How to stay active at home
Tips to keep your fitness levels up without leaving the house.
Exercise Physiologist, Wellness Coach and Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, Bell Silverthorne has compiled some helpful tips on how you can stay active and keep yourself moving at home.
Most of us have some incidental exercise from the jobs we do – whether it’s walking to/from the bus or train each day, being on your feet delivering a presentation, walking to the printer a few times each day or heading to the kitchenette to make yourself a cuppa. If you’ve suddenly found yourself having to be at home much more – working or not, most of us will immediately reduce the amount of activity we are doing which is not great for us mentally or physically. So we have to incorporate more movement in our day consciously. Here are five ways to help keep you moving throughout your workday at home.
1. Get out of the house first thing in the morning. After you wake up, do your obligatory phone scroll and getting out of bed routine and empty your bladder. Don’t stay in your PJs, put on your activewear and get walking outside. Straight away. DO it. Aim for at least 20 minutes, if you can get 40 minutes – fantastic! Even if it’s a shuffle around the block a few times, it is essential to get outside and utilise your large muscle groups. Okay, mum speech over, but seriously, make sure you do it. Be sure you adhere to the current social distancing policies and avoid public places that are in shutdown.
2. If you are working from home or spending lots of time sitting, aim to get up and move away from the screen for 10 minutes every hour. You should set your phone or calendar to remind you. If you don’t, you could easily sit in front of a computer for well over an hour. During this time, your posture majorly deteriorates, and before you know it, you have a sore neck, feel super stiff and have a major case of computer eyes. This is where working from home can provide little opportunities for movement as well as getting stuff done around the house. Whether it’s putting washing on, unstacking the dishwasher, pairing socks together, watering the plants or taking out the rubbish, just a bit of movement is helpful to refresh yourself.
3. Take a stand! Even if you don’t leave your workstation, standing up going up and down on your tippy-toes for 20 seconds is a great option to get the blood pumping. Doing a few shoulder rolls backwards along with a couple of squats helps you feel less stagnant, gives your eyes a rest and you’ll find you’re going to be much more productive to continue working as well.
4. Use your lunch break wisely. It can be tempting to grab something from the fridge and move from office chair to lounge and enjoy the delights of daytime TV for a brain break. But trust me, you’re going to get way too comfy to think about getting back up and getting excited about logging on for the afternoon. This is where you need to up the ante a little bit to avoid the post-lunch slump. If you have any stairs in your house – try and do a few flights to get the heart rate up and use your big muscles once again. There are tons of things you can do just using your body weight too – push-ups (against the wall is fine), planks, squats, lunges, standing on one leg and doing little ankle circles with your other, even punching the air a little bit (don’t worry – everyone does look a bit silly doing this – not just you!). If you are someone that likes guidance, there are plenty of free fitness apps or YouTube videos to help you out. Some movement is always better than no movement!
5. Be firm on when work ‘ends’ and home life ‘begins’. You will find it mentally helpful to physically shut down your laptop, close it, so it’s out of your line of sight, and if you can, leave the house again immediately. If you have a reason to run an errand, or even if you walk around the block, it’s beneficial to have a definite endpoint to the workday. Boundaries are essential for all of us, no matter what age we are or the job we have. Keeping up your activity levels is more important than ever to cope better during anxious and unpredictable times, and helps calm your mind and remain clear and focused. Hop to it!
In times of uncertainty and a change in routine, it’s important to fuel yourself with healthy food to keep your immune system strong. Lite n’ Easy meals give you everything you need to eat well with plenty of variety and choice.
Bell Silverthorne is an exercise physiologist, wellness coach and lifestyle medicine practitioner with a passion for every day Australians to be that little bit healthier. Whether it’s sleeping better, exercising more, eating more fruit and veggies each day or doing your best to maintain a good headspace. Bell is a massive advocate of lifestyle medicine – harnessing your everyday lifestyle habits to help prevent, manage or even reverse chronic disease.