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5 Ways To Stay Active When Working From Home

Before I was a personal trainer, when I worked in an ‘office’ job and working from home was introduced as a result of the pandemic, I thought it was great. No commute meant I had more time for myself around my working day, working hours became more flexible and when I finished at the end of the day, I found some novelty in the fact that I was already at home! However, I quickly found myself filling more of the time I initially thought I had to spare, with work. Most days, before I knew it, I would spend hours sitting at my desk (or, more specifically, dining room table) without moving. I considered myself to be a relatively active person, but with my laptop accessible to me at all times, any good intentions I had of doing some exercise would often be replaced with another ‘quick’ phone call or meeting.


Most people know the negative effect of being inactive on our physical health According to NHS England, studies have linked leading a sedentary lifestyle with a higher rise of being overweight and obese, getting type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and even early death. However, for me, the biggest impact was on my mental health. I feel somewhat ashamed to admit this, but there were days when I didn’t get out of the house at all, the only time I had to spare would be to make a quick sandwich to eat at my desk; this made me feel miserable. I often felt lethargic, but also guilty for not getting out for some fresh air or doing some sort of exercise. A year in to working from home, I still hadn’t found a rhythm that worked for me, I was suffering from low mood and a significant lack of motivation. I knew something had to change, so I wrote myself a list of things that I knew could help me be more active and feel better, both physically and mentally.


I wanted to share this list to help anyone who may still be struggling to find that a routine that works when working from home. Even if you’re back in the office, you can take any of these tips to help build good habits:


1. Develop a daily routine.

Creating a routine can be very powerful in helping you develop good habits and keep you on track. When you plan your work for the day also plan when you’re going to get your workout done, go for a walk or simply stand up for 10 minutes (at least)!


2. Block out time for breaks in your calendar.

When you’re in the office, people can see when you’ve popped away from your desk to make a coffee or chat to a colleague. Virtually, this is a little more difficult. So, add this time to your calendar and stop that person from putting in another meeting that could have been an email.


3. Don’t eat at your desk.

Lunchtime is the perfect opportunity to take a break, so don’t spend it at your desk. Get up, move around and prepare yourself something delicious and nutritious to power you through the rest of your day. No matter how pressing something appears to be, it can wait until after you’ve eaten something.


4. Don’t move from a big screen, to a small screen.

Like a lot of people, I spent a lot of time on my phone. I would often find that once my working day had finished and I turned off my laptop screen, I moved to my phone screen, scrolling for hours through nothing in particular. I would lose a lot of time that could have been spent being active, it would affect the quality of my sleep and I would compare myself to other people who were seemingly spending their time more wisely than me!


5. Remember - you deserve to feel good.

This one was the biggest for me, bad habits and my lack of motivation stopped me from doing the things that I knew made me feel good. Sometimes the last thing I thought I wanted to do was exercise after a long day at work, but if I forced myself, I immediately felt better. It didn’t need to be much, a short walk or bit of yoga made a huge difference to my whole day. The world can feel like a tough place to live in sometimes, so do what you can do make yourself happy, you deserve it.


Bonus tip - get some support.

I know I said 5 ways to stay active, but I wanted to highlight this too, having someone to support you you’re trying to create new positive habits you can be invaluable. Whether it’s a friend, a partner, a colleague or a personal trainer, having someone who can give you motivation and positive encouragement will mean you have a much better chance of making your new routine stick.


I hope you find these tips helpful. If you’ve got any questions, need someone to talk to, or want someone to help motivate you, you can contact me at hello@aliceraynerpt.co.uk. If you’re really struggling, visit the Mental Health Foundation website to see how you can some get help, or speak to your GP.


Have a great day. Now go for a walk!


references: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/why-sitting-too-much-is-bad-for-us/#:~:text=Studies%20have%20linked%20being%20inactive,and%20break%20down%20body%20fat.


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