Working from home is great! No facing the daily commute, you’re always home to sign for packages, and you’re never more than a few metres away from your kitchen to grab a cuppa (or a biscuit…)!
However, if we spend too much time at home, we’re likely to spend less time moving and more time sitting – which isn’t good for our physical or mental health. Sitting for long periods slows the body’s metabolism, which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.
Movement is good for our bodies. Moving more lifts our mood, burns off energy, helps us sleep better and enables us to manage a healthy weight. Long term, keeping active helps protect us from health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart problems.
With this in mind, it’s important to find new ways to fit movement into your day and make sure you don’t spend too much time sitting at the desk or on the sofa!
You do you
In order to stay healthy, adults should be moving for around 30 minutes a day.
This is relatively easy to achieve when we factor in our daily commute, getting up and walking round the office to tell our colleagues something, nipping to the shops at lunch, or the after work gym visit.
Without these regular options to fit movement into our day, we need to make a conscious effort to find different ways to get that movement in.
You could do this by taking advantage of the many different guided videos online - such as yoga or a HIIT class. If the weather’s good, why not head outside for a walk, cycle or a run? You could get creative and swap your dash to the bus for a lunchtime kickabout in the garden, or run up and down the stairs a few times.
It’s important to remember that you don’t suddenly have to take up long-distance running or become a yoga master if that’s not something that appeals to you. It’s important to find something that suits you and that you enjoy, that way you’re more likely to stick to it.
Tip: If you’d usually walk or cycle to work, or the bus stop, then a good way to fill the gap would be to get out and about during those hours you’d usually be on the move.
If work is too busy, or family commitments prevent you from getting active, why not break your daily half hour into three blocks of 10 minutes or find other ways of spreading it out?
You could set a timer on your phone for three sets of 10 minute bursts of activity throughout your working day. Some easy indoor options are: jogging on the spot, push ups, star jumps, skipping, squats and burpees. You might find that taking 10 minutes away from your screen refreshes you and gives you a burst of energy to power through that deluge of emails that’s just come in!
And don’t worry, if you can’t get away from your desk throughout the day there are still ways to fit movement in with a bit of multitasking!
You could try calf raises, neck rolls and arm circles while you are on the phone, or put your colleagues on loud speaker and do some chair squats, seated bicycle crunches or lower abs leg lifts – just remember to mute your microphone as you start breathing harder. Or, why not encourage everyone on your team call to start or end with a 10-minute moving session? Not everyone has to do the same thing – just do what feels good for you, your ability and your body on the day.
You could also do lots of these actions while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting for an email to arrive or while your computer fires up first thing in the morning.
As long as your heart beats a little faster and you feel warmer, this will all be doing you good.
Tip: Check out the Live Well Day to see an example schedule of how you can fit movement into a day of working from home.
Mix it up
Day to day habits such running for the bus, lifting heavy shopping bags or walking up and down stairs get different parts of your body moving and provide a mix of cardio (getting warmer, heart beating faster, breathing quicker), strength and balance, so it would benefit you to try and create this mixture while you’re at home.
Tip: Many exercise and circuit classes incorporate bodyweight exercise and cardio into their routines – exercises like step-ups, burpees, hip bridges, lunges, planks, push-ups and squats are all great ways to vary your exercise and can easily be packed into a lunch hour!
Don’t sweat the small stuff…
If you feel like you’d struggle to change your habits, or the idea of doing a run at lunchtime fills you with dread, start small. If you’ve not done a run before, why not just take a quick walk round the garden and take it from there?
Don’t like running or walking? That’s ok, why not try a kickabout, swingball, sock tennis with the kids or a rave in the shower? We’ve got some great ideas for getting active indoors here and fun ways to move more as a family here.
And don’t worry, you don’t have to don Lycra or post your achievement all over Facebook and Instagram for it to count. Whatever you do, counts for you. Don’t compare yourself to someone else – their body, goals, abilities and how much time they have in a day will vary massively to you! Check out our blog by Ben from Empower You about how to get your movement in no matter your ability, or those you’re getting active with here.
Start with whatever suits you and set small, achievable goals – you don’t even have to leave your desk! The more you do, the more confident and happy you will feel.
The latest Active Lives Children and Young People data shows the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children's activity levels with a 5.6% decrease in children that are active from 12 months ago
How Rayner Stephens’s Academy has adapted their physical activity provision to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic