Wellbeing & working from home hub
Ways to stay physically well

Staying healthy & active

When you're working from home, it's important to stay healthy and active. There are lots of different ways you can do this and the team at Strathclyde Sport are here to help!

Take a look below at some exercises you can do at your desk as well as some tips and advice for staying healthy and active. 

 Workouts on social media

Strathclyde Sport members have access to a new virtual platform – MoveGB – which has two live exercise classes every day, as well as a catalogue of all the Instagram Live workouts recorded since March last year.

Make sure to follow Strathclyde Sport on Instagram for Wellbeing Wednesdays from Strathclyde Sport’s Active Lifestyle Officer.

For further advice and support please feel free to contact:

For any other enquiries please contact seona.mckenzie@strath.ac.uk

 Desk/chair exercises

Let's start off with some exercises you can do at your desk. Take a look at our demo video and follow the instructions:

Before you begin, bring yourself forward on your chair and keep your chest lifted.

  • Seated toe raises (B) – Maintain good posture. Lift your toes up to the ceiling. Control movement on the way down
  • Seated toe raise with leg raise (I) – Lift leg off chair and engage quad muscle. Complete toe raises
  • Shoulder raises (B) – Maintain good posture on chair. Lift shoulders up to ears and lower with control
  • Seated leg marches (I) – Maintain good posture. Lift alternate leg. Increase speed to increase intensity but keep the movement controlled
  • Seated narrow row (B) – Raise both arms until they are in line with shoulders. Pull your arms back and engage your back muscles
  • Seated wide row (B) – As previous but bring elbows wide as you pull back
  • Sit to stand (I) – Maintain good posture and use hands to stabilise if required. Push up through legs come to a stand. Driving down through your heels come back into a seated position
  • Single leg sit to stand (A) – Lifting one leg off the floor. Drive down through your heel and try to keep chest lifted
  • Shoulder stretch (B) – Stretch arm across the body
  • Quad stretch (B) – Raise leg up and hug it towards your body
  • Chest stretch (B) – Raise arms up and then open them keeping elbows soft
  • Upper back stretch (B) – Raise arms up and then bring hands together and then dip head and neck through the circle

(B) = Beginner
(I) = Intermediate
(A) = Advanced

Sets and reps are individual but we suggest completing each exercise ten times through (if single arm/leg then ten on each side). For all stretches hold for 10-15 seconds. For a more challenging workout go through the exercise list two/three times. Take recovery as and when you need to.



Active travel

It's well known that regular physical activity is key to our health and wellbeing, but finding dedicated time to exercise can be tricky.

Walking, cycling, and wheeling are great forms of exercise and have been shown to have a positive impact on our wellbeing.

It’s easy to build active travel into your normal routine as a healthier, cheaper form of transport for short journeys of a few miles, like going to the shop, commuting, or visiting a friend!

Good for your body

Regular walking and cycling can help you manage a healthy weight, strengthen muscles, and reduce your risk of some serious conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

E-bikes are also a great source of exercise, as they simply lower the effort required to cycle! This can be great if hills are a struggle, or joint pains hold you back from traditional cycling.

Good for your mind

It’s also proven that cycling and walking can benefit your mental health. Regular walking can reduce the risk of depression, stress and anxiety and promote positive mental health by helping you to sleep better and enhance your connection with your local area.

Getting out in green spaces, like parks and public gardens, is especially effective in boosting your mood by helping you connect to nature.

Cycling allows you to go further afield and explore new parks, a great way to unwind and relax.

Getting started

If it's been a while, or if you're learning to cycle for the first time as an adult, and you're a little anxious about getting started, don't worry! There's plenty of advice out there. Take a look:

What do your colleagues like about cycling?

In the Universities 2019/20 Travel Survey, we asked people that cycle to work what attracted them to cycling, here are some of the top answers:

It's healthy for us and the environment

Bicycles save more than 238million gallons of fuel every year.

It's good exercise

Cycling can help reduce chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

It's fast

You can travel three times faster on a bike than you can walk.

It's cheap

Aside from the cost of buying or hiring a bike, cycling is free! It's also is 20 times cheaper to maintain a bicycle than a car.

It's enjoyable

As a great form of exercise, cycling releases endorphins which can help you feel better while lowering stress levels.

It keeps you fit

Cycling is easy on the body so it's a great low-impact option to maintain your fitness levels

 Our top tips

We all want to keep active and moving for our health but what is the best way to incorporate this into our daily routine when we are indoors or social distancing?

Only exercise if you feel well enough

Try and be sensible when embarking on any exercise or activity. Listen to your body and be sure to stop or avoid exercise if/when you feel you have to. Don’t be misled by claims of “sweating out a cold”. There is nothing to be gained by pushing yourself when you are not ready to do so. Rest and recovery are much more important.

Use an appropriate exercise intensity

During this period many of us have had our normal routines interrupted and exercise may have decreased or stopped altogether. Be sure to consider this when starting your new exercise journey and pick the right level of exercise for you. Too much too soon could be determinantal and may put you off exercising altogether. Remember even a little movement can go a long way and try not to put pressure on yourself regarding the amount and intensity of activity that you take part in.

Ditch the car for short journeys

Simply choosing to travel actively for short journeys can help you tally up lots of exercise in your normal day. Whether it’s to the shops,

Take a walking meeting

If you have a meeting that can be done over the phone, break up the time spent at your desk by chatting while on the move.

Stick to an active routine

Routine is important for both mental and physical health. Plan what level and amount of activity you want to achieve in the next week. Write it down and stick to it.

Go for walk/jog/run

If you are able and feel comfortable going outside, then get some fresh air. Try to walk to a spot that you know will be quiet and not crowded. Find a time in the day that works around your schedule and set yourself a target of steps/distance that you want to achieve. Websites like the daily mile are great for motivation. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside and have a garden, then utilise the outdoors space for activity.

Indoor workouts

If you do not have access to an outdoor space and do not feel comfortable going outside then indoor workouts can be accessed online and through the Strathclyde Sport physical activity suggestions links. You will be able to find a library of workouts and classes available for you to use which will cater for every level of fitness.

Workout online as a group

Encourage your friends, colleagues or partner to join in a workout with you. If you’re missing the social element of classes, then arrange to meet friends online and workout as group.

Stretch & relax

Use your indoors space to stretch and relax. Yoga, Pilates and stretching can all help to calm us down and relieve stress. If online yoga is not for you then look at five different stretches that you can complete and aim to spend around ten minutes on them throughout the day. Working from home can encourage us to stay in one position all day. It is important to consider circulation exercises such as stretching to keep us supple and less stiff.

Use house-hold equipment as weights

Tins, water bottles and heavier items can all be used as workout tools if you do not have any in your home. Try to be imaginative and use items such as chests or steps to do different exercises on. Look at the different surfaces in your home and see if any of them could be utilised within a workout. If you don’t have any equipment, then bodyweight training is still very effective at both muscle building and cardiovascular training.

Try to incorporate more movement into your day

For example, when watching TV use the advert breaks as a chance to do three or four minutes of light exercise. When boiling the kettle use the time to pace around the kitchen. You could also consider setting an alarm and walking around the house at regular intervals. You could use breakfast/lunch and dinner time as a chance to do chair-based exercises before you eat (eg 10 x sit to stands or calf raises). Use the facilities you have around you such as stairs or steps and try to walk up and down the stairs regularly if possible.

Games & dancing

Use games or dancing to incorporate activity. High energy games can be both fun and useful when looking to increase activity. Dancing to music can boost mood as well as burn calories.

Pick a hobby

Pick a hobby that keeps you moving and upright. Examples of this could be cooking, painting, flower arranging etc. Activity doesn’t have to be working out. There are numerous ways you can keep active just by increasing your movement during the day.

Resources: The Daily Mile

University of Strathclyde Occupational Health Physiotherapy Service

During this period of homeworking this service, which is funded by the University, will be available online. Musculoskeletal disorders can cause loss of mobility, pain and it can impact on your ability to do your job. For support with any difficulties please contact our Physiotherapist Julie Gray directly who will organise a consultation and can:

  • assess, diagnose, advise & support staff to facilitate self-management
  • help limit suffering & restore functional capacity
  • prevent deterioration

Physiotherapist led-low level therapeutic Pilates class

This low-level class is aimed at staff recovering from illness, or who may have long-term chronic conditions or a vulnerability or injury that makes exercise difficult. It can help build confidence if you are not a regular exerciser and does not need any specialist equipment or clothing. This class is available free to University staff. Please contact Julie directly for details.

Julie Gray 
email: physio.fit.julie@gmail.com 
telephone: 07775 841588

You can also contact occupationalhealth@strath.ac.uk for support.

 Useful contacts

Pregnancy exercise support

If you would like help or advice with pregnancy exercise support you can contact:

Active lifestyle officer

Catherine Mann is Strathclyde Sport's Active Lifestyle Officer. If any students or staff would like any advice about using activities to improve wellbeing, they can contact Catherine at c.mann@strath.ac.uk.

Active Travel Coordinator

Neil McBeth is Strathclyde’s Active Travel Coordinator in the Sustainability team. If you would like any information on how active travel can improve your wellbeing and the support available please contact him at neil.mcbeth@strath.ac.uk or visit the Sustainable Strathclyde Travel Page.