Wellness|Keeping in time during the pandemic

Khalid Ahmad | 24th September 2020

My background

I’m Khalid, an athlete and Vice-Captain of the Men’s University rowing team. I’m currently studying Sports, Exercise and Medical Sciences at King’s College London… so it’s safe to say I’m an advocate for health and wellness! I’ve personally benefited from exercise and nutrition throughout my personal and professional life and think it is more important than ever for our at-home workforce in light of the current pandemic. I wanted to share my experiences with you.


The world of work has changed significantly – and some could say indefinitely- over the past few months. The UK government declared one of the worst recessions of current times… as you all undoubtedly know! The MFP (Multi-Factor productivity) in the UK has fallen by 2.6% in Q1 of 2020 as compared to Q1 in 2019. This is mainly due to the furlough scheme put in place where many sectors couldn’t continue working during the pandemic due to their nature of work.

For the rest of us working from home is now the new norm with 46.6% of the workforce doing some work from home at the height of the pandemic. One thing has remained constant, however… the need to exercise, keep fit and eat healthy in these uncertain times. 

Our mental health has taken a massive hit with rates of depression increasing rapidly since the introduction of the nationwide lockdown; and with the closure of gyms, indoor sports venues and leisure centres people are not able to participate in the activities they once did.  Exercising at home has never been more important.

exercise | is it everyone’s favourite thing?

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Happiness is an important factor in everyone’s lives. Everyone is entitled to it and everyone has their own way of achieving it. Many people find happiness through sport or physical exercise and with the recent news of Gymshark becoming a billion-pound company I think this statement holds true. My personal happiness stems from my rowing career, which has been a constant source of joy throughout my life.

I see my sport as an outlet for all the stresses I am currently experiencing, it allows me to take my mind off my work and apply it to something else. This is a proven method to decrease stress and improve productivity in the workplace, whether it be through art, music or sports.


It has been observed in many studies that those who participate in sports clubs will go on to live a happier and better life with higher levels of self-esteem. Exercise has also been linked to success and happiness… Self-esteem is very important when it comes to happiness levels, therefore leading to higher productivity levels, those who participate in college sports teams report significantly higher levels of self-esteem and happiness and I’m sure this translates directly to adults in the workplace also.


During the pandemic we’ve seen many people burnout from their work as they either have an increased workload due to furlough of colleagues or the fact that they are not aware of the increased hours they are spending working. This has had a significant impact on happiness levels with a general trend over the past 3 years leading to a 20% reduction in workplace happiness when compared to this time 3 years ago.

 In 2020 more people are working a sedentary job in either an office or at home. With this increasingly static lifestyle and with people sitting at desks for between four and nine hours a day, 81% of the office workforce, comes many health problems; such as increased blood pressure, increased fat retention, high blood sugar and most prominently decreased energy expenditure. There are many things to reduce this risk but again the most obvious is to increase activity levels; take breaks every 30 minutes and go for a walk, take the stairs instead of the lift and get off the tube early and walk the rest of the way. 

Joining a sports club/team even if it’s just socially will drastically improve self-esteem, happiness and also workplace productivity; coupled with good healthy nutrition the increasingly growing at home workforce can also be the happiest.

We’re all human and in order to function in the most efficient manner possible we need to be treated as such. We all require downtime, exercise and adequate nutrition in order for our brains and bodies to do the things they do the best. If we look after our bodies they’ll look after us, doing what they do best.

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