Author: Siri Anderson, Personal Trainer and Women’s Health Specialist
Pivoting exercise with spending more time in the office
There is no doubt exercising outside has a host of benefits, both physically and mentally, from mental clarity, a vitamin-D boost, a sense of achievement and improvements in cardiovascular ability. But here’s the catch; some of us are now spending an increasing number of days in the office, following the pandemic, which means back to the grind and back to the commute. Add a school run or a weekly shop into the equation and exercise gets pushed down the priority list. So how do you make sure you get your exercise done, with yet another change in your day-to-day schedule?
Plan your week
A successful exercise routine starts with planning. It is as simple as adding your workouts to your diary and blocking your work calendar. More and more companies value self-care more than in a pre-pandemic world, which means that you should absolutely feel empowered to block out some time to exercise. I’m sure you’ll make that time back – and then some – to your employer if you are open about why and when your calendar is blocked. Thankfully, flexible working is here to stay for many of us, so chances are you have some days at home. Those days are realistic time slots for doing exercise. That hour you spend on the train to the office? Block that time out for exercise on WFH-days, rather than hitting snooze. Those dumbbells you finally got hold of in early lockdown? They still hold their value, so hit up a home workout plan that provides 15–30-minute workouts to maximise your screen time with folks at work.
Change up your exercise
Did you build up your stamina and your Strava following in lockdown? Good for you! If now isn’t the time to spend hours on long-distance bike rides or runs, hit the nearest local park with hills and do intervals instead. You’ll be done and dusted in less time, and you’ll shave some time off your next 10K. Find a wall or a bench and add in some bodyweight strength exercises and plyometrics. Explosive movements, such as jumps, power push-ups and skipping are next-level cardio and also provide you with strength gains that benefit your running or cycling performance.
Turn your commute into a workout
Changing your commute from going to the spare room to going to an actual office, is a bit of a time-stealer, though that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into a positive! If you are lucky enough to live in cycling distance to work, get on your bike! A classic, yet not broken, piece of advice is to get off the train or bus before your stop. This is an easy means of clocking up some steps. The benefit of being transported from A to B is, of course, that you can use this time to catch up on a podcast or an audio book to give your brain a break or perhaps close your eyes and do a mindfulness practice.
A huge benefit of being back in the office is the social aspect of meeting peers. We have all missed those social connections! This is a good opportunity to change the regular Friday meets at the pub with going to a class with friends after work. Those walking meetings you had on the phone in lockdown? Bring these to the office! Encourage your colleagues to do walk & talks and you’ll find that you come back to the office with a heightened sense of creativity and enthusiasm. Why? Because fresh air, taking in your surroundings and getting your heart rate up are all essential factors in giving your mood a positivity boost.