Keep active for a healthy body and mind!

Once again, we find ourselves in a national lockdown, and at the time of writing, we are only permitted to leave our homes for a few essential reasons, with outdoor exercise limited to once a day.

Exercise is an extremely important way to support a healthy mind and body. It is well documented that exercise can improve symptoms in people with anxiety and/or stress-related disorders. It’s therefore important to consider how you can support your employees in remaining active throughout lockdown, which in turn will support their wellbeing and mental health.

Please see below several tips to share with your staff:

  • Get up and move often. This may be taking a short break, using a standing desk or walking when taking a call
  • Break up the day by going for a walk at lunch
  • Get outside to exercise; fresh air is a natural mood booster
  • Consider yoga or tai chi; these are both fantastic for reducing stress and can easily be done indoors
  • Incorporate exercise into your morning routine so you can feel the benefits in your mood and performance throughout the day

The World Health Organisation have put together a range of simple exercises that can be done each day to help you keep active.

In addition to sharing guidance and information with staff, you may want to consider:

  • Organising virtual workout sessions for employees to attend
  • Setting up challenges such as a steps competition
  • Implementing a cycle to work scheme for when measures are relaxed

Please see below more helpful tips and resources that can be used to keep you, your employees and their families physically active.

Home Workouts

With outdoors exercise limited to once a day and the winter weather meaning it’s nicer to stay indoors, one way of staying active is to try home workouts. There are plenty of videos, programmes and plans available online to enjoy. Here are just a few:

Cardio – try free 30-minute workouts with Joe Wicks
https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1
Strength – 30-minute pilates workouts with Trifecta Pilates
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGyYSva87WwY-XG7VOlYdfg
Flexibility – Yoga sessions with Sarah Beth
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-0CzRZeML8zw4pFTVDq65Q

Ergonomics

In addition to keeping physically active, it is also important to remember to take regular breaks whilst working from home and to regularly move and stretch.

Musculoskeletal issues such as back pain and aches in the neck and shoulders affect thousands of people. Many now temporarily working from home will be doing so in conditions that are not ideal and therefore it is even more important to practice stretching exercises.

Cardinus Risk Management have designed a smartphone app, HealthyWorking, which contains 19 instructional videos demonstrating a range of stretches designed to keep backs, shoulders, necks, arms and wrists free from strain and injury.

The HealthyWorking smartphone app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store now. Search for HealthyWorking or Cardinus

Keeping Kids Active

Lockdown means that children are stuck indoors, with schools, clubs and sports activities forced to close. As well as this, the weather is cold and wet, so playing in the garden is often not an option like it was during the first lockdown. Factor in modern technology, smartphones, YouTube and games consoles etc. and it is highly likely that children are not getting the daily exercise they need.

According to NHS guidelines* children and young people need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day to burn off calories and keep their bodies healthy. It also keeps bones strong and encourages muscle strength and flexibility.

However, for many parents who are juggling home working and home schooling, keeping them active is not an easy task.

Please see below some simple tips that may help:

  • If you have a computer games console, encourage your children to play games that make them move, such as dance or karaoke games.
  • Get your children to help with household tasks that will get them up and moving. This could be hoovering, cleaning (small jobs like polishing the table) or helping to prepare dinner.
  • Introduce timed windows for screen time (TV/phones/computers/tablets). You could also consider rewards, such as the more activity or help around the house done, the more screen time they get in a day.
  • If you have several children, encourage the older ones to teach the younger ones skills such as catching, throwing, running etc.
  • Take them on lunchtime walks.
  • Organise treasure hunts around the house.

There are also a range of online activity sessions for children to participate in:

For more advice and information on services to support your staff, please contact our team on 020 7543 2817.

*https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-children-and-young-people/