Wearing pyjamas to meetings, close proximity to the fridge and mid-afternoon naps (what, just us?) – there have certainly been some perks to working from home over the last 18 months. But while some of us have been back at our desks for a while others are only just returning to the world of communal kitchens and commuting.
Working from home has also helped many of us improve our health and well-being as we’ve found more time to workout, relax and eat properly. There’s no need for that to disappear in the blink of an eye though. Use these five top tips to ensure you stay fit and healthy when you head back to the office.
1. Drink Lots of Water
First and foremost, you need to stay hydrated. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 3.7 litres of fluid for men and 2.7 litres of fluid a day for women. Seems like a lot huh? A top tip to keep those fluid levels high is buy a reusable water bottle, fill it up, whack it on your desk every morning and every time you look at it, take a sip. Try to finish that bottle 2 or 3 times whilst in the office and you’ll be well on your way to your hydration targets. Upping your H20 levels will not only boost your mood and energy level, but will also ward off any tiredness or headaches throughout the day.
2. Keep Standing and Stretching
Staying in one position while doing repetitive motions is typical of a desk job, which can cause or worsen musculoskeletal disorders. We gotta keep that blood pumping. One of the easiest ways to do so is to sneak in some stretches whilst sitting at your desk. There’s a variety of things you try, such as arm stretches or circles, wrist rolls, neck tilts, torso rotations and shoulder shrugs. These small movements may seem minor, but they keep the oxygen flowing through your body, whilst also boosting your endorphins levels and mental health. We all need those little stress relievers to help us through the week.
Another great alternative is to ask HR for a standing desk – don’t ask, you don’t get right? Not only will these help you burn more calories and help ease back pain by sorting out your posture, but also increase productivity on a daily basis.
3. Take Regular Breaks
It’s easy to rock up to the office at 9am and slump in your chair until lunch, quickly grab a sandwich and eat at your desk whilst scrolling through emails. Try your best not to do this. Take a break every hour on the hour, even if it’s just to get up from your desk and fill up your water bottle, grab a cup of tea, go to the toilet or use the printer. By simply taking a few minutes to move, you’ll get the oxygen flowing through your body and hit the refresh button on your brain.
You’re also entitled to your full lunch hour. Make the most of it by getting out of the office. Take a walk or go on a run, take your lunch and have a picnic in a nearby park. Whatever it is you use your hour for, ensure you make the most of your time and get some fresh air.
4. Plan Your Snacks and Lunch
When going back into the office it can be easy to fall in the ‘fast food trap.’ You can avoid this by planning and preparing a healthy and hearty lunch the night before. Protein pots and rice or pasta salads are always a great option, because you can make them in bulk and store them easily. Sandwiches, flatbreads and wraps are all filling and tasty options, that can be easily prepared the night before. Protein-rich chicken and fish make great filling options for all of the above, and make sure to pile on the veggies for a lunchtime nutrient hit. Be prepared for when the inevitable mid-afternoon munchies hit as well. Make sure you have a stockpile of healthy, high protein, low-calorie snacks, such as nuts, dried fruit or protein bars.
5. Mix up Your Commute
Why not include exercise in something you need to do anyway, like commuting? If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to the office, then you could cycle, walk or run into work, which raises those all important, mood-boosting endorphin levels. However if the office is too far away, hop off the bus or train a stop or two early so you can get some steps in. If you drive to work, park a few streets away from the building. If you need some extra motivation to help you get those incremental steps or work-outs in, why not sign up to a Tough Mudder and get something in the diary to work towards?