In these ever-changing times – with most of us working from home or soon to be homeworkers – it’s essential to keep moving for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Our fitness expert Jenny Weller has advice for those concerned to ensure they keep up an active lifestyle while working from home or in self-isolation.
Stand up for phone calls
Every time you make or answer a call, get up and move around. You’ll likely pace up and down, adding up to an extra 20% to your total daily energy expenditure.
Make the most of all your space to move as it keeps up your step count. You could even set yourself a step target for each call you have.
As well as that, you’ll also load your bones by standing, potentially avoiding osteoporosis in later life. Getting up out of your chair and moving around is great for your back too, in order to keep it mobile and flexible.
Break from your desk/ workstation every 30 minutes
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends leaving your desk every 30 minutes, even if only briefly. Good for your brain and your body, a quick break in focus allows you to reset and return more productive too. Make your break as efficient as possible by drinking a small amount of water or hot drink without caffeine, and climb the stairs once or twice.
Why not try a quick workout via a streaming service? MyActiveDiscounts is currently providing discounted digital fitness programmes to kickstart your home workouts.
It’s tempting to get stuck at your desk for hours on end but we’re creatures who are designed to move. Having your workstation set up correctly does much to look after your posture long-term, but there are a series of exercises that will keep you feeling fresh and prevent aches and pains from being hunched over the laptop. Here’s a link which will guide you through: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/
Other simple and easy stretches to do are:
- Chest stretches – put your arms out wide & push your chest outward, and then bring your arms back around your body and hunch your back. Repeat this 3 times regularly.
- Foot rotations – with each foot draw a circle in the air in both directions (left and right), as well as back and forth. Repeat both feet alternately, and do this regularly.
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Use an exercise ball instead of a chair
The exercise ball – or Swiss ball – is a fantastic tool for your core and posture! Not only is it more fun than your regular chair, it helps to improve balance, tone core muscles, relieve back aches and will inspire you to stretch more. Being seated on an unstable surface automatically uses the deep muscles of your abdomen and lower back. These muscles have to work harder than normal to stabilise you. It’s also very hard (but not impossible!) to slouch on a Swiss ball, so you’re much more likely to sit with good posture.
Another bonus is that you can also use the ball for some mobilisations, stretches and exercises during your regular breaks. You can vary the intensity of demand on your core by adjusting the amount of air in the ball. The firmer the ball, the harder it is to balance.
Don’t have an exercise ball? No worries; head here over to www.myactivediscounts.co.uk and start making savings on home fitness equipment.
Clean the house
Cleaning might sound dull, but remember, if you’re now working from home you want your environment to be as calming as possible in these turbulent times.
Plus, exercise doesn’t have to look like exercise. Cleaning your home increases your heart rate and burns calories. Vigorous housework for 30 minutes will give you the same cardiovascular benefit as a brisk walk and the saying ‘Tidy House Tidy Mind’ really works.
If you’re working from home and social distancing, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are unable to leave your house. We’re very lucky in the UK that there are beautiful green spaces and beaches often within easy reach. On March 17th, the National Trust opened the doors to its beautiful parks and gardens for free to encourage people to get fresh air while social distancing. Have a search for the nearest location to you as this could prove to be the perfect opportunity for a break from your working day – and will entertain the kids as well!
Boosting your immune system by keeping fit and active is an essential way to help the fight against Covid-19.