How to Stay Fit while Working from Home

How to Stay Fit while Working from Home

Two years into the pandemic, more and more companies around the world have allowed their employees to work from home. This has surprisingly yielded good results for many companies, providing savings in terms of office rental, equipment and other overhead costs. The employees themselves saved on transportation costs and got to spend more quality time with their families. However, one thing that is on the mouths of doctors and medical experts lately is…don’t forget to stay fit at home. 

 

Pre-pandemic, many young professionals used to go to the gym. With quarantine restrictions closing fitness centers down, getting fit at home seems to be the only option. But why is it that the option to exercise at home remains unpopular? The commonly cited reasons include lack of exercise equipment or machines, absence of a trainer or exercise buddy, or simply having to attend to household chores, such as supervising the online classes of children. Others laugh and just say, “How can I exercise when my bed is waving hello?!” 

 

So, do you want to invest more time on work from home fitness? Let us give you some tips. 

 

Doing Desk Exercises is a thing and yes, they can help 

Hardcore fitness enthusiasts may laugh at the idea but doing desk exercises actually is beneficial, more so to those who type away at their computers for say, programming or writing tasks. Here are some that you can try: 

  • Finger exercise – hold up your hands in a fist with your thumbs up. Slide your fingers up and down, stretching as far as they can go. Repeat at least 10 times.  
  • Wrist exercise – position your elbows at a right angle to your body. Alternately rotate your palms upward and downward to the most extreme that they can. Repeat at least 10 times. 
  • Forearm exercise – position your elbows the same way as with the wrist exercise but this time put your palms together. Rotate them down until you’ve stretched them to the most. Repeat at least 10 times. 
  • Neck exercise – sit straight up. Tilt your head to one side towards your shoulder until you feel it has stretched to its limit. Hold this while counting to 10. Do this for the other side. Repeat at least 10 times. 
  • Shoulder exercise – sit up with your back firmly against your chair. Move your shoulders in a circular motion. Repeat at least 10 times. 
  • Back exercise – hold up your arms with your fingers interlocked. Stretch to one side and count to 10. Repeat for the other side. Do this routine 10 ten times more. 
  • Leg exercise – while sitting up straight, lift your left leg up and stretch. Hold this position while counting to 10. Repeat 5 times for each leg. 
  • Ankle exercise – lift your left off the floor and stretch it up and down while counting to 10. Repeat 5 times for each ankle. 

 

Go outside and walk 

Brisk walking is an underrated exercise. Jogging seems to be touted as better. But if you’ve not been doing a lot exercise at home, walking could be a better option. You don’t need to go far from home. A walk around the neighborhood will do. If you have a pet dog or cat, taking them with you for a walk will also give them their much-needed exercise. Start with a modest 5-minute leisurely walk around a fixed route, slowly raising your speed as you go. When you feel your sweat coming out and your heartbeat has raised to a higher tempo, that is a sign to stop for the day. Many smartphones offer health apps that monitor the number of steps you make per day. Make use of them. 

 

Try dancing or aerobic workouts 

 

For those who love to dance, Zumba could be a good option for WFH fitness. Zumba has gained popularity in recent years thanks to YouTube and Tiktok. According to health experts, 75-150 minutes of Zumba per week can help reduce weight and strengthen your heart. There are many video tutorials offering guidance. You can opt to upload your videos too, not only for a healthy ego boost but also to inspire your friends and family to get on board with home fitness. 

 

Are you a gamer? Do Exergames 

Therapists have long been endorsing “exergames”, defined as video games that offer exercise with a competitive twist. An emerging trend among health buffs, exergames have been dubbed as the future of fitness. With jobs at home also becoming more the norm, these video games are convenient for us who cannot go to the gym or sports centers. There are many apps available on both Google Playstore and Apple Appstore that offer exergames for kids and adults alike. Among the popular exergame apps are 3DDX, Dance Dance Revolution, Dancing Stage, and Para Para Paradise. 

 

Exercising for Mental Health 

Most of us work from home as part of the pandemic-imposed restrictions and have been here for nearly two years now. That being said, getting fit at home is often overlooked as another way to keep us sane. While helping to reduce blood pressure, manage weight gain, and improve blood circulation, exercising is essential to our mental health. The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity on a weekly basis. Muscle-strengthening activity should be done at least 2 days a week. Exercising with your partner, sibling or parent will strengthen your bond and save you from potential arguments! 

 

Fitness beyond the pandemic 

Even if the pandemic will end with the Omicron variant or not, starting a home fitness program now will help you establish a routine. As they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You may think that you are not a fitness enthusiast, or that exercising is not your thing, but it may surprise you (pleasantly!) to realize that once you get used to it, it will become almost like second nature. And for the long-term, it will benefit you immensely. It will give you more energy to do your work at home tasks, while ensuring that you will live longer to spend time with your loved ones.  

Virtual Meetings – and how to make the most of them

Virtual Meetings – and how to make the most of them

One thing that 2020 and 2021 taught the world very well is that virtual meetings can actually work as well as face-to-face ones. Most of us have been made to think that the latter is more effective because it supposedly allows for less ambiguity as a sensory experience. As each country went into pandemic-induced lockdown, working from home became more of a norm rather than a practice of freelancers.

That being said, if we cannot escape them, how do we leverage online meetings and their advantages? In 2021, these are some of the things you can do:

  • Make use of all the features of your virtual meeting software. Most of them allows you to record proceedings, chat with other participants, sync with your digital calendar, personalize with your branding colors and company logos, and even edit documents real-time with the screen-sharing option.

  • Virtual meetings offer faster, more efficient presentations where presenters can instantly open and share webpages and documents and access byte-heavy videos and other media on cloud platforms.

  • Hold “hybrid” events where you can stay in one location with a few attendees and broadcast their proceedings to remote participants. In a time rife with health risks, this limits exposure but at the same time makes exchange of ideas faster and easier.

On the other hand, as anything online, there are downsides to virtual meetings. Here are some and how you can successfully overcome them:

  • Data Privacy & Security can be worrisome especially when there is sharing of ideas and documents during online meetings that might be stolen by hackers or even by lack of orientation on online security to participants. There too have been numerous cases where someone inadvertently wrote on meeting chat what they shouldn’t have and this was captured and shared to media or rival companies.

  • In meetings where there are multilingual participants, it is easy to get lost in translation. Many opt to have real-time interpreters or use translation software to address this. This includes sign language services for participants that have a hearing impairment.

  • Popularly called “Zoom fatigue” and often experienced by those who attend more than one meeting via online conferencing, people have reported being listless, distressed, bored and exhausted during and after virtual meetings. Host short pre-meeting meditation or energizer like a Zumba dance and post-meeting socials. Some companies host end-of-week singing contests or trivia games.

  • Keeping meeting participants engaged is a very common problem especially for those that last more than an hour. Typically, people lose interest and find something else to do, all the more when they don’t have to turn on their video cams. Keep their interest with interactive sessions via small-group discussions in breakout rooms and reporting their outputs, short quizzes and fun games, and using apps that allow real-time, multi-user editing.

  • The bane of all online meetings is technical trouble. This can run from sudden loss of internet connection, slowing down of download or upload speeds, or plain old software glitches. Assign a “tech team” with good internet connections who will focus on assisting in troubleshooting these. It is also good to send ahead documents and presentations to the team so that they can take over in flashing those in case your connections slow down. They can also assist those who are less tech-savvy.

Of course, whether online or offline, the bottom line for meeting participants is that they should come to it ready. Preparation time will still be the same for many. Slides for presentations may be done offline or on cloud but they still have to be manually prepared. Meeting invites need to be sent out and participants to be reminded of them. The key here is really just to embrace the virtual meeting as an essential component of modern communication. Let us make the most of it.