How to stay healthy while working from home.
It's official. We are moving to level three! And for a lot of us, that means... bugger all. We'll still be working from home, in our bubbles, the only commute required being the one back and forward to the kitchen for some bored eating.
So without the regular movement and scheduled eating of our normal routine, how do we stay healthy?
Keep exercise fun.
Gyms are closed, the weather is crap and there's nowhere to go. For most of us, that means a massive decrease in our daily movement. We're burning fewer calories and missing out on the mood-boosting effects of regular exercise. But what's the most effective type of exercise do to during lockdown? The answer might surprise you.
As a personal trainer, I'm all about optimising my clients programmes to get the best result. The prescription must match the goal. Exercise during lockdown is the same, only the goal is a little different. For most of us, the goal for exercising during lockdown should be to exercise during lockdown. Getting off our butts, getting off our phones and getting it done. The easiest way to do that is to do a type of exercise that we actually enjoy!
Not only will doing what we enjoy improve our consistency, but it may also stop us from overeating afterwards. Researchers took two groups of people and told them to go for a walk. One group was told that they were walking for exercise, the other group was told they were sightseeing. After the walk, both groups were unleashed on a buffet to eat whatever they wanted. The group that was told they were exercising ate way more calories than the group seeing the sights. The theory is that the "exercising" group were rewarding themselves for being forced to workout, a phenomenon known as "hedonic compensation”. In isolation, we don’t need another reason to overeat, so do the type of exercise that you love.
Change your environment.
According to the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear, every habit, good or bad, starts with a trigger. Something we see, smell, hear or do, that creates an urge to act. I always use the example of Mrs Higgins, that crafty old bag blows the smell of freshly baked cookies down Queen Street and we are powerless to resist buying one. She is a master of manipulation.
Same goes at home. Our homes are full of triggers. Our couches and TVs sit there inviting us to lie down and binge-watch Netflix. Our fridges buzz intermittently, reminding us that time not spent eating is time that could be spent eating. So what can we do?
We can hide the bad triggers and make the good triggers blatantly obvious. Put all the processed food in the back of the pantry out of site and chop/bag up vegetables for easy consumption. Hide the remote and put your walking shoes on the lounge floor to encourage exercise over slothing. Swallow your cell phone so you can't check Instagram until you've hit your daily fibre target.
Treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
As a coach, I know that choosing the right language can make or break the message that I’m trying to get across to a client. The common advice to "just love yourself", can be interpreted in many different ways (especially when we have a lot of spare time on our hands). So let's try this, treat yourself like you would treat something you love, a dog for example. Treat yourself like your dog.
Would you let your beloved doggy sit inside for 24 hours with no movement or fresh air? Probably not. You would take them for a sniff around the neighbourhood at least once a day. So why would you let yourself stay inside all day with no walkies? Get outside once a day and sniff around the neighbourhood.
Would you let your fur babies eat low quality food for every meal? No, you would give them the quality nutrition they need to live long and happy dog lives. Choose your food with the same goal in mind.
Now imagine for a second, that canine COVID was taking over the world, your dog was unable to work or see their family and friends. Would you punish your dog for acting out? Hopefully, you would be understanding and give your pooch some compassion. So go easy on yourself. Enjoy that lazy day watching movies. Eat that cookie with no shame. But if you end up peeing on the carpet, you're on your own.
If you want to learn more about how to transform your body using simple daily habits, visit coachingwithgreg.com