You know that exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods are essential habits that can help you stay fit and healthy—but it’s hard to do that during self-isolation thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. Moving is one of the best ways to keep your mind healthy and maintain a lean body. It’s also the best way to boost your immune system and keep the virus away.
However, thanks to the virus, most of us are working from home and the most movement we do is walking from the couch to the fridge. So, how do you know when your body isn’t getting enough daily exercise? In this article, we have compiled 5 warning signs and if any of them strikes a chord with you, it’s time to move more and make daily workouts a priority.
1. Are You Having Trouble Sleeping?
Are you one of those people who live for caffeine, and yet you feel tired throughout the day? This is a sign you aren’t getting enough sleep. One reason your sleep is suffering is that you aren’t moving enough during the day.
According to Jeff Miller, a certified personal trainer: People who exercise sleep faster and better than inactive people.
Also, a 2017 research published in the Advances in Preventative Medicine journal found that exercising improves sleep quality and quantity, regardless of the time of day you exercise.
Thus, if you have been having trouble sleeping, adding more activity in your daily routine can help you be more productive while working from home.
2. Are You Always Feeling Hungry?
Typically, if you’re sitting or sleeping all day, you shouldn’t need as much food, right? However, your body can trick you into thinking it’s not getting enough fuel. Thus, if you’re constantly feeling hungry but you’re inactive; that’s because your body is producing a lot of ghrelin—the hunger hormone.d
Exercising is one of the best natural appetite suppressants, and people who move more experience fewer feelings of hunger and a regulated eating pattern.
Can’t stop eating? It’s time to move more so you can regulate your eating pattern.
3. Does Your Lower Back Hurt?
Spending too much time in bed or on the couch can leave you with a stiff lower back, especially in the mornings. Also, you may experience lower back pain during the day as you work from your desk or even at night while sitting on the couch. You can easily eliminate the back pain by moving more, especially if you don’t have underlying conditions that cause back pain.
A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that any form of exercise—whether aerobic or strength training, can reduce the risk of lower back pain by 25% to 40%. Exercising strengthens your muscles so that they can be able to support your back when you’re sitting, standing, or moving.
Also, sitting on an ergonomic chair while working in the office or from home, can improve your sitting posture, which might eliminate the lower back pain.
4. Are You Feeling Stressed and Tense?
Stress levels have never been higher than today because of the coronavirus pandemic. The uncertainty coupled with the fear of getting the virus is making many of us more stressed than ever before. And it’s not surprising that nixing your daily workout routine or leaving your home is becoming more stressful.
You might not have noticed it, but moving daily was helping you deal with stress and tension in a healthy way.
Research by Harvard Medical School found that when the body is going through physiological stress, it experiences physical symptoms, such as chest tightening, headaches, muscle tightening, and neck pain.
Luckily, moving more or exercising resets the way your body reacts to stress. Exercising eliminates and lessens the stress symptoms; this allows you to think clearly and be more productive.
5. Can’t Stay Focused?
Have you been spacing out during Zoom meetings? Or have you been scrolling through social media when you should be working on a project? This is a sign you haven’t been exercising consistently. Lack of focus on daily activities is a sign you aren’t moving your body enough.
According to Dr. John J. Ratey from Harvard Medical School, physical exercise resets the brain for maximum productivity on all fronts. Exercising boosts alertness and attention, which makes it easier to digest new information. So, the next time you find yourself losing focus while working on a spreadsheet, consider exercising more.
So, How Can You Move More?
Remember, even if you exercise regularly, you’re still damaging your health by sitting for 10 hours or more a day. Because prolonged sitting is harmful regardless if you work out regularly or not.
However, the wonderful news is that adding more movement in your daily routine is relatively easy. All you need to do is to make changes in your routine, particularly when in the office.
1. Use a Standing Desk
A standing desk is a desk that’s built at a height that’s comfortable for you to work while standing. Standing desks not only help you burn more calories, but they also help you remain focused.
You don’t have to go out and invest in an expensive standing desk because there are several models of affordable desks, such as the SmartDesk 2 - Premium that you can easily adjust to a better standing height. Some guides can also help you modify your current desk to a standing desk. For example, you could raise your desk by putting sturdy boxes or crates below each of the legs.
2. Get an Active Chair
Active sitting can help you move more while sitting. This is because the instability in the base of an active chair gives you room to rock, tip, twist, or move while sitting.
Active chairs, such as the ergonomic stool are safe to use and they allow you to sit comfortably and quickly initiate movement if you want to. These chairs also engage and strengthen your core while sitting, which boosts your overall health and wellbeing.
3. Take Small Movement Breaks
Make it a habit to get up from your desk and move every 20 minutes. You can use a timer to remind you to move. Also, walk around your office when you’re on a phone call, or simply do some squats or stretches. These are some simple ways to sneak a workout into your workday.
Also, avoid eating lunch at your desk, and take a walk after lunch.
4. Drink from Small Cups
If you use a small cup of coffee or water, you’ll need to get up more frequently from your desk. Having to get up often to refill your coffee means you’ll be moving more than you’d if you were using a large mug.
Even if you can’t go to the gym or your favorite fitness class, it’s essential to make moving a priority—especially if any of the 5 signs above sounds familiar. You can get more movement by working from a standing desk, dancing around your home, or drinking from small cups.
No matter how you decide to move, getting out of your seat can help with these issues. Don’t forget that moving more is worth the effort because it keeps you fit and healthy, and this boosts your productivity.
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