Advice from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) is simple: “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” The United Kingdom’s National Health Services agrees: “Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer by up to 50%, and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.”
We also know that exercise is good for our mental health. It can improve your mood and help you get better sleep. Exercise has also been recommended for helping alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety, among other mental health challenges.
For many people, the daily dose of exercise comes from the steps they take when they go to work, the stairs they climb when moving from one office to another, and their time at the company gym. However, governments’ restrictions, as a result of COVID-19, have meant that many people are working remotely in the last few months.
While working remotely presents several benefits, it is not necessarily good for our bodies. It makes us move less, a situation that may lead to weight gain, fatigue, sleep problems, loneliness, social anxiety, and other long-term health issues. Therefore, an exercise routine is necessary when working from home.
Benefits of Exercise While at Home
Exercise comes with several physical and mental health benefits, including longevity. Here are a few of the top benefits you would enjoy by exercising regularly while working from home.
Exercise enables the body to manage insulin and blood sugar levels. It lowers the level of sugar in the blood and helps insulin work better. Making time for exercise reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps manage the disease for those who already have it. Working out regularly minimizes the risk of heart diseases. It improves blood circulation. The increased flow of blood causes oxygen levels in the body to rise. Consequently, this reduces the risk of heart diseases, such as heart attacks, coronary artery disease, and high cholesterol. A regular workout also helps lower blood pressure.
Exercise helps to keep the cognitive and judgment skills sharp. As you exert your mental capacity while working remotely, exercise helps fuel your body to release proteins and other chemicals that develop the brain’s function and structure.
Better Sleep and Improved Mental Health
Exercise also improves sleep. Charlene Gamaldo, the Medical Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, agrees and notes that “exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.” Working out, coupled with better sleep, improves mood and mental health. Physical activities discharge chemicals that help relieve stress and make a person feel more relaxed. Exercise helps you deal with work fatigue and reduces the risk of depression, a hazard associated with the loneliness and social isolation linked to working from home.
Types of Home Exercises
Exercise can be categorized into three types: Aerobic, anaerobic, and flexibility. Each one has its benefits.
Aerobic exercises involve cardiovascular activities, such as swimming, running, and brisk walking. Such exercises mainly use oxygen as fuel and keep the heart and circulatory system healthy. A few examples of aerobic exercises you can practice at home include kickboxing (like virtual Hit House classes via Zoom or on demand via Jet Sweat Fitness), jumping jacks, running the stairs, jogging in place, and jump rope. You can achieve benefits from most of these activities with a 10 to 20 minutes workout.
Anaerobic exercises are physical activities that mostly leverage the body’s glucose to develop muscles during workouts. They are usually done for a short interval but with high intensity. Anaerobic exercises aid weight loss, promote metabolism, improve physical and mental health, and increase endurance and performance levels. Examples of this type of exercise you can engage in at home include weight lifting, sprints, and high-intensity interval training, where you rest in between a short period of intense workouts.
Flexibility exercises are activities that help to stretch the muscles and give freedom of movement. While practicing these exercises may not necessarily increase one’s endurance, it improves flexibility, shakes off discomfort, and makes everyday activities easier. There are different types of exercises you can do at home to improve your flexibility. Some of these include various types of stretches like the simple seated stretch, triceps stretch, or frog stretch. Keep an eye out for instructor Regina's special Yoga for Muay Thai virtual series, too (next vinyasa scheduled for January 28th, 2021).
How to Create a Home Gym
Several benefits come with having a home gym. It encourages you to have a consistent exercise schedule without the need to leave your home. You need affordable pieces of equipment, which are basic yet essential, to set up your home gym. Essential equipment will include a workout mat, resistance bands, a jump rope, dumbbells, a kettle bell, and a workout bench. You may need other pieces of equipment based on your workout routine, but the listed types of equipment are enough to get your home gym started. You could supplement your gym equipment with things you already have, like bags of soil used as a kettle bell, a broom to improve shoulder mobility, and other such items easily found at home. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the equipment you use is safe.
How to Make Time to Exercise
It can be challenging to get off your seat and start a workout. You will always have that task that needs to be finished today, the kids are back from school and need your attention, and so on. We came up with a few suggestions on how you can make time for exercise:
Create a dedicated space in the home for your workouts.
Create a schedule and adhere strictly to a healthy work-life balance. It may take a while to find what suits you, but be committed to keeping your schedule.
Make a habit of starting your day with an exercise routine.
Start early before other people start to make demands on your time.
Set alarms at reasonable intervals for you to stand up and stretch your muscles.
Walk around during calls. A study conducted by Stanford researchers reveals that walking around improves your creativity.
Set realistic exercise goals you can achieve indoors.
Connect with others for exercises online (follow @hithouse on IG)!
This article by Yanre Fitness originally appeared online at: https://www.yanrefitness.com/the-benefits-of-exercise-while-working-from-home/
Photo courtesy of https://www.instagram.com/jonathansborba/