Don’t let working from home compromise your health and wellbeing
By Amanda Olsen, Physiotherapist at Docklands Health
We are certainly undergoing unusual times that will forever mark the year 2020.
While a pandemic wasn’t what we thought the year would hold, all anyone can do is educate themselves on how the virus is spread, listen to the Department of Health and its great advice for preventing widespread infection, and most importantly, look after yourself as an individual.
As a physiotherapist, all I ask of you, is to move your body. Many people have been affected by the virus indirectly, by either becoming unemployed, or changing to enforced work from home strategies. Such a change in environment can lead to an increased sedentary lifestyle. Your body may start to feel the effects of not having those 20-minute walking commutes to the train station or tram you’d complete twice per day, or the several kilometre cycle as your method of travel to work. These small bouts of movement, taken for granted before, are now showing us (hopefully) how important it is to keep moving.
If you’re a regular gym-goer, I understand the frustration of not having that physical outlet to go to. However, while self-isolation and stay at home protocols are in place, I implore you to keep your momentum going. There is no excuse to not exercise!
The following are examples of how you can incorporate general movement/exercise into your new routine. Nothing mentioned below is original or unique, but I find that constant reminders and encouragement can help with keeping the idea fresh in one’s mind!
The easiest one that comes to mind is yoga and mat pilates. All you need is a yoga mat and some blocks which can be purchased online for a very reasonable price. Here at Docklands Health, we are running virtual yoga and pilates classes, so you never have to miss a class with your favourite instructor.
HIIT workouts. Enjoy the fast-paced blood pumping type of workout? Then HIIT is perfect for you. It stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is an excellent way to get physically in shape while only spending 20-30 minutes on your workout. HIIT workouts are great because often they involve purely bodyweight exercises (no equipment needed) though you can spice things up using a resistance band or light dumbbells. YouTube is a great outlet for such routines.
Every hour, get off the couch or remove yourself from your homework desk, and complete 10-20 repetitions of any exercise. Literally anything: jumping jacks, squats, squat jumps, push-ups, core exercises, wall sits, running in place, the list goes on! There is no limit to what exercise you do, just repeat it throughout the day at small increments.
Go for walks. Thankfully, we are not banned from being outside. Obviously if you are uncomfortable being outside, that is your choice, there are plenty of indoor activities to do. But if you’re okay with being outside, I encourage you to do so for a change of scenery, natural vitamin D and fresh air. This will certainly help your mental health, and get you moving. Walking should not be underestimated as a movement tool. If you have a dog that needs to be walked, even better. Just remember those social distancing rules!
It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure of what is going to happen in the future during these bizarre times. Therefore, rather than allowing yourself to get sucked into a spiral of poor mental health and physical deconditioning, do yourself a massive favour and get up and move! It will help with creating and maintaining a routine that’s been lost, and it will keep you strong and fit for when restrictions are lifted and you return to your normal exercise routine, thus preventing injury. Thank you to everyone who has been adhering to the social distancing regulations, we will all get through this, and hopefully fitter than ever! •