How To Stay Healthy And Flexible When Working From Home

25/05/2022, Nic Lenny, Pilates & Wellness Coach & Owner Of Soul Pilates & Soul Pilates At Home

Many newspaper articles and headlines have claimed that 'sitting is the new smoking' and there are various research papers showing that a sedentary lifestyle is having a huge negative impact on our health. Whilst there is truth to this, with smoking there is nothing which can be done to offset any damage caused. But the good news is that a moderate level of physical activity can offset high levels of sitting. One study showed that even a small amount of light activity every 30 minutes will keep your blood glucose concentrations at a normal level. 

The other thing I hear regularly, as a rehab focused Pilates Teacher, is an increase in back, neck and wrist pain caused from hours sitting behind a desk, staring at your computer. So what can you do to stay healthy, flexible and pain-free while working from home? And how can you avoid that hunched forward posture which is the result of desk working? 

1. Create A “Commute” Walk

Motion really is lotion for your body, so fundamentally you need to move more! Start your day positively with a 20-minute 'walk to work'. Instead of your ‘commute’ being the bedroom to your homework space via the kitchen for breakfast, could you build in a 20-minute' walk to work'? A circular brisk walk to begin your day will increase your heart rate, calm your nervous system and lubricate your joints. To increase the benefit to your mental health, do it without distraction; so no phone or headphones. and just take in what you see, and even better if you can make it to a place with some trees. Did you know that trees release essential oils called phytoncides which when we breathe them in have a direct effect on our nervous system? Within as little as 15 minutes in a woodland environment, our resting heart rate is reduced, our blood pressure will fall and our cortisol levels are balanced, thereby promoting stress relief. 

2. Add Regular Movement Into Your Day

Take time to get up every 30 minutes to move and stretch - don’t worry too much about stretching in an official way. Take some inspiration from the animal world who pandiculate when they get up after a nap. Just standing and reaching up and swaying and rolling your body from side to side is a great way to create more space and break up any tension which has built up in your tissues.

This is a great opportunity to stretch out your wrists too. My go-to wrist stretch is to simply make a fist with both hands out in front of you and move the wrist up and down and then make circles with the wrists, so you stretch out all the tissues around the wrists. I am seeing an increase in tennis elbow and wrist RSIs from my working from home clients, so don’t neglect these delicate joints.

3. Create An At-Home Practice 

It’s likely you are working more than ever before. There are fewer distractions and less getting up and moving about generally in the office which means your working hours are more productive than ever before. So use this to your advantage and build an exercise practice into your working day. You could use your lunch break to not just get the laundry done but instead get started with a running practice or take an online cardio or barre class. Or one of my favourites is to turn that 3pm coffee and biscuit break into 20 minutes of mindful movement such as pilates which provides you with physical ease in your body whilst strengthening your core and calming your mind - all without the need for a shower afterwards! Perfect for working out during your working day. 

4. Build Habits

Start small and build positive habits week on week. That way you’re more likely to create lasting change. Adding just 15 minutes of extra movement into your day is going to transform how you feel, your posture will improve and your health will thank you. Below are some of my favourite 15-minute classes to get you started.

15 Minute Morning Energiser

15 Minute Release & Relax

15 Minute Chill & Unwind 

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

About The Author

Nic Lenny is a Pilates Instructor, Health & Spiritual Coach and owner of Soul Pilates and Soul Pilates at Home, an award-winning Pilates Studios in Bristol. Nic is a master of understanding exactly what is going on in your body and helping you find the best, strongest and most efficient ways to move so you don't just feel good after a session, but for life. 

With 15 years of experience, a background in the corporate world, a near breakdown, a history of chronic pain in her 20s and now two young kids, she’s perfectly placed to understand the real world and its challenges. To support and guide you with real-world, tangible, advice which can actually work with the life you’re living.


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