How Physically Active Are You?

In 2021, a study of 70 000 participants highlighted that 40% reported doing less exercise in later lockdowns, with 30% stating less engagement in hobbies such as gardening and DIY.

This combined with many of us working from home (WFH) some or all of the time, has culminated in a drastic reduction in our activity levels. To counter this, research has shown that a mixture of low and high intensity exercise as well as regular movement throughout the day can contribute to a plethora of health benefits. These include weight management, lowering blood pressure, stress reduction, lower cholesterol, boosting our immune system, improving brain function and reducing our risk of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

So how can we make sure that we are being active in different ways every day, especially when our new way of life sees us being less mobile (no commute or going out daily to buy lunch or even walking to the meeting room)?

  • Take the stairs!  Stairs use up to 9x’s more energy than sitting and improves your fitness and muscle strength in your legs. Add it to your timetabled “commute” time.
  • Stand Up! There are many benefits to standing periodically throughout the day helping to reduce back pain, improve digestion and burning more calories. Aim for a 2:1 ratio of sit to stand time starting with blocks of 20 minutes standing time. Standing includes taking phone/video calls, working at a counter or ironing board.  A wireless headset would help you move more freely.
  • Use technology to help! Set your smart watch or recurring alarms on your phone/ work calendar reminding you to move. Track your step count and set yourself a daily target.
  • Be disciplined! WFH can blur the lines of work and free time. To counter this set time for a lunch break away from screens and, whatever the weather, get outside and go for a brisk walk. Maybe try one of the many online classes available free on platforms such as YouTube. Try new activities: yoga, dance, HIIT, stretching.

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