For many of us, working from home has come with a unique set of challenges – from unruly Wi-Fi connection to having to take Zoom calls and keep the kids entertained at the same time. One of the most difficult aspects of being desk-bound is maintaining fitness; with the lack of office commute, plus having to meet the demands of family life, it can be difficult to find time to exercise.
With the help of Nike trainer Naomi Heffernan, who has recently partnered with Next to deliver a home workouts series, we’ve put together a few tips to help you to keep fit while balancing the stresses of childcare and working from home.
1. Pencil a workout into your diary
In these unprecedented times, it can feel like there’s always something more important that demands attention. But because of this, keeping on top of our physical and mental wellbeing is even more essential, so that we’re able to deal with the responsibilities of busy modern life. Try to treat finding time to exercise with the same importance as you would a work call.
Prioritising your health and fitness not only ensures you’re able to be there for the people who matter, but it’s also a great way of establishing a routine. Play around with different times that suit you – some people like to set their alarms early and go for a jog before taking the kids to school, while others prefer time away from the desk at lunch. Whichever you prefer, mark out some time in your planner and try to get into a habit.
Naomi, who is also a Barry’s instructor, says it doesn’t matter when you work out – whether it’s morning or evening – as both have their benefits. The former facilitates that “post workout buzz” to kick-start your day and rev up your metabolism, while the latter is when energy levels are at their peak.
“If you decide to work out in the evening, you’re probably going to lift heavier and maybe run faster than you would in the morning purely because your body is so warmed up, you’ve been up for 12 hours already and you’re raring to go.”
2. Set realistic goals for yourself
It’s more difficult than ever to plan from one day to the next. Not everyone can force themselves to be up at five every morning, and some days you just aren’t going to be able to manage childcare, respond to work pressures, and carve out time for a quality exercise session.
Establishing a rigorous timetable with little to no leeway for unforeseen circumstances will only set yourself up for failure. And once you find you’re unable to reach the expectations you set for yourself, it’s very easy to fall into a pessimistic mind-set.
Instead, make sure you’re staying flexible, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. If something isn’t working out you can always reschedule. Above all, be honest with yourself – if you find that you’re not enjoying an activity, then switch it out for another.
3. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
Staying fit and healthy isn’t all about exercise. There’s a tendency when working from home to make regular trips to the fridge and while no one is going to shame you for that, it’s important to eat healthily and to drink plenty of water.
Alongside the workout routines, Naomi’s videos offer advice and guidance around nutrition and what to eat before and after a workout.
“My go-to is something like oats, porridge, muesli, bananas, nut butters – they are sources of really slow-releasing energies so will give you the longest amount of fuel for the longest time.”
4. Incorporate indoor workouts
Having to work from home and manage childcare means outdoor exercise isn’t always going to be possible. Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that can be done indoors with no need for expensive equipment – or any equipment at all.
“All you need is a bit of space, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a mat as long as you have got enough room to be moving around in,” says Naomi, who’s been a teacher in the fitness industry since 2014.
A few great indoor workouts include:
- Yoga / Pilates
- Star jumps / burpees
- Push ups / Sit ups
Many classes are available online, and you can get your kids involved too. Nike and Next have teamed up to deliver a series of educational home workout videos, led by Naomi herself. Naomi’s videos will be uploaded every week to the Next site, YouTube channel and Instagram page, and will focus on different workouts that you and your kids can do at home with no equipment necessary.
Finding the time and motivation to exercise can be a struggle, particularly when juggling home and work responsibilities. But once you establish keeping fit as part of your routine, you’ll find it does wonders for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
For all the workout inspiration you need, as well as guidance on nutrition and sportswear, visit the Nike workouts hub on Next’s website, available until Thursday 29th October. Check out the rest of Family Friendly Working’s articles on life as a parent too.