Make it work!

Jemma Thomas offers some tips on how to maintain a healthy weight and a regular exercise programme whilst working from home

Working from home sure has its benefits – the short commute, lots more time with your loved ones, longer lie-ins and saving money on transport. But it can have a negative effect on your fitness levels if you’re tempted to stay in all day, raid the kitchen cupboard every hour and spend your lunch breaks lazing on the sofa watching Netflix. But, don’t worry. There are a number of simple, and fun ways you can maintain a healthy body weight and a regular exercise programme while you’re working from home.

Find a routine that suits you

You know your body best and when you’re feeling most energised to work or exercise. Some early birds will wake up at 6.30am and do a half-hour workout each day three times a week. However, if you’re not an early bird, try doing it at lunch or in the evening, particularly if you have kids running around who won’t let you exercise in peace. The important thing is to get into a routine that works for you and stick to it – at least three times a week for half an hour.

Don’t see exercise as a chore

Sadly, so many of us see exercise as a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, make it a time for you to focus on yourself and your body. Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t compare yourself to others. Just go as hard as you like so that you’re having fun while exercising, rather than simply pushing yourself to make the next milestone or lose weight.

Motivate those around you

Many of us will be working from home with friends or loved ones and it’s important to motivate them – or let yourself be motivated by them! You’re much more likely to exercise with another person who is making you accountable, so schedule it together. Cook dinners that are healthy for you both and treat yourselves in moderation. If you’re living on your own, join clubs so that you have a support network spurring you on. For example, logging in to online workouts at the same time as dozens of others will give you a sense of community and confidence.

Mix it up

Another problem with exercise I hear is that people find it boring. So, mix it up. Maybe do a couple of online workouts at home each week such as yoga or aerobics, interspersed with LISS (low-intensity steady-state exercise) like runs or lengthy walks outside – plus another hobby that gets the blood pumping.

Create a separate office space if you can

Create a desk space that works for you, ideally with some natural light nearby. Choose a chair that feels comfortable and doesn’t give you back ache if you sit in it too long and make excuses to get up and walk around your home every now and then, just to keep the blood flowing. Remember, if you were in the office you would be up and down to speak to colleagues or go to meetings every hour so make sure you’re getting your step count up, even if it’s just a little bit.

Keep positive

Make sure you check in with others so that you’re not isolating yourself. Support one another and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t managed to exercise as much as you wanted or had another cheat day. Feeling mentally well is the most important thing and while exercise and eating well can contribute to that, the priority is knowing your body and looking after yourself, especially in these strange and uncertain times.

Jemma Thomas is a PT and founder of Jemma’s Health Hub, an online community providing regular workouts four times a week. For more information, visit www.jemmashealthhub.com

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