Staying active at home
We all know that exercise is good for us. Aside from the obvious health benefits of exercise to manage your weight or keep fit, it’s also proven to help boost your immune system and your mental health.1 So, if it’s not already part of your daily to-do list, now is the time to add it firmly to the top.
But before we get into the “how?” let’s briefly focus on the “why?”. What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking to keep fit generally, maintain or lose weight or boost your mood? Maintaining cardiovascular activity is quite straightforward. You just need to move your body in a way that elevates your heartbeat and you can do this by walking, jogging, riding a bike or even just walking up and down the stairs.
Does working out at home work?
If you’re looking for a more formal regime to walking, jogging or cycling, you may ask yourself if working out at home can be as effective as a gym. For some, the idea of going to a gym can be daunting so working out at home is ideal. But for others, the idea of relying solely on self-motivation is equally as daunting. Either way, when there is no alternative, you’ll be pleased to know working out at home can be just as effective. And it’s a whole lot cheaper.
Home gym workout with or without equipment
You may be lucky enough to already have a gym at home or you may be looking to create one using bought equipment. If the latter is the case, shop around. It’s easy to get carried away but only buy what you know you’ll realistically use.
For some of us, the outlay involved in getting professional equipment isn’t an option. This is where you can get creative – improvising is key. For example:
- Fill water bottles to use as weights or you could use bags of potatoes or heavy boxes of laundry detergent.
- A heavy chair is great for squats (as long as it’s positioned safely and won’t slip!).
- You could use stairs for step-ups.
- A couple of towels provide a great makeshift exercise mat.
Make sure you have sufficient space around you and it goes without saying that any improvised equipment should be sturdy and safe.
The internet has hundreds of ideas and exercise programs for you to follow at home but do make sure you are taking the advice of a professional. Remember warming up and cooling down before and after exercising is as important at home as it is in the gym. For example, it might not be a good idea to just throw yourself into a super-advanced aerobics class during your lunch break!
Preventing injury is equally as important. For example, choose a workout to suit you and learn the techniques before you start.
Virtual Exercise classes at home
Whether it’s African Dance, Bodyattack™, Clubbercise® Zumba or good old-fashioned Yoga, you’ll find a class for you online somewhere. Some of us find it easier to get motivated when we’re following a virtual class, especially ones that push you past the point when you’d ordinarily give up on your own! The one benefit (of many) is that no one can see you so it really doesn’t matter if you aren’t as graceful as you wish.
Why not use the opportunity to involve your family. Exercising with your kids and/or partner can be great fun and probably will add that bit of competitiveness which is always good for us! If you live alone, you could arrange your own personal virtual group exercise class. Get your friends to join you via a video call. You could follow an app or online class and workout together.
Other ways to stay active
Remember, there are many different ways to stay active aside from gym or class-based activities. Walking, jogging and cycling are all excellent ways to exercise. But these aren’t the only ways you could incorporate aerobic activity into your days – housework is another! After all, spring-cleaning or vacuuming are excellent ways to get your heart rate up and burn those calories.
And exercise doesn’t have to be aerobic. Why not try incorporating ecotherapy (nature therapy) or floral therapy (flower mindfulness) into your daily walk to reduce stress and manage your mental health. Both therapies are renowned for their benefits to our holistic wellbeing – something we all need to make time for.
Staying focused while working from home
If you are working from home, for whatever reason, one of the major problems is that your home becomes your workplace and, therefore, by definition, it can be difficult to switch off. We’re all guilty of quickly checking our emails before dinner or even bed which can interfere with our relaxation and sleep.
A good idea is to create a structure to your day in the same way you would if you were working in a different environment. It’s easier said than done but try to stick to it and, wherever possible, try to keep your evenings free for relaxation. It’s particularly important to make sure we take regular breaks. Get up and stretch your legs at least every hour if you can and neck and shoulder exercises are particularly useful if you are using an improvised work station. Decision fatigue is a recognized phenomenon and one easily dealt with by taking small breaks.
So, stop procrastinating, stay focused and stay energized. You’ll be amazed how different you feel.