Todays guest blog post is from lifestyle and wellness blogger Aislinn Short. Aislinn blogs about everything from travelling to kids mental health, and from baking to fashion. She is a wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects and it’s a delight to have her here!
Today’s blog is quite topical. Many of us have got quite used to working from home, and things are likely to start changing soon. We’ll all be getting used to new routines in a slightly different world. So here are some great tips for staying active at work – many of which you can put into place before you are even back in the office!
Hope it helps – and let us know your tips in the comments!
How to Stay Active While at Work
Hello everyone! I hope you all are safe and well during quarantine and that this will end soon so we can get back to normalcy! Some of you reading this may be front line workers and are wondering, “Quarantine? Wonder what that feels like” First off, before I begin, for those of you who are front line workers (medical, food industry, janitorial, etc.), I would just like to give you all of my gratitude and thanks for what you all are doing right now. You are our country’s heartbeat and I want you to know you are noticed, recognized, and appreciated 😊. Today I want to talk about work and routine. Most of us, when we have to inevitably get back to reality and go back to work, will have to develop a new routine: get up earlier, eat at a different hour, exercise early in the morning or late at night, and go to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour. For the first couple of days it does get tricky and one important thing falls through the cracks…. you guessed it: exercise and physical activity. Wait, aren’t those two essentially the same thing? Well, yes and no. Exercise can relate to either expending exuberant amounts of energy or doing something low maintenance, whereas physical activity implies that you are up and moving around without always breaking a sweat. Today, I want to give you my biggest tips on how to stay active while at work.
Tip #1: Stretch breaks
For most American workers, we spend a lot of time sitting down as we work. In fact, we spend more of our time sitting down than we do moving around in general. It is important to get the blood flowing for it helps oxygenate the blood keeping your heart healthy. One way you can do this is to take a quick five minute break, it can even be during your bathroom break (they’re not going to know what you’re doing in there so why not?) and do a couple of stretch exercises. A stretch I like is a forward fold for it really wakens up the backs of your legs and your back when you slowly roll up (which is super ideal for people who primarily sit at their job). I highly recommend to not touch the floor as you might in yoga, but maybe just hover above your toes. Another stretch you could do is a good morning stretch where you take your arms as high as you can and bend from side to side at the waist. If you are feeling super ambitious, every time you go to the bathroom do 10 squats and work that booty! Any stretch you can do is a good stretch, just as long as you don’t over-exert yourself and cause injury 😊.
Tip #2: Take the stairs
This is a biggie, especially for you sitters at work, you need to get in some steps in your day and what great way to do it at work than to take the stairs as opposed to the elevator! Another great thing about stairs is they are elevated, so you are engaging your quadriceps and your calf muscles to push yourself up. Getting steps in and working on some muscle, double whammy!
Tip #3: Bike to work
So obviously if you live in a non-pedestrian family neighborhood, have no sidewalks or trails to go on, or live too far away from work this option may not be best. However, if you live close enough and it’s a safe route, I highly recommend biking! It is a great cardio workout and will help keep the environment greener with less gas emissions in the air! Another double whammy!
Tip #4: Walk or go to the gym during your lunch break
For those of us who are allotted a 30 minute or hour lunch break, this would be a great time to get in some exercise or physical activity! A lot of businesses are in a business park and what’s the beauty of a business park: gyms and walking trails. If you have a gym right across the street from your place of employment, your lunch hour would be a great time to head on over and get a couple of miles on the treadmill/bike or lift some weights. Or if you would prefer to go on a walk, head out on the sidewalk and just let your legs take you away for a while and enjoy the fresh air. Once you’re finished with your break, for lunch you could bring in a protein smoothie or shake (especially for those of you who would lift weights for it’s essential to rebuild that worked muscle with protein) and drink it at your desk.
Tip #5: Swap your seat
This one you may need to talk to your boss about, however the types of chairs we sit in and our posture while we sit are horrible for you back and do nothing for your core. Medicine balls, or exercise balls, are great alternatives for chairs for they really make you work to sit up straight and tall and do WONDERS for your core! Another option if you cannot use an exercise ball is to order a lumbar pillow for your lower back which will help you sit up straight.
Tip #6: Desk equipment
If you do not live nearby a gym or there are no proper sidewalks or walking trails nearby, you can order work out equipment meant for underneath your desk. Years ago, I worked in a medical call center and was only allotted 30 minutes for lunch so no great time to get in some physical activity. To make up for that I ordered a mini cycle bike and it really helped with my anxiety of not getting in enough physical activity! Plus, whenever I got frustrated, I would just pedal my feet as fast as I could, and I would feel loads better. Other options you could use are some light dumb bells, if you work at a desk you can get in a couple of reps when things get quiet or do some sets during your lunch break. Another option is you can talk to your boss about getting a standing desk, that way you’re not sitting all day which is horrible for your back.
Tip #7: Morning and evening workout
Okay so this is not really a tip for work environment however it is essential that you try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. I just started going back to work this week and getting back into my old routine has been hard, however I’ve made it a priority that I get in some exercise for I sit down all day. I wake up at 5 a.m. (yes, you’ve read it *internal sigh*) and start my day off on a positive note with some yoga. Yoga really helps me stretch out and prepare for the day ahead as well as clear my head and mind of all negative thoughts, especially doing the workouts: Yoga with Adriene. When I get home after work, before I sit down and relax, I change into my workout clothes from this morning (I do not sweat when I do yoga) and do a quick 30-40 minute workout. Pop Sugar Fitness workouts are my absolute favorite, they have several different trainers with a variety of different workouts such as pilates, barre, and kickboxing.
I hope these tips were helpful, some of them you may be doing these currently and some of these you may have never thought of. I have tried the majority of these tips (except biking to work which I hope I can some day!) and I can say that they really do boost your mood and energy throughout the day! Stay safe and healthy all you beautiful people!
Thanks to Aislinn for some great tips – I hope you found the article useful!
Please check out Aislinn’s blog, it’s really excellent, and connect with her on social media.
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