How many will you do?
As the nation prepares to self-isolate or work from home, this spike in home time could have a big impact on our health and fitness. When there is a global pandemic on the spread, keeping your body fit and healthy is even more important. Feel Good Contacts has teamed up with Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert Badrul Islam to help you to stay fit whilst you self-isolate or work from home.
Don’t lounge in your PJs
To help you to get into the mode of working from home, it is important to keep to your regular morning routine. You should get up, shower and have breakfast at your usual time. Don’t be tempted to lounge around all day in your PJs, save that for the weekend!
Stick to your working routine
Log on to your work systems at the same time that you would if you were in the office and keep to your work routine, this will mean that you won’t have to work out of hours. Don’t forget to take your morning and afternoon tea breaks as well as your lunch break.
Our working world is designed so that we are sitting for eight hours a day. This is the most passive thing you can do which means that you’re not metabolising sugars and fats. Research shows that long periods of sitting can have a detrimental impact on our health and wellbeing and cut years off our lives. The World Health Organisation listed inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor in global adult mortality.
But luckily there are some home office exercises and other initiatives you can take to combat fatigue and weight gain.
When at your desk (or dining table – if that’s where you are working), if it’s possible, stand up and do your work. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting and it’s good for your back and posture. If you can’t stand and work, then stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting. Use a towel or find a kitchen or garden broomstick to use for stretching. Holding the towel or broomstick with straight arms at either end, rotate back and forth over your head slowly. Doing this can help to open up your chest muscles and mobilise your back muscles. Stretching is vital for maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk or table for several hours a day. It will also help to reduce back and neck pain significantly. If you’re feeling particularly energetic then why not try some deskercise.
Set an alarm
Try and break up multiple chunks of sitting time (set an alarm if you feel you need it) with some movement by taking trips to the kitchen. The general rule is to take a walk at least every half an hour to get a glass of water.
Drink plenty of water
People get dehydrated when they sit, plus at this time of year, with the heating still on in our homes, you’ll need the extra h20. In terms of drinking, water is one of the easiest ways to manage body weight and reduce your food consumption. To ensure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of water, keep 2 bottles of water (1.5- 2 litres) handy. This will leave you with no excuse for not drinking enough. When full, your water bottles will also be a perfect substitute for dumbbells or weights! If you need to drink something warm, then try non-sugary herbal drinks, black coffee or broth.
What dead time?
When you’re stuck with some dead time, for example, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, don’t be embarrassed to do some light exercises like calf raises, squats or lunges.
Lunch break activity
During your longer lunch break, try to avoid sitting down on the sofa and switching the TV on. Instead, do some household chores to keep active. Put the music on and grab a can of baked beans for some bicep curls. If this weight is too light then move onto big bottles of water, a bag of rice or even paint tins or bricks from the garden shed. You can also use your bodyweight – try some tricep dips or standing push-ups on a sturdy sofa. To increase your heart rate, run up and down the stairs. Don’t forget a core work out, this can include planks, leg raises, and sit-ups. On your first session start with light weights and aim to do 3 sets of each exercise with 12 reps. As the sessions progress, gradually increase your reps. Remember not to hold your breath when you’re exercising and keep a bottle of water handy.
If you need some inspiration, then you’ll find some good trainers on Instagram. They will regularly post photos and videos of their workouts. You can also try YouTube where you will find thousands of free fitness videos to work out to. Whatever you feel like doing, from Pilates to body combat to a core workout, you’ll find it on the channel.
Watch your diet
Avoid snacking on crisps and biscuits during the day. Food preparation is a great way to control your consumption and saves you money. Chicken, turkey and egg-based lunches are packed with protein and will provide you with the essential building blocks for calorie-burning muscles. Fish like tuna and mackerel are cost-effective sources of protein that will also increase your energy and the omega-3 will help you to maintain a sharp mind and improve your eyesight. Remember to supplement your protein with vegetables: not only are vegetables much cheaper than meat, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and guilt-free calories and are perfect to chop up into snack-size pieces to keep you going throughout the day. Fruit, protein shakes, salads, and natural fiber bars are also great snacks.
Nimesh Shah Marketing Director at Feel Good Contacts commented: “Research shows that doing exercise can boost our mental and physical health, so it’s very important to keep up the exercise routine whilst you’re housebound.”
Badrul Islam commented: “A lot of people associate exercise with having to have access to expensive equipment. But there are so many ways you can work up a sweat at home without working up the credit card debt. Even the laziest of people can start to burn off the calories whilst working from home or self-isolating.”
Feel Good Contacts has collaborated with Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert Badrul Islam to bring you these simple but effective deskercise routines. Firstly, keep a glass of water handy. To get started, repeat each exercise 20 times. Follow this and in no time at all, you’ll be feeling fresh and energized.
Bottle dumbbell over-the-head press: Sitting on a chair, hold a bottle of water laterally in each hand, with your hands next to each ear. Press above the crown of your head, making sure your upper arm finishes by the side of your head.
Bottle dumbbell skull-crushers: Laying on the floor with knees up, holding a bottle of water in each hand, extend your arms over your chest, keeping your arms straight, tilt your arms 20 degrees so your hands are over your face. Bend your elbows so your hands come towards your shoulder but do not allow your shoulder to move. Then extend your arm back to the start position, maintaining no movement in the shoulder.
Bottle dumbbell curls: Holding a bottle in each hand, have each arm extended to the side of your torso. Keeping your elbows tucked into your ribs, flex elbows in until hands almost align with your shoulders. Then slowly extend.
Reverse flyes: Resting your forehead on the back of your chair with bent knees, maintaining a neutral spine so that your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Hang your arms below your chest with a slight bend in your elbow. Pull your arms and hands out laterally so they end up horizontal to the floor and lower them slowly back to the start position.
Standing calf raises: Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forwards, raise yourself up onto your toes, then lower yourself down. Repeat 20 times.
Push-ups on your desk: Placing your hands on the edge of your desk, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the desk, then push off your hands to raise yourself back up.
Tricep dips on your desk: Facing away from your desk, place your hands on the edge and bend your elbows to lower your body whilst simultaneously bending your knees. Then push yourself up again.
Knee tucks: Sit at the edge of your chair and hold onto the arm of the chair. Bring your knees and ankles together and raise your knees.
Squats: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and bring your hips back to lower yourself. Keep your chest up for maximum effectiveness and make sure you push through your heels to raise yourself back up.