As life slowly goes back to "normal", a return to the office could provide more challenges than just getting out of your sweats and back into work clothes.
It could genuinely prove a hurdle to being active.
While working from home, many people would have found they had more time to devote to exercise. That could be going for a walk or ride around your neighbourhood, hitting the park for some running, or doing a strength and cardio workout in the comfort of your own home.
You may have settled into a good routine of using what would normally be travel time or get ready for work time instead for exercise. And the best part about exercising at home, many would have found, is that it is also easy to have a quick shower and get straight back into work.
Returning to the office, as many are starting to do or will be doing in coming weeks, all of a sudden takes an hour or two out of your day.
So, the challenge will be finding ways to ensure you stay active when this happens.
One way is to walk or cycle to work, if that is feasible.
Use your lunch break for exercise, or head into work earlier and get in some activity before starting your work day. A recent pilot trial showed short workouts can be of benefit.
A workplace-based High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) study conducted by physical activity researchers from the University of Newcastle (UON) and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) found participants felt better, slept better and were more motivated and fitter after just eight weeks.
The 'WorkHIIT' pilot trial enlisted almost 50 UON staff members with predominantly sedentary office jobs, many of whom were sitting for much of the day. Half of the group underwent two to three HIIT sessions of 10 minutes duration per week for the eight weeks, while the remainder continued their normal routines.
Trial leader Dr Narelle Eather said HIIT training - combining shorts bursts of cardiovascular or strength exercise with rests - gives "maximum bang for buck" and reported the study findings could have important implications for health and lifelong participation in physical activity.
She said monitoring showed that the workout participants reached and maintained above-target intensity levels for heart rate (85 per cent average) and reported feeling better immediately after their short bout of high-intensity activity. There were also significant benefits for muscular fitness, weekday sleep and motivation to exercise.
"It was really only 15 minutes of exercise a week because half the time was resting, and we saw significant changes in [participants'] muscular fitness," Dr Eather said.
"The participants really liked it and you could see over time they got better at exercises, more confident, and you could see if they stuck with it there was the potential to keep improving.
"There's lots of arguments around HIIT training to say it's not a good public health initiative because people don't like working hard. Traditionally, studies have said the harder you work then people start to disengage because they don't like it and it doesn't make them feel good.
"We found in all of our HIIT studies, that participants report feeling better straight after doing HIIT training than when they showed up. It shows that this has potential for a public health strategy for people who exercise or don't exercise or don't have much time.
"It makes them feel good, so they walk back to the office and feel good about exercise despite the fact that they just worked at high intensity. So, that was a good finding for us, knowing that actually doing these type of exercises is well received by people."
Dr Eather said workplaces have great potential for health promotion but are under-utilised.
So, if you are getting ready for a return to the office, or "normal" life, and trying to work out how you are going to keep working out, maybe give some short HIIT sessions a go. Enlist workmates or hit up your boss to schedule exercise breaks.
Another option might be a workplace virtual challenge, such as The Bloody Long Walk (bloodylongwalk.com.au) where participants walk 35 kilometres between August 1 and 10 to help find a cure for Mitochondrial disease.
Option 1 (lower intensity): 5 minutes x (10 bodyweight squats, 10 push-ups, 10 step-ups); 5min x (10 walking lunges, 10 horizontal/bent-over rows, 10 shoulder press); 5min x (10 Russian twist, 10 glute bridge, 10 opposing arm and leg extension). Rest 1-2min between each set.
Option 2 (moderate intensity): 5min x (10 weighted squats, 2 push-ups with 10 mountain climbers, 10 plank jacks); 5min x (10 weighted lunges each leg, 10 dead lifts with a row, 10 glute bridge); 5min x (10 ab crunches, 50 skips, 4 short shuttle runs). Rest 1-2 minutes between each set.
Option 3 (vigorous intensity): 5min x (10 weighted squats with press, 5 push-ups with 20 mountain climbers, 5 squat jumps); 5min x (10 plyo lunges, 20 walking lunges, 20-second wall squat hold); 5min x (10 dead lifts with a row, 5 burpees, 6 short shuttles). Rest 1-2min between each set.
- Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. firstname.lastname@example.org.