How to Add Physical Activity to Your Workday at Home

Daily routines have changed for many Canadians in 2020 – and will most likely remain unusual for a little while longer. Something that has changed for most people is their daily amount of physical activity. Between working from home, and gyms intermittently closing, many people may find themselves sitting more and moving less. There are numerous positive impacts of regular physical activity such as feeling more energetic, lower stress levels, improvement in posture, maintenance of a healthy weight and better sleep.  

 

If you find yourself lacking movement in your day-to-day, here are five things you can incorporate in your daily routine: 

1. Revamp your morning routine

In many ways, working from home has disrupted the usual morning routine. Maybe you used to wake up at 7 o’clock, shower, eat breakfast and drive to work for 8:30. Now, however, work is a 10 seconds walk away from your bed, so maybe you can wake up at 8:15, prepare something to eat and start your workday with your breakfast nearby. While the extra hour of sleep is nice, it might make you feel like you live at work rather than work from home. An easy way to introduce exercise into your day would be to revert to your old wake up time, and use the extra time you’re not spending in the car to go for a short walk. In 30 minutes, you can walk 2.5 to 3 kms at a brisk pace. A walk can be an invigorating way to start the day that won’t make you feel cooped up indoors.  

2. Make good use of your lunch break

Many people are finding themselves either skipping lunch or eating lunch at their make-shift desks and prolonging the workday. Take this important break that you would have otherwise taken in the pre-COVID days. Walk, jog or cycle during your lunch hour. You don’t need a gym for body weight exercises or a yoga routine. Try these workout routines that can be done anywhere. And good news – you don’t have to worry about getting too sweaty! Your shower is right there – or skip it altogether if you don’t have to be perfectly coiffed for a Zoom meeting in the afternoon. You can also walk to a nearby take out restaurant and grab something tasty for lunch. 

3. Schedule reminders to move

Most calendar apps have built-in scheduled reminders – make good use of them! Think back to the pre-COVID days… did you sit at your desk all day? Or did you visit colleagues in their workspaces, walk to the water cooler, or go out for lunch?  Schedule at least three ten-minute breaks in your day, and do something active like a quick workout, a short walk or even housework like vacuuming to music. It is important to break the monotony of the workday and more importantly do something other than sit.   

3. Build yourself a standing workplace

If you work from home, you can build yourself a stand-up workstation by placing your computer monitor on a bunch of books on top of your desk, a small side table on top of your regular table,  and your keyboard on another level. A laptop can be placed on a raised breakfast bar, filing cabinet or bookshelf so you can stand upright, place your hands out in front of you and use the keyboard comfortably. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it only has to be ergonomic. If you have the benefit of extra space in your home, placing a stand up desk in a different room than your usual desk can offer variety, sunlight at different times of the day, and a break in routine. 

4. Keep hand weights nearby

There’s so much you can do with just a single set of dumbbells. They’re relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and small enough to keep at your desk. And while there are plenty of effective bodyweight exercises out there, adding a few pounds to your strength training workout is a simple way to increase the intensity. And that’s exactly where this dumbbell arm workout comes in. Is there downtime during your day where you stare at a loading screen, or wait for people to join a virtual meeting, or wait on hold on the phone? Pick up your dumbbells and get those arms moving! Here are some simple workouts you can do at your desk.  

5. End your day at the same time every day. 

Work days can feel endless if you don’t decide on an end time. Again, think back on the pre-COVID days: did you leave the office roughly at the same time each day? Most likely, yes.  A good way to create a break between the work life and the home life is to signal the end of the workday with something active that can be done daily. Maybe a spouse, a friend, or a neighbour  can hold you accountable and you can schedule a virtual workout, or a walk together at 5 pm sharp. This way, you are sure to leave your desk, and leave the workday behind.   

 

If you find your routine lacking in activity, start small. Picking even just one of the above ways to move more is a good start to remain active despite working from home. Maintaining good muscle and joint health can be challenging at the best of times and aches have a way of catching up to us if we’re not careful. 

Make sure to also continue with your usual care routine be it regular chiropractic visits, massage therapy or physiotherapy appointments. If you haven’t been in in awhile, give us a call and get back in the grove!