Keeping active, staying fit and exercising without leaving the house. It wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the majority of workers in the UK, whether you work from home or are employed have some kind of job that involves sitting, mostly at desks. The majority of work/employment is sedentary, hey I bet you’re even sitting down now to read this. On average, desk workers are sitting for up to nine and a half hours each day, most of us then sit in front of the TV or on our phones every evening for another 5 hours! Oh, dear! This lifestyle is no good for our health fact.
Why you shouldn’t sit for long periods of time :
Sitting for long periods of time is rubbish for our health. Not only does it slow down our metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat, but this can lead to diabetes and obesity. Sitting for long periods also increases our risks of dementia (I bet you are all standing up now to read this!), backache and makes us anxious. There are tons of reasons we shouldn’t sit all day long but the fact is we get into a habit of doing so.
To reduce our risk of ill health from inactivity, the NHS advises we workout regularly, at least 150 minutes a week, and reduce the time we are sitting. As we get dare I say it *cough* older, we need to consider our mobility more, moving around and not sitting for long periods of time however working from home at a desk all day isn’t great for that.
Ways to exercise and keep active without leaving the house :
I talk about the benefits of walking a lot, from heart health to mental health but what if you have mobility issues or the weather is just too dire to get outside? It’s easy to give exercise a miss completely.
Bathing Solutions has this great blog post for staying fit at home, exercising and keeping active without leaving the house but it’s pretty relevant to everyone, elderly, freelancers, anyone working from home. I’ve chosen two really simple but effective exercises to highlight but there are more on their website including how to improve your balance.
This is a great exercise to raise your heart rate while strengthening your thighs, knees and glutes.
Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart.
Stand up slowly, making sure not to use your arms if you can to help.
Focus on looking forward and not down.
Once you have stood upright, sit down slowly, bottom-first.
To make this exercise more challenging you can hold a weight to your chest. If you don’t have a weight, a household item like a heavy book or pint of milk will work just as well.
This is a great way to strengthen your hips and thighs, improve your flexibility and get your heart rate up.
Sit up straight on a chair, making sure not to lean back. Hold on to the sides of the chair for support.
Now lift your left leg with your knee bent, as far as is comfortable, never pushing your body into discomfort.
Now lower your leg with control and repeat with the other leg.
Aim to do this routine 5 times, increasing the number of repetitions to make this exercise more challenging when you feel ready. If you want to make this exercise even more challenging, you can hold light weights of about 5 kg in each hand and march on the spot.
Increase the amount of time you spend standing :
I have a standing desk which helps me mix up long periods of sitting. Think about and make a list of activities you can easily do that avoid sitting down.
- Taking and making phone calls, stand up and walk around.
- Get up from your desk to eat your lunch.
- Take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break.
- At the end of each time block session get up! Simple as that – go make a drink, go upstairs.
- Investing in a pedometer which tracks your steps can be handy to remind you to move.
- Place your laptop on a box or similar to heighten your workspace and encourage you to stand.
- In the evenings use the TV advert breaks as a reminder to get up and move.
We get into bad habits when it comes to working from home the best way to combat this is to create new habits.
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