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Top fitness tips for home workers

More of us are working from home, and while it has many benefits it can be hard to keep motivated to keep our fitness levels up. Rude Health magazine asked experts from the exercise world for top tips and simple, fun ways to keep fit at home.

Personal trainer Jemma Thomas is the founder of Jemma’s Health Hub

Motivate those around you

Many of us will be working from home with friends or loved ones and it’s important to motivate them – or let yourself be motivated by them! You’re much more likely to exercise with another person who is making you accountable, so schedule it together.

If you’re living on your own, join clubs so that you have a support network spurring you on. For example, logging in to online workouts at the same time as dozens of others will give you a sense of community and confidence.

Mix it up

Another problem with exercise I hear is that people find it boring. So, mix it up. Maybe do a couple of online workouts at home each week such as yoga or aerobics, interspersed with LISS (low-intensity steady-state exercise) like runs or lengthy walks outside. Make sure you’ve got your favourite playlist or podcast to keep you company and encourage you along the way.

My top home exercises

Squats are so simple and can be done absolutely anywhere! All you need to do is stand with your legs apart and bend your legs, making sure your back is straight. The lower you go, the harder it’ll be, but the more impact you’ll have. Try to do a circuit of 30 second squats. Add a little extra pressure by carrying 2-4kg weights in your hands while you do it so that when you stand up you’re lifting the weights up high above your head. Not only will this impact your glutes but also a nice arm work-out while you’re at it!

Burpees are brilliant as they encompass a big workout for so much of your body! The fast movement of stretching your legs back behind you and back again as you jump up is so good for your glutes.

Weights If you’ve not got any weights, get into the kitchen and use some tin cans to help strengthen those arms. Try the bicep curl with a shoulder press. This is a static move where you keep your legs a little wider than hip width apart. Sit down into a squat and hold your weights or cans up in a bicep curl and twist at the top, raising the weights above your head so it becomes a shoulder press. This is a slow move where you’re sat into a squat which is great for your shoulders, biceps and bum.

Star jumps It’s a brilliant cardio move where you just do a simple star jump over and over holding your 2kg or 3kg weights. It’s exhausting but such good exercise for the whole body, particularly the arms.

Stairs and rooms If you have stairs run up and down them 20 times a day. You can also head to any room in the house and use a wall to do a wall squat or wall sit. These are good for your glutes, calves and quads and you do them by leaning against the wall and squatting so that your hips and knees are at a 90 degree angle for around 30 seconds at a time. Make sure your back is straight against the wall, your feet are shoulder width apart and your core is engaged.

www.jemmashealthhub.com is an online workout community providing regular workouts four times a week.

Gráinne O’Driscoll runs Grá For Fitness offering public, private and corporate Pilates, yoga and fitness classes

Exercise is vital for our physical and mental health. While we might be limited with restrictions, there are still options including online classes, walking, running and cycling. Getting outdoors for some fresh air and daylight is important, it might be just 20-30 minute walk a day but it makes a difference.

We can also incorporate movement into our working day, e.g. walking around while we’re on the phone, standing up and stretching every few hours or even doing a quick YouTube chair yoga class. Try standing for a zoom call instead of sitting, using a shelf or chest of drawers to place your laptop on.

Boundaries

Homeworking makes it more challenging to separate work life and home life, therefore it’s necessary to create boundaries; e.g. start and stop times including a break for lunch away from your computer, being mindful of eating when you’re hungry as opposed to just snacking because you’re working a few feet from the fridge and separating the actual space where we work.

A dedicated office room is obviously an advantage, but for many of us the kitchen table doubles up as our workspace. As we are creatures of habit we most often sit in the same place to eat every day. If possible sit at a different part of the kitchen table for work. When you’re taking a break for a meal, shut the laptop and move to your regular meal spot at the table.

www.graforfitness.ie

Marvin Burton is head of fitness at Anytime Fitness

Elevate your computer screen and go wireless

Small laptops and keyboards are not ideal for prolonged use. If you can, try and use a monitor which is at eye level and has screen protection such as a blue light filter (most new computers have this setting). Typing on a small keyboard also is not good for the arms and shoulders.

A wireless keyboard could help. It prevents you from extending your wrist back when typing and can be in a lower position to take pressure away from your neck. A wider, full-sized keyboard will also open your shoulders and prevent a ‘sag’ into a rounded-forward posture.

Don’t sit all day

A better option could be an inflatable gym ball or a posture chair. However, the optimal option would be to stand as this is much healthier for your spine and lower body. Start by trying a mixture of standing and sitting to build up your tolerance to this.

Get mobile

Regular stretching and mobility exercises will keep your joints supple and prevent sitting in the same position for long periods, while also helping you to keep alert. To begin with, set a timer for every 45 minutes and have a brief stretch. This could include a short walk, some shoulder rolls, torso turns, arm or ankle circles.

Look after your mental health

We often think of our physical aches and pains, but we should also remember we have mental aches and pains. Working from home can take its toll on your mental health. Your home is the place which you should enjoy, feel calm, safe, relaxed, stress-free and have good memories.

Leave the work area regularly to give yourself a change of scenery. Try not to eat at your work desk, do not be tempted to work for longer periods of time without regular breaks. You are more productive and less stressed if you take regular breaks.

Visit www.anytimefitness.co.uk to find your nearest club in the Republic of Ireland.

Alan Williams of Alan Williams Coaching

Eat consciously

The quality of our diet has an enormous impact on our mood, energy levels, body composition, and wellbeing. I’d recommend planning your week, make a shopping list, and do one big shop. If junk food is not in the house, you can’t eat it! Conscious eating is a great first step to keeping yourself healthy during these challenging times. An occasional treat is absolutely fine, we just want to reduce the mindless grazing. Be aware of your energy requirements. A large percentage of people are now working from home and that often means that they are less active.

If you find yourself less active, you may not require so many calories.

Adapt your training

You may not be able to do the type of training you love at the moment, but don’t let that derail you. In times of challenge, I always ask the question “what CAN I do?” rather than “what CAN’T I do?” Walking, cycling, running, HIIT workouts, yoga or pilates may all offer you an opportunity to try something different. I’ve adapted my own training from being heavily weights-based to a combination of HIIT workouts, walking and running. I’ve really enjoyed the element of variety, and my body has responded really well to a different stimulus.

Stay connected

Keep in touch with family and friends, it’s a critical step in protecting our mental health. Pick up the phone for a chat, use video conferencing that helps with this. Make time for things you enjoy too. Walking is one of my favourite ways of de-stressing. Reconnecting with nature is an amazing way to blow away the cobwebs.

Create a project

Boredom is one of the biggest challenges we have all faced. This is a great time to work on yourself. Why not make a start on that thing you’ve been putting off? You could work on your fitness, your wellbeing, a business idea, a DIY project, writing a book. You could even enrol on an online course. Having something to throw your energy into is a great way to keep you feel good.

Structure your day

It’s so easy to lose structure once our routine is out of sync. Make a concerted effort to keep a good sleeping routine, have structured meals and stick to work hours. Structure will help you to stay productive, and to keep things as normal as possible.

www.alanwilliamscoaching.com

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