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In recent years, and especially in recent weeks, working from home has shifted from a luxury to a societal (and professional) norm. In fact, 24% of people who work remotely even just once a month notice benefits like increased happiness and productivity.
With the rise of more people taking their jobs from the office to the abode, it’s almost too easy to “stay casual” when you aren’t physically showing up somewhere. With brands focusing on dressing these remote workers (the crossroads of athleisure and casualwear, aptly titled, “relaxwear,” or “roomwear”), it’s important to remember not to let yourself get too comfortable. Staying active while you work from home, and keeping your wellness as a priority, is of great importance... especially right now.
If your favorite gym or fitness studio is temporarily closed, you're probably worried about staying in shape so you can come back stronger than ever when it reopens. Exercising at home doesn’t mean you need to invest in thousands of dollars of gym equipment, from kettlebells and bench presses, to converting your garage into a blissed-out Zen experience for hours and hours of yoga. (Though, right about now, that Zen yoga palace sounds pretty nice). Starting a workout routine at home can be easy. You might be surprised to know that you 100% already have the equipment you need to get going: Your body.
Set your schedule.
While 24 hours seems like a good chunk of time, truth is, it almost never feels like enough. The best way to get going with your WFH fitness routine is to make time for yourself. It’s easier said than done, we know, but if you can start by finding a set time each day dedicated to exercise, you’re already on the path to a healthier, and happier, lifestyle.
How to set time for yourself:
- Set your morning alarm one hour earlier and knock that workout off your to-do list ASAP.
- Block off time on your calendar, so you're reminded when it’s time to get that stretch sesh in.
- Make your lunch break your workout break.
You don’t have to invest in expensive equipment or complete home renovations to all the benefits of your WFH workout routine. (If you’ve already made your basement into a weight room, kudos! You probably know what we’re about to say.) Setting your dedicated time to fitness is only half the battle. Now comes the real fun part: The actual workout. Start off easy with some simple bodyweight exercises that only require a pair of gym shoes, your workout clothes, and a little balance.
To give you a taste of what you’re in for (and a starting point to build a bigger, more robust routine), we teamed up with The Bar Method to offer a full-body workout you can do in your living room! In less than 10-minutes, you’ll get a mini Bar Method experience that’ll target your whole body in just the right order for maximum results. If you’re a Bar Method regular, use these workouts to keep flexing those muscles, so you’re ready to get back in the studio eventually. And if you’re a barre newbie, don’t worry. These workouts are simple, effective, and easy to follow. So, push that coffee table aside and check them out.
1. Upper body:
In this video, you’ll hit push-ups, pulses, planks, and reverse push-ups to tone and sculpt all those upper body muscles. When you go to reach for something in the morning, you’ll feel it and think of us!
2. Second Position Lunges:
Next, you’ll learn how to do second position lunges to work our outer and frontal quads. They may look easy, but they definitely aren’t. Hint: If you’re shaking, you’re doing it right!
3. Pretzel Workout:
Despite the name, there’s nothing yummy about this workout. You’ll feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings, on your way to a lifted and sculpted booty you can rock everywhere.
4. Straight Leg Clam Workout:
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about abs. In this fan favorite, you’ll target your core, obliques, and lower abs. Trust us, you’ll feel this tomorrow.
This is just one example of a simple workout you can do daily to keep you active and in motion during times when it may seem like a better idea to curl up on the couch. And it’s one you can do in a matter of minutes in case you’re crunched for time.
If you are looking for a different type of workout, we have you covered! Find all sorts of virtual classes, from mat pilates and yoga, to HIIT and even meditation, on Mindbody today!
However, we know some of you may be looking for a more intense work out at home to really sweat out the stress and potential anxiety. If you need some more ideas, check out the Fitness page of our Mindbody blog to find a workout that’s right for you.
A big part of staying home means finding ways to keep your body and mind fresh. It’s so easy to fall into a routine of, “Wake up, open computer, work, skip lunch, stand up only to go to the bathroom, work more, don’t go outside, eat dinner, watch Netflix with laptop in lap, go to bed with computer, repeat.”
However, it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep yourself motivated and refreshed throughout the day. Remember:
Create a healthy morning routine for yourself.
Instead of going right to your home office, take a breath in the morning and get in a good walk, make a cup of coffee, or get your workout in first thing. This will help you clear your head before diving into the day’s tasks.
Stay social (responsibly).
Working from home carries with it a certain level of isolation. But in a time of social distancing, there are ways to keep in touch with your coworkers, friends, and family. Hop on Facetime calls, overshare, schedule remote meetups that aren’t work-related, host a Netflix viewing party. Get creative while staying safe.
This one may be the most important. Whether you’re working from home for personal reasons or are under mandatory orders to do so, one thing to keep in mind is your outlook on life. During uncertain times, it’s easy to fall into negative pitfalls. It’s also easy to forget that tonality is sometimes lost in writing correspondences. So, make sure you stay upbeat, use an exclamation mark when you can, find an emoji you love (preferably a smiling one), and remember, we’re all in this together.
Getting your fitness in while working from home is possible if you remember one thing: You don’t have to do it all at once. Start simple with a new routine. Once you’re comfortable there, try to add something new into the mix (an extra lunge or jumping jack, adding weights, making more coffee, etc.) Eventually, you’ll have a new wellness routine that will keep your mind fresh, your muscles active, and your outlook positive (so you can show off in your first group fitness class post-quarantine).
Have any work-from-home workout tips to share with the community? Be sure to show us by posting them on your Instagram story and tagging @mindbody!
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last few weeks is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves.
Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
During times of high stress, our bodies experience a physiological strain, where essentially everything from our heart, muscles, blood, and energy have to work harder than needed in order to keep functioning at a minimum. Our body’s natural processes, like breathing, can get compromised, lessening the healing functions of the nervous system, and overworking our adrenal system. Stress management is almost non-existent. This overtaxing of the body disrupts the natural flow of energy and resources, and puts us in something known as the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we are constantly deciding if there is some kind of real danger and how to survive it. We feel these signals when our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our stress responses like sweating and either constricted or super fast breathing occur, and our feel-good hormones become compromised.
As we process anxiety, not only do we mentally and emotionally feel the repercussions, we also physically confuse our systems that are doing their best to naturally heal us. Staying in a state of continued anxiety with an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be incredibly damaging to your health, even if it is a small amount of stress that collects over time. Stress suppresses our immunity, digestion, deep breathing, disrupts sleep, and eating patterns, impacts mood, energy levels, and much more.
Studies show that over 50% of adults are essentially holding their breaths. They do a shallow type of breathing known as thoracic breathing, where you breathe lightly into your chest instead of into your diaphragm. For example, notice how you’re breathing right now. You’re likely holding your breath to some extent and you’re probably not breathing much at all. If you’re asked to partake in a deep breathing exercise now, you’ll puff up your chest and shoulders, and empty out your stomach. Guilty?
If you’ve ever seen a baby breathe or the breathing technique of someone in deep sleep, you’ll notice that their bellies rise and fall; the oxygen goes directly into a natural deep belly breath. Adults, however, have become acclimated to holding our breaths without meaning to. When we can slow down and practice deep breathing, we send physical and neurological signals through our entire body that asks us to rest.
The great news is that there are easy breathing exercises we can do at home that do not take a lot of time or effort. An incredible tool that anyone can use in times of high stress is remembering to inhale and exhale. Yes, breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended breathwork not simply as an immunity building tool, but as a way to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. Deep breathing and other breathwork improves the body’s overall functions; improves the respiratory system, builds protective mucus in the nose, oxygenates and blood and brain, improves digestion, alkalizes the full body, and much more. Each style of breathwork sends special physiological signals—some ask us our bodies to slow down and chill, to get out of fight mode, and bring us back to equilibrium where our body’s natural healing systems can be activated; some styles of breathwork ask to pump up and energize.
It’s common to find yourself rushing through breathing practices or feel like you need to set aside special time for it. But that’s the point. We get to slow down, and we get to implement these practices even if there are distractions, business, and no perfect zen meditation corners in our homes. We can do these anytime, anywhere.
If you’ve been feeling any small symptoms of anxiousness or stress, now is the perfect time to incorporate some incredibly easy and effective breathwork techniques into your day-to-day.
This breathing technique can be done at any time of the day, for as long as you want. It’s recommended to practice this for at least 30 seconds to start and several times throughout the day. It’s a breath technique to practice before going to sleep as well. As you’re doing this breath, imagine your stomach like a big pump. As you breathe in, you’re expanding; as you breathe out, you’re emptying out.
1. Put your hands on your belly/abdomen area.
2. Take a big breath through the nose and PUSH your hands away from the belly as you breathe in. Expand your stomach as much as possible and try not to puff up your chest.
3. Slowly exhale through the mouth and constrict your belly inwards. Feel free to make a sound with the mouth when you do this.
4. Repeat for a minimum of 30 seconds.
The 6-7-8 breath can be done at any time of the day to calm anxiousness and stress, especially before doing to sleep. It’s a self-soothing technique that helps relax and calm the nervous system. You can do this practice sitting up or laying down.
1. Close down your eyes.
2. Relax your mouth.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 6 full seconds. Count in your head and maintain an even pace.
4. Hold this breath for 7 seconds.
5. Pucker your mouth and exhale out through the mouth with a “whoooooossh” sound for 8 seconds.
6. Repeat this 6-7-8 breath for at least 5 rounds, or as long as you wish.
You can adjust the 6-7-8 counts to accommodate your pace. You can try a 4-5-6 sequence, or an 8-9-10 sequence. Play around with the length of time that feels good for your body. Some people love to sit by an analog clock for the ticking sound to help keep pace; some love to incorporate music.
This is another easy technique that can be done at any time of the day.
1. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose.
2. Hold for 4 seconds.
3. Exhale for 4 seconds through the nose.
4. Hold for 4 seconds.
5. Repeat at least 5 times.
You can play around with the timing for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and so on to see what works best for your body.
These are the top three breathwork techniques to manage anxiety and stress. Plenty of other techniques work on sleep, inner healing, subconscious programming, altered states of consciousness, and more. Play with the three techniques above and see what feels great for you. It’s common to find a sense of calm almost immediately, some gentle tingling, and relaxation! As we’re adjusting to the new normal, let’s all contribute to creating peace both inside and out.