically capable of working from your bed when you’re sick, doesn’t mean you should!
Studies have shown that rest is part of the recovery and growth process for your brain as well as your muscles. A good break can take the edge off a demanding workload and also increase your concentration, memory, metabolism and good moods.
Connect with people:
Working from home can get lonely, and on these days, we encourage you to talk to people in your team. Put time in for a 10-minute chat to have a non-work related discussion. Did you know that having friendly conversation with people has physical and mental benefits? It can lead to higher self-esteem, greater health and an overall increase in community trust.
Your body needs fuel to function and just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you need any less. It’s so easy to hop on an app and order junk food to your house, but why not head to the kitchen and make a hearty meal?
Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to prepare lunch when you go into the office, but there are more opportunities when you’re working from home. Put some pasta on low heat to boil during a meeting or put a toastie in the oven just before lunch. You’ll save money and have a healthy meal to eat which will do a great job of increasing your energy levels throughout the day.
WHILST IN THE OFFICE…
Take the stairs:
We have to admit, stretching at your desk whilst everyone is silently working can feel a bit odd, so to make things less awkward, try incorporating some exercises into your daily activities.
When you get to work, take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. It’s a commonly mentioned piece of advice and we’re repeating it because it’s GREAT! Stairs add a level of intensity to a simple walk as you’re using more muscles to move around. This is an easy way to keep active at work.
Go for water breaks:
Your brain is approximately 75% water, so if you’re dehydrated, it would feel almost impossible to perform at your best. When your body hasn’t had enough water, your energy levels dip, causing you to feel lethargic and possibly bring down your mood.
Here’s a good question. Can you recall how much water you’ve drank today? If you can’t remember, we’d suggest investing in a water bottle with time markings. It will help you see how much you’ve drank and keep track of how much more you need to drink throughout the day.
Follow the guidance on seated posture:
If you work in an office, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Shoulders back, monitor at eye level, feet firmly planted on the ground. We’ve all experienced the office induction training where an actor shows you how you should sit at your desk, and we’re here to say DON’T IGNORE THE ADVICE! It’s super useful and has a direct impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.
Good posture protects your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments. Psychologically, it also encourages you to feel more confident as you embody the spirit of someone who could take on the World. That’s why people say to “walk with your head held high” in difficult situations.
Schedule time at the gym:
“I will exercise at 7pm afterwork at the gym”. That’s right, that’s all it takes to build a habit. Studies have shown that writing down your intended routine increases the chance of completion of an activity by 91%. So, the next time you’re back at work and feel as though you don’t want to go to the gym, plan it so that you do!
Perform desk workouts:
For those of us confident enough to perform a desk workout, here’s a few exercises you could try. Grab a pair of ankle weights and get those legs lifting under the table. This one is discreet enough that no one would even know you’re doing it. Another option is desk yoga; less discreet but also normal enough that colleagues may even ask to join you.
Check out this link for some great desk stretches…The Standing Pigeon is questionable to perform in the office, but feel free to try it out!
For free access to some great stretches and exercises in the gym, check out The Gym Group’s Exercise Hub filled with over 95 how-to videos here https://www.thegymgroup.com/exercises/