Whilst the world is getting ready to open up socially, there are definitely going to be some of you working from home for a good while yet. In a couple of conversations over the weekend I have mentioned these to clients or members who have been struggling at their desk and looking for advice. So I thought I would share them with you too!
These 5 are things I believe will improve your over all health – no quick fixes, just ideas or foundations for good movement, good sleep, good habits…
1) When it comes to exercise you have to start with a SCHEDULE & make yourself ACCOUNTABLE
Each Sunday look at your diary for the week, and schedule where you are fitting in your exercise. Be that a walk, a yoga class or a run. Especially if you have a job that ties you to calls and meetings I really do encourage you to put these in your diary with the same commitment you do your work appointments.
In doing so not only do you make yourself accountable, you are telling yourself that you and your health are a priority. If it isn’t enough accountability to simply schedule in your exercise then book onto a class, plan a walk with a friend. Bring someone else on board to help you out!
2) How is your DESK SET UP?
Most of us have this sorted in the office but we have come home and made do…if you are still sat at a table which has you hunched over then you need to fix that. You can buy laptop stands on amazon for about £10 I will link the one I have just ordered because I noticed how much I look down when I am working (and I spend maybe an hour or two on my laptop each day which I am sure most of you trump). You want to look directly ahead at the screen, not down.
Also have a think about your chair / seat. Make sure you’re not sinking into it and ‘creasing in your hips’ instead have your feet flat to the floor and ideally your knees at a right angle or a little larger – you want the thighs slope down to the knees rather than up.
3) Using MOVEMENT to undo the damage caused by number 2!
If you play a competitive sport or you are training for a particular race or event you most likely already have a routine in place. This advice may be of interest to you but it is really for those who don’t know where to start with movement / exercise.
- Get outside, get fresh air and get your heart rate up. If you do not have great knees or you don’t enjoy running I am not suggesting you put yourself through that. Simply lace up your trainers and go for a good walk (such an overlooked way to maintain good health) or maybe dust of your bike. And do it with a bit of umph though so that when you get home you feel like you have done something.
- Stretch. Think of how you sit at your desk, even with the best seat in the world your hips are closed and your shoulders are slightly forward. Do as much as you can to reverse this, release all around your hips as well as into your quadriceps and hamstrings. Open your chest and shoulders – I can’t stress this enough to take the pressure of your neck and back.
- Strengthen your posterior chain. This sounds fancy but it is simply all the muscles that run along the back of your body. When we sit on our backsides all day, we tell our glute muscles that they don’t need to work – and they really do. They stabilise your pelvis, they help you walk / run.. oh I could go on. They’re important! The other muscles that make up a big part of your posterior chain are your back and shoulder muscles – again these don’t have to do much when you are sat leaning forward. Exercises I would recommend here are pulling, dead lifts, squats, lunges, shoulder press, single and double arm rows..
When we are out and about we might carry a water bottle or make sure we have a drink before we head out. I know I certainly make more of a conscious effort to hydrate when I am ‘on the go’.
What ever works for you here – keep a big bottle on your desk or maybe fill a glass every time you make a tea or coffee. Another note here, don’t wait until meals and then glug down a huge glass of water. When we get hungry our bodies start to produce enzymes to breakdown the food they know is on its way. If you then glug a big glass of water just before you take your first bite you wash some of those enzymes away. If you are someone who struggles with their digestion try this and see if it works for you.
Water is essential for every cell in your body, every organ and every system. DRINK.
5) Be sure to TURN OFF
Working from home it can be easy to be on all the time. Do try your best to close down your laptop and avoid emails / work at least in the last hour or two before bed. It will help reduce stress (even if you don’t think your work is that stressful) and help you sleep better. A good nights sleep improves every area of your health and this is such a simple way to assist that.
Time away from the screen will also help you with number 2. Working from home means we have lost our walk to the tube, our walk for a coffee between meetings, our walk to pick up lunch. We need to pull back some of that movement / some of those steps! Even just a 20 minute stroll around the block at lunch each day would make all of the difference.
There we have it – my 5 foundations for maintaining or improving your health whilst working from home.
If you have any questions, you know where I am.
We have a free class next Saturday (27th March) so if you are in need of a stretch and some exercise guidance come and give it a go. Drop me an email if you are interested: email@example.com.