Over 3 years ago I finally decided that I needed to take action about my weight. I was uncomfortable, unhappy and definitely unfit. I had a very sedentary job and spent long periods of time sat at a computer typically, going in search of biscuits and crisps was my only movement and exercise. I would then drive home and relax from my tiring day with a glass of wine or two.

In a moment of madness (possibly desperation) I booked a weeklong residential bootcamp. This became a turning point for me like pressing a reset button. I joined a gym and began to change my eating habits. I thought I had cracked it I was going to look and feel amazing.

So, 3 years on I was a regular at the gym 5 times per week, I’d dropped nearly 3 stone in weight but still borderline overweight and in the middle of a lockdown. I recall having a zoom check in with my coach from the gym – “So Alison what are your goals?” to which I replied, “I just want to leave this lockdown the same weight I started.”

I recently watched a video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHRIP9dTKe0

Which made reference to the difference between two people with the same body composition one with a sedentary job and one with an active job. The person with the active job can burn up to 2,000 more calories per day. Therefore, challenging me to think about my overall activity levels through the day rather than getting up completing a gym session and assuming that job done I was healthy.

As we leave lockdown for the third and (hopefully) final time, I am reflecting on what I have been questioning regarding my own activity levels and the discussions I have had with my clients. Talking to clients I am aware of the impact lockdown has had on our bodies, a common discussion in clinic is about trigger points around the shoulder blade area often seen in office workers and clients with hobbies that involve sitting such as reading, puzzling and jig-sawing – all of which seem to have been on the rise during lockdown.

No one can stop working or give up the hobbies they love however here are some techniques that I use to create balance and address my concerns about my sedentary life.

Stretching breaks

Two key areas where I find tension building up when I have been sedentary are in my neck and the front of my hips. I therefore prioritise taking small breaks to stretch these areas using 3 simple stretches as shared in my video here https://youtu.be/cSjWrsNdPKs

Movement breaks

On the days I have a great deal of “office style” work to do or rainy days when I know I am likely to avoid going outside I ensure I make a plan at the start of the day. I break the day up into blocks and ensure that between each block I engage in movement. This may be a walk around the block, a skipping session or I choose an exercise and over the course of the day ensure 100 repetitions are completed.

Hydration breaks

I start the day with a long drink of water which seems to set me up with a good habit for the rest of the day. I use a water bottle to enable me to take note of how much I drink through the day. My goal is 4 bottles per day which is around 2 litres which increases to 6 bottles when the weather is warmer. At the start of the day I draw 4 circles on a board and each time I finish my bottle and refill I colour the circle in.