Jeff Ross, founder and owner of Harris & Ross, says we don’t have to be going for massive, impressive exercise challenges as we navigate Covid. Just getting out and about, moving more, will help enormously. He spoke to Marketing WAM members this week…
Mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. Even more so now, during this global pandemic! There is no doubt these are tough times and it has had a massive knock on effect across the whole country.
People rely on the gym and their fitness goals for their physical and mental wellbeing. The Harris & Ross team are lucky to be working right now, seeing patients and seeing colleagues, in a safe environment. Our patients vary dramatically – we see children, older people, business men and women, mums, athletes and everything in between.
These people are normally very active, sometimes training for a big fitness goal like a marathon or a big event like that. Those fitness aims have changed dramatically over the last 12 months. They’ve been replaced by jogging, running alone, home workouts and lots of Joe Wicks. There is a strong link between mental and physical fitness.
Exercise releases endorphins and this helps reduce the anxiety (which we are all no doubt feeling more keenly these days). In turn that can reduce blood pressure and stress levels. It helps us lose weight, get fit, feel good. But we don’t have to be going for massive, impressive challenges. Just getting out and about, moving more, will help enormously.
Many of us might feel stuck in a rut, working from home. The set-up of our devices might not be as good as in the office. We are also likely to be sitting more and moving less than we would do in the office. Looking at a screen for the majority of the day. It’s bad for us on several levels.
Even before Covid research showed us that many of us who were sitting for more than six hours a day were much more at risk from lots of nasty illnesses and diseases. This is even more of a factor now most of us are working from home.
If you take just one thing from today, that is absolutely key to looking after yourself better, it is to move more.
So why not switch places around the house throughout the day. Set an alarm for every 30 mins to remind you to get up, go and make a drink, pop outside for some fresh air and nature for a few minutes or use an ironing board as a makeshift standing desk.
Even better, now this is look set to continue for a while longer, and is likely to even become the ‘new normal’, invest in some proper kit to enhance your working from home environment. Or go and collect the things you need from the office. That great ergonomically-adjusted chair you love.
Take your daily exercise outside if you possibly can. Even in winter you will benefit from some Vitamin D and if you can build in some outdoor exercise into your routine, you will see huge improvements in your physical and mental wellbeing.
When you are working from home there are a few key top tips for your posture which will help keep you comfortable:
- Sit up straight – it’s tempting to hunch forward but the load this creates on your neck and shoulders is really bad for you.
- Have your knees and hips at 90 degrees
- Rest your arms on a surface that is comfortable and not a stretch
- Ideally have your screen at eye level, not at keyboard level.
Here are a couple of exercises to help alleviate some of the physical impact of working from home. Try these in those regular, 30 min breaks you’re going to take from your screen!
- Grab a mop or broom handle and place across your shoulders, and rotate your head and neck slowly and gently from side to side. This really helps open up and stretch your neck and shoulders from all that hunching at your screen.
- If you’ve got a foam roller (they’re not expensive) lie on it and arch your back over it to stretch it out in the opposite way you’ve been hunching over your desk in! Reach your arms over your head. Then bring them back and roll up and down on the foam roller. These movements help loosen and open up your upper back.
- Stand up straight near a door frame. Grab the doorframe with your arm at a right angle and lean forward into the door frame. This a great chest stretch.
- Your hip flexors are likely to get tight from a lot of sitting down. So stretch these off by kneeling one leg on the floor and the other up at 90 degrees. Hold your body nice and tall and then lean into the stretch….you should feel it nicely along your front thigh….switch and enjoy the stretch on the other side.