How to Put the Fitness In “WFH”

December 10, 2020

Ah, the 3 p.m. slump. And pandemic-induced brain fog. Oh, and don’t forget the screaming kids in the background.

Working from home definitely has its perks, but it can also make finding your focus a monumental challenge. The good news is, just devoting five minutes to physical activity during the day can make all the difference in beating brain fog and keeping your energy levels up. 

Elyn Thomas, CA personal trainer, shared her best tips for staying active during the workday, so you can get your best work done and stay healthy!

Elyn Thomas, CA personal trainer

CA personal trainer Elyn Thomas

Importance of tabatas + stretching

We’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking. It might sound like a dramatic declaration, but the truth is that the sedentary nature of your workday can create some pretty unpleasant short- and long-term effects. Stiff and achy joints, increased blood pressure, weight gain and even the potential for a shorter life expectancy are just the short list.

Thomas’ biggest piece of advice is simple, yet can make all the difference in curtailing these effects and feeling better. 

“The simple act of getting up out of your chair improves your circulation, which is beneficial for your body, mind and mood,” says Thomas. “It’s important to move your legs every 30 minutes, even if it just means walking down your hallway and back.”

Let’s not forget your creativity, too — when’s the last time you had a breakthrough idea while chained to your desk? 

Thomas is a big fan of embracing mid-day tabatas, a super-short version of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that get your heart rate up and blood flowing. With tabatas, you alternate between 20-second intervals of giving it your all, and 10-second intervals of rest for eight total rounds and four minutes total. This ratio actually makes them more intense than HIIT workouts, given that exerting 100% effort when you’re “on.”

Tabatas can be composed of anything: squats, jumping jacks, high knees, lunges, pushups. The beauty of it is that you can choose workouts that you actually like, and then tailor your tabata to release some endorphins during that afternoon slump. Plus, no matter how busy your workday is, most of us can find four minutes to spare. (For more super speedy workouts, check out the “7 Minute Workout” app — you can even split it into two parts during the day if you’re pressed for time.) 

Frequent stretching is equally essential to your “WFH” wellbeing. Being deskbound creates muscle tightness and tension in the neck, shoulders and lower back, and also sabotages your posture. 

Here’s a few ideas for easy stretches to stay limber:

  • Arm circles
  • Shoulder rolls 
  • Figure 4 in your chair (one ankle over the knee, then lean forward)
  • Torso twists
  • Toe touches 
  • Anything to stretch your wrists (this Healthline article has some great ideas!)

It’s also worth a mention that when you’re at your desk, the simple act of checking your posture can make a big difference. Many of us have the tendency to slump or arch our backs, which then has a negative ripple effort in our front body and shoulders. Try to keep a neutral spine, roll your shoulders back and sit tall, and notice how much better you feel.

And, if you’re working from home for the long haul, it may even be worth it to consider investing in a standing desk or stability ball. 


Don’t forget a healthy lunch

One of the best things about working from home is the ability to make lunch instead of always meal-prepping or eating out. Your lunch is a great opportunity to replenish yourself and feed your brain so you can sail through the afternoon clear-headed and alert.

It’s best to steer clear from carbs and caffeine, which will inevitably cause you to crash. Thomas typically opts for a salad with protein to add a fullness factor, fruits and/or veggies and a big glass of water to wake up her system.

“Tea is also great for warming your body up and nourishing yourself in winter,” says Thomas. “I often heat up water and put lemon in it, which feels like a nice treat!”


Get moving with CA 

Ultimately, maintaining your health and wellness is an all-day job.

“It means getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, managing your stress and moving your body,” says Thomas. “It can feel like a challenge during the holidays, but ultimately taking care of yourself is the best present to give yourself.”

Wherever you’re at on your fitness journey, CA is here to help. Check out our website to learn more about our three fitness clubs, which offer state-of-the-art equipment, group fitness classes and personal training programs (including virtual options). 

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