In recent times, working from home has become the norm. A recent study from Ammar et al. (2020) found that unhealthy eating and sitting time had increased to eight hours per day. Thus, COVID-19 has not only been affecting the global economy, but also severely impacting worldwide physical activity.
Therefore, we understand that working from home may be impacting your nutritional and physical activity habits and even decreasing your motivation. However, working from home should not be an excuse, so we have created a list of tips and strategies to help you stay fit and healthy.
1 – Drink plenty of water – This will help hydrate and curb your hunger particularly if you are feeling hungry. Depending on your daily activities, we recommend 2 to 3 litres of water a day.
2 – Eat a variety of whole foods – Keep it simple by eating from the core foods – high quality protein to help maintain your muscle but also make sure your appetite is satisfied. Additionally, pair your protein with low GI carbohydrates because low GI foods will have a slow steady release which will help you feel fuller for longer. An example of this maybe quinoa, wholegrain rice or wrap.
3 – Maintain regular hours – Set yourself a clear guideline on when to begin and finish work each day. Working from home can be beneficial with flexibility but you don’t want to fall into the habit of sleeping in or staying up late each day.
4 – Create new routines/habits – Start your new at home work times with a new routine. You may have in past began your day by going into the gym, listening to a podcast and buying a takeaway coffee before going into work. However, times have changed and creating a new routine will help you start each day and maintain your motivation. For example, instead of going to the gym, you may go for a walk around your house. Can’t buy a coffee? Make yourself a coffee and find a spare 5 – 15 minutes and relax before you begin your day.
5 – Schedule breaks – Working from home can mean being stuck in front of a computer or mobile screen for hours. If you feel like you’re stuck, set a reminder on your phone to help you move or even stretch. Additionally, schedule a time to complete a workout. At the end of the article is an example 30 minute workout that you can complete.
6 – Stretch – As we described above, stretching can be added into your at home routine. Particularly if you are starting into a screen for hours and this may lead to back, hip or neck problems. Here's a couple of stretches you can do if you’re at your desk.
1 - Seated pigeon stretch – This stretch will help with your back and hips. If you are using a chair, move away from the desk but still keep seated. Place one foot over the opposite knee and slowly push the raised knee close to parallel to the floor. From here slightly lean forward and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Similar to the thoracic stretch, complete 2 to 3 sets per side.
2 – Thoracic stretch – If you’re using a chair, move the chair away from your desk and place your hands on the edge of your desk. From here, keep your arms straight and move your body away. Retract/squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can also protract/push your shoulder blades outwards. Again, hold for 20 30 seconds and complete 2 to 3 sets.
3 - Standing calf stretch - Place your hands on the wall and step away. Place one leg in front of the other and push the other heel down. Drive the heel down into the ground and hold for 20 - 30 seconds each leg and complete 2 to 3 sets.
7 – Motivation – Often or not, motivation can be lost due to being at home or gyms closing. However, a couple tips to use is to remember why you started, use a journal or find an exercise you enjoy to help you keep up your physical activity.
8 – Schedule a walk/find sunlight – Working from home can also mean minimal exposure to sunlight and maximal exposure to work stress and screens. We believe you should find time to walk either before, during or after your scheduled work hours. Walking can be beneficial to help calm yourself, unwind and relax. Sunlight can also be very beneficial to your body, not just for vitamin D but to help you relax, particularly if you have tired eyes from staring at a screen all day. A great tip to spend time in the sun is to either stretch, move, drink a coffee or have your breakfast/lunch outside.
In conclusion, working from home should not be an excuse to deteriorate from your current nutrition and physical activity goals. If anything, it should be a time for you to experiment, create new habits and help you maintain your current fitness levels. Alternatively, if you get stuck, we are just a phone call away and will be happy to assist you.
Here's an example workout you can do from home. Give it a go and if you would like any help, contact us.
Inch Worm x 30s
Mountain Climbers x 30s
Standing Alternating Single Leg Deadlift x 30s
Wall Sit x 30s
3 Sets – 1min each/30s rest between each
A1 – Max Push Ups
A2 – Max Squats
A3 – Max Table Top Crunches
A4 – Max High Knees
Rest 2min after each set
3 Sets – 1min each/30s rest between each
B1 – Max Shoulder Taps
B2 – Max Reverse Lunges
B3 – Max Plank
B4 – Max Star Jumps
Pigeon Stretch x 30s ea
Calf Stretch x 30s ea
Thoracic Desk or Wall Stretch x 30s