5 Ways to Improve Your Health Whilst Working from Home
- 28 April 2021 28 April 2021
Whilst the world is getting ready to open up socially, there are definitely going to be some of you working from home for a good while yet or adopting a hybrid of working some days in the office and others at home. It’s important that we all maintain good health whilst doing so and there are no quick fixes – just healthy habits that provide the foundations for good movement, good sleep, and good mental wellbeing! With this in mind, here are 5 ways to improve your overall health whilst working from home.
1. When it comes to exercise you have to start with a schedule & make yourself accountable
Each Sunday look at your diary for the week, and schedule where you are fitting in your exercise. Be that a walk, a yoga class or a run. Especially if you have a job that ties you to calls and meetings, I really do encourage you to put these in your diary with the same commitment you do your work appointments. In doing so not only do you make yourself accountable, but you are also telling yourself that you and your health are a priority. If it isn’t enough accountability to simply schedule in your exercise then book onto a class, plan a walk with a friend. Bring someone else on board to help you out!
2. How is your desk set up?
Most of us have this sorted in the office but we have come home and made do… if you are still sat at a table which has you hunched over then you need to fix that. You can buy laptop stands on Amazon for about £10, I’ve purchased one because I noticed how much I look down when I am working (and I spend maybe an hour or two on my laptop each day which I am sure most of you trump). You want to look directly ahead at the screen, not down.
Also have a think about your chair / seat. Make sure you are not sinking into it and ‘creasing in your hips’ instead have your feet flat to the floor and ideally your knees at a right angle or a little larger – you want the thighs slope down to the knees rather than up. This will enable you to practice good posture and prevent lower back pain.
3. Using movement to undo the damage caused by number 2!
If you play a competitive sport or you are training for a particular race or event you most likely already have a routine in place. It never hurts to reacquaint yourself with the basics though and these tips are for anyone looking to introduce more exercise into their work from home routine:
- Get outside, get fresh air, and get your heart rate up. If you do not have great knees or you don’t enjoy running, I am not suggesting you put yourself through that. Simply lace up your trainers and go for a good walk (such an overlooked way to maintain good health) or maybe dust off your bike. And do it with a bit of umph though so that when you get home you feel like you have achieved something.
- Another tip to get those steps in is to walk whilst you’re on your calls – whether it’s around the house or you head out the door each time your phone rings. You’ll soon tot up those steps that we’ve lost out on from not commuting!
- Think of how you sit at your desk, even with the best seat in the world your hips are closed, and your shoulders are slightly forward. Do as much as you can to reverse this, release all around your hips as well as into your quadriceps and hamstrings. Open your chest and shoulders – I can’t stress this enough to take the pressure of your neck and back.
- Strengthen your posterior chain. This sounds fancy but it is simply all the muscles that run along the back of your body. When we sit on our backsides all day, we tell our glute muscles that they don’t need to work – and they really do. They stabilise your pelvis, they help you walk / run... oh I could go on. They’re important! The other muscles that make up a big part of your posterior chain are your back and shoulder muscles – again these don’t have to do much when you are sat leaning forward. Exercises I would recommend here are pulling, dead lifts, squats, lunges, shoulder press, single and double arm rows.
When we are out and about, we might carry a water bottle or make sure we have a drink before we head out. I know I certainly make more of a conscious effort to hydrate when I am ‘on the go’. Whatever works for you here – keep a big bottle on your desk or maybe fill a glass every time you make a tea or coffee. Another note here, don’t wait until meals and then glug down a huge glass of water. When we get hungry our bodies start to produce enzymes to breakdown the food they know is on its way. If you then glug a big glass of water just before you take your first bite you wash some of those enzymes away. If you are someone who struggles with their digestion try this and see if it works for you. Water is essential for every cell in your body, every organ, and every system. Drink!
5. Be sure to turn off
Working from home it can be easy to be on all the time. Do try your best to close down your laptop and avoid emails / work at least in the last hour or two before bed. It will help reduce stress (even if you don’t think your work is that stressful) and help you sleep better. A good night’s sleep improves every area of your health and this is such a simple way to assist that.
Time away from the screen will also help you with addressing posture and increasing movement. Working from home means we have lost our walk to the tube, our walk for a coffee between meetings, our walk to pick up lunch. We need to pull back some of that movement / some of those steps! Even just a 20 minute stroll around the block at lunch each day would make all of the difference!
There we have it – my 5 foundations for maintaining or improving your health whilst working from home – I’d love to know yours and if you have any questions do drop me an email or reach out on Instagram, I’m always here to help!
Jessica Lambert is a health-conscious passionate Osteopath (M.Ost), Yoga & Pilates Teacher who loves bringing together all kinds of exercise and habits to enhance the wellbeing of others.
She runs a virtual Yoga & Pilates studio 'The JL Collective' and hosts global retreats.