Working From Home: Stay Active & Healthy

Since remote working has become the new normal for many people, building routines and motivating yourself to stay active can seem pretty challenging at times. Working from home also presents some ergonomic challenges as most of us aren’t equipped with proper chairs and desks to work comfortably.

While Valiant can help you set up a healthier workspace with ergonomic chairs and desks - sitting for long periods can increase your risk of developing other health issues down the track.

We spoke with Liz Valbe, Personal Trainer at Plus Fitness Alexandria, to share her tips on how you can stay healthy and productive while working remotely. Start moving and get those much welcome happy endorphins!

What are the benefits of exercising?

Physical activity has so many benefits to our health and wellbeing; studies have shown that even a single bout of exercise enhances immune system activity and increases antibody responses in the body. Regular exercise can:

  • Reduce resting blood pressure
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Improve sleep, energy levels, and libido
  • Improve strength
  • Help maintain your ability to do everyday activities

It can also improve your mood and cognitive function, helping you to reduce anxiety and depression.

Other than setting up our workspaces ergonomically, how else can we look after our posture?

As most people find themselves sitting all day for work, it's really important we take a proactive approach to look after our posture. Poor posture can affect us in more ways than just how we look. It can reduce your strength, affect your balance and can potentially lead to other problems down the track. Good posture helps keep your muscles and bones in correct alignment, reducing your risk of injury and pain. Most people have very tight chest muscles, due to the sitting nature of our lifestyle, so in most cases, strengthening the back muscles can help to improve posture. Some examples you could try at home include bent-over rows, band pull apart and face pulls.

What activities can we do if we just need to get up and move out of our chair during the day?

Doing 5-10 minute mobility drills can make a big difference in the way you’re feeling. For example, you could try the:

  • Cat and cow pose
  • Open book
  • Cobra
  • Spiderman lunge with rotation

In addition to this, muscle activation can help reduce tightness in the opposing muscles. For example:

  • Glute bridges – enables you to relieve tension in the hip flexors (they usually get very tight when sitting for long periods).
  • Plank and side plank hold – activates the core muscles, relieving tension in the lower back and once activated, also helps to support your spine.
  • Bent over T-raise – this activates upper back muscles, relieving tension in the chest and shoulders.

How can we keep it interesting and fun?

I recommend setting yourself small goals, gradually increasing it over time and make sure to focus on the quality of the exercises. This will keep you motivated to exercise regularly. For example, you might set a goal to do 60 squats (with proper technique) in 60 seconds or do 10 push-ups on your toes. Once you know the difference between your current level and your goal, you can set a plan together, to gradually do more every week until you reach your goal. Once this goal is reached, set another one and start working towards it. Best way to keep things interesting is to compete with yourself and aim to do something a little better or little more than you did the last time. Here are some strategies you can use to change up the workouts:

  • Change up the tempo – perform exercises with a slower pace or incorporate a pause at the top or the bottom of the movement.
  • Increase your range of motion – simply going deeper in your squats or push-ups can help you add more variety to your workout.
  • Increase the number of repetitions and/or sets you’re performing – if it’s getting too easy, try challenging yourself a little more.
  • Incorporate single-leg or single-arm movements – these are great if you really want to focus on specific muscle groups and isolate your movement.
  • Change the variation – for instance, use 1,5 repetitions or pulses.
  • Improve your technique – focus on correcting your technique and enhancing your muscle mind connection to increase muscle fibre recruitment so you can have a more effective workout.

Top 10 bodyweight exercises

Lastly, here are some simple bodyweight exercises you can try at home just to get your body moving. The amount of time you dedicate to it depends on your goals, fitness level and lifestyle. The most important is to find something that works for you and that you are able to fit easily within your days. Whether it's 15 minutes everyday of 1 hour sessions a few times a week, it doesn't really matter as long as it works for you. The more you enjoy your workouts, the more likely you are to stick to it.

I recommend to try different ways and schedules to start narrowing down what structure works best for you. Keep in mind also what's realistic and enjoyable, so it's more sustainable in the long run.

Liz Valbe is a Personal Trainer at Plus Fitness Alexandria. Originally from Estonia, Liz discovered her passion for health and fitness after moving to Australia and completing certificates 3 and 4 in fitness. Liz believes that exercise must be enjoyable so that it can be sustainable and is committed to educating her clients on how to balance training and recovery and support their overall wellbeing by improving their body composition, overcoming exercise-related challenges and understanding the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle. You can contact Liz via

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