Working from home sure has it’s benefits – the short commute, lots more time with your loved ones, longer lie ins and saving money on transport.
But it can have a negative effect on your fitness levels as you’re tempted to stay in all day, raid the kitchen cupboard every hour and spend your lunch breaks lazing on the sofa watching Netflix.
But, don’t worry. There are a number of simple, and fun ways you can maintain a healthy body weight and a regular exercise programme while you’re working from home.
Find a routine that suits you
Every person is different but you know your body best and when you’re feeling most energised to work or exercise. Some early birds, like those in The Hub, will wake up at 6.30am and do half an hour work out each day three times a week. This is a great way to start the day, get your mind and body going and put you in good stead for the rest of the day. By 7am you will have ticked off one big objective on your list and got the endorphins flowing!
However, if you’re not an early bird, try doing it at lunch or in the evening, particularly if you have kids running around who won’t let you exercise in peace. The important thing is to get into a routine that works for you and stick to it – at least three times a week for half an hour.
Don’t see exercise as a chore
Sadly, so many of us see exercise as a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, make it a time for you to focus on yourself and your body. Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t compare yourself to others. Just go as hard as you like so that you’re having fun while exercising, rather than simply pushing yourself to make the next milestone or lose weight.
Motivate those around you
Many of us will be working from home with friends or loved ones and it’s important to motivate them – or let yourself be motivated by them! You’re much more likely to exercise with another person who is making you accountable so schedule it together. Cook dinners that are healthy for you both and treat yourselves in moderation.
If you’re living on your own, join clubs so that you have a support network spurring you on. For example, logging in to online workouts at the same time as dozens of others will give you a sense of community and confidence. Or, try sports where you play with another person, such as tennis, golf, netball or team sports where you need to turn up without letting others down. You’ll get a real buzz not only from the physical element but also the socialising too – something we’ve all missed the past few months.
Mix it up
Another problem with exercise I hear is that people find it boring. So, mix it up. Maybe do a couple of online workouts at home each week such as yoga or aerobics, interspersed with LISS (low-intensity steady-state exercise) like runs or lengthy walks outside – plus another hobby that gets the blood pumping.
And, make sure you’ve got your favourite playlist or podcast to keep you company that is going to encourage you along the way. Remember – this is your time!
Create a separate office space if you can
It can be so tempting to just work from your bed but don’t. Not only will you taint your bed with stressful thoughts about work when it should be a serene environment for sleep, it’s also not good for your health. Create a desk space that works for you, ideally with some natural light nearby. Choose a chair that feel comfortable and doesn’t give you back ache if you sit in it too long and make excuses to get up and walk around your home every now and then, just to keep the blood flowing. Remember, if you were in the office you would be up and down to speak to colleagues or go to meetings every hour so make sure you’re getting your step count up, even if it’s just a little bit.
Mind over matter
Each day we all have negative thoughts about how we can’t do certain things – but we can! It’s all too easy thinking of excuses not to do things and it’s down to you to push those bad thoughts out of your head; don’t think too much and just do it. That’s why I love a morning work out as I haven’t had the time to think too much about things; I just do it and I feel so much better the rest of the day.
The most important thing when working from home is to keep mentally fit and well. Make sure you check in with others so that you’re not isolating yourself. Support one another and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t managed to exercise as much as you wanted or had another cheat day. Feeling mentally well is the most important thing and while exercise and eating well can contribute to that, the priority is knowing your body and looking after yourself, especially in these strange and uncertain times.
About the author
Jemma Thomas is a PT and Founder of Jemma’s Health Hub, an online community providing regular work outs four times a week. For more information, visit www.jemmashealthhub.com.
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