With so many professionals working from home these days it’s more important than ever that you keep moving to improve your health and your waistline. Many people who were used to going into an office, some by walking or biking, are now walking straight from their bedroom to their home office just a few steps away cutting out many valuable steps they were once getting which is leading to weight gain.
Sitting all day is bad for your health
Remote workers have been scouring the internet looking for work from home tips to help them achieve a whole new level of work-life balance. It’s easy to get slammed with work and sit at your computer all day. Sitting down for too long is detrimental to your health and increases your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as having major negative effects on your mental health. Our bodies are built to stand upright because our bowels, heart, and cardiovascular system work more effectively in that position.
When you are physically active, on the other hand, your overall energy levels and endurance improve, and your bones maintain strength. As many of you know, obesity is on the rise and we need our health more than ever. Did you know that “Nearly 40% of all adults over the age of 20 in the U.S. – about 93.3 million people – are currently obese”?
Negative effects of staring at screens
Another factor that affects the health of almost everyone and has for quite a while now is staring at a computer screen all day. There is research coming out often about how the light from screens may be having negative effects on our brain and our bodies - especially our vision and sleep patterns. Staring at a screen all day can cause vision problems such as digital eye strain or some call it computer vision syndrome which can cause blurred vision, headaches, sore neck, back, and shoulders, light sensitivity, sore, tired, or burning eyes. Additionally, the blue light from screens especially when used late at night before bedtime can mess up your body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep and wake cycles and also inhibits the production of melatonin the hormone critical for sleep function. Between working 8-12 hour days, and also checking social media, email, and news from our phones, we are looking at screens a huge part of our day.
Between the inactivity of sitting all day and staring at screens, we create the perfect storm for poor physical and mental health.
Moving your body regularly for better health
Now that so many of us, especially here in silicon valley, are moving less and less we need to make sure we are still exercising regularly, but specifically walking in order to get our steps in each day.
You might find this challenging if your kids are now homeschooled so now is the time to ask for some help from your #quaranteam partner and get creative with your work-from-home schedule.
In general, you should aim for around 10,000 steps on most days. I recommend getting a smartwatch like a Fitbit or Apple Watch to keep track of your steps and also to help remind you to move your body. Smartwatches are great because you can link up with your friends and co-workers to turn it into a friendly challenge.
Here are some quick ideas on how to get in 10,000 steps throughout your day without going on a long walk:
Take 15-20 minute breaks from work to walk around your neighborhood.
Hop on your treadmill during a zoom call.
When you are stressed, get outside and go on a 10-minute walk around the block.
After a meal, go on a walk.
When your energy is low, go on a walk.
The answer to anything this week is....go for a 10-15 minute walk!
Exercise can strengthen your immune system leaving you less susceptible to get sick in general, plus it is a HUGE anxiety reliever! Which can benefit everyone during this time. This article from NPR has some great tips for keeping calm and staying well despite the panic that the media is spreading.
Walking helps to strengthen your immune system - A study showed that a group of 1,002 adults who walked each day during fall and winter at a moderate pace for 30-45 had 43% fewer upper respiratory tract infections. Those who did get sick during the study had fewer symptoms than the people who were sedentary.
Walking reduces stress, anxiety, and depression - Walking regularly can help ease depression and anxiety by releasing feel-good endorphins which are natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being and help break the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety.
As a bonus walking can help you to fight food cravings! When you’re active throughout the day, you are less likely to crave processed items such as ice cream or potato chips. If you are due for a workout, the idea of moving your body immediately after eating junk food won’t be appealing. As I mentioned exercise can elevate mood, improve focus and reduce anxiety – all of which can make you less prone to emotional eating.
Benefits of walking daily:
Improves your mood by making you feel happier
Strengthens your heart
Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
Strengthen your immune system
Lowers your blood sugar
Gives you energy
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Helps reduce lower back pain
Helps you lose weight or maintain your weight
Helps you to get better sleep
Boosts your self-confidence
Keeps your brain strong
Promotes good digestion
How to walk with proper form so you protect your back and spine:
Make sure to keep your back straight and stomach muscles tight. Don’t arch your back! Your head should be up and looking forward with your neck and shoulders relaxed. Let your arms swing naturally by your side with a slight elbow bend.
I know that at times walking can get boring especially if you walk the same route each day or if you are growing tired of walking your treadmill. So here are some tips to bust the boredom and get walking for better health!
6 tips for making lunchtime walks easier when working from home:
Listen to a few chapters of a book or a podcast - The key is to make your walk enjoyable. Listen to motivational audiobooks or podcasts while you walk to make time fly by. There are so many amazing coaches and motivational speakers to choose from, so find your own type of motivation. Some people like aggressive speakers; others prefer an intellectual approach. Whatever it takes, find the person who most speaks to you and let them inspire you to take it up a notch during your next workout. Additionally, you can choose a fictional audiobook to listen to if motivational speaking isn't getting you moving.
Switch up your lunchtime walk with a hike or trail walk - Take your walk outside of your neighborhood and into nature. Check out local natural trails or hiking trails near your local area. Better yet, go somewhere new each week! Studies have shown that walking in nature has been found to reduce ruminating over negative experiences, which increases activity in the brain associated with negative emotions and raises the risk of depression.
Link up with a friend for an outdoor walk - Since many of you are missing lunch with your co-workers, now might be a good time to get to know your neighbors. Walking outdoors around the neighborhood is the perfect way to interact with people at a distance. When you enlist a friend as a dedicated accountability partner, you will have achieved greater success in your health journey. Check-in with each other via text or email to encourage each other to complete your daily workouts or eat healthy meals. Having a support system is key so you never feel alone in your journey!
Upgrade your walk by progressing to a little jog - After you’ve been walking for a while, your power walk is getting fast enough where you are ready to progress to jogging. When you jog for long distances, it releases neurotransmitters that reduce stress, anxiety and also reduces levels of some of the hormones that are linked to anxiety symptoms. If you end up enjoying the occasional jog and decide that you really want to challenge yourself, you might want to try my 25 Minute Treadmill Interval Running Workout for Beginners.
Take your dog or kids on your walk - Make walking a family affair. Throw your dog on a leash and put the kids in a stroller or on their bike and go on a family walk. It can do you all a world of good to get out of the house together and will likely improve everyone’s mood.
Be consistent with your walks especially if weight loss if your goal - Set up a consistent walking schedule and put it on your calendar. Even though we all want fast weight loss results, the truth is, nothing comes fast or easy. The goal is to achieve long-lasting results, so we have to come to realize that consistency is key when it comes to diet and exercise. Your body is unique and will respond to a healthy lifestyle change differently than anyone else's so don’t let the comparison game cause you to give up. It’s also important that you don't start this journey with an end in mind, you have to focus on lifestyle changes that you will incorporate into your daily routine for a lifetime. Being consistent with food, exercise, and a daily schedule will help you along your weight loss journey. As a certified sports nutritionist and personal trainer in the Bay Area and in NYC, I have helped my clients lose weight, feel great, and become the best version of themselves. I believe you can have that too! Be consistent in building healthier eating habits and working out. Give yourself grace and if nothing else just SHOW UP!
Additional ways to get in exercise during your workday
Other ways to get in extra exercise during your workday is by using a folding under the desk treadmill or if you are really low on space you could try an under the desk elliptical. If you already own a treadmill, then you can get a specially designed treadmill desk attachment that fits most treadmills and check all of your emails while also widdling down your waistline!
Taking care of your health
Now is the time to invest in yourself just like you do everything else that matters to you in life! Too often eating healthy and exercising gets pushed aside because of busy work schedules and taking care of family, but we pay for it in the long run.
Imagine being able to run around with your children in the park, travel without feeling limited, grow old with fewer aches and pains! In the end, your health is what’s going to matter over all the other less meaningful things in life. Because what is the point in having all of those "things" if you can’t enjoy them?
I encourage you TODAY to reevaluate your life. Are you sowing into your future?
Be gentle with yourself and remember that your health will improve over time, not overnight. It's common to want to see results quickly, but you also have to make sure that you are creating healthy habits that will produce lasting changes - no quick fixes here!
It’s never too late to start striving to be your very best! Being fitter, stronger, or reaching your health goals, especially when it comes to weight, may not come easy at first. It may feel like a struggle, like it may never happen, or that everyone around you is farther along than you BUT you have to stop that comparison game. Your mind will constantly tell you you’re a failure and can’t do it, but I am here to cheer you on and tell you that you CAN!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you want to take your health to the next level, then you should also incorporate some strength training into your walking routine. You don’t have to leave your house to get a great workout, online training at the Holly Roser Fitness studio might be a GREAT option to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals!
With online personal training, you can train on your schedule, from your laptop, anywhere in the world! My individual attention and customized plan to transform you from the inside-out to and help you shred the extra pounds and transform your body.