We are going to give you three tips on how to stay more active whilst working from home. Why would we care about that? Let’s see… Did you know that the number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years? 3.7 million employees in the US work from home (not counting freelancers, digital nomads). This amazing opportunity to save yourself the hassle of daily commute or office pleasantries unfortunately comes at a cost – even less movement and exercise when working from home, than usual. But it doesn’t have to be so – let us give you 3 easily applicable ways how you can stay healthy and exercise whilst you work – from home, the office or remotely from a beach.
It’s not that you are extra active when working in an office compared to home office. But a home office doesn’t come with the added benefit of walking to and from it (and no, bedroom to lounge and occassional toilet walks don’t count as much). You can get up, make yourself a coffee and start working, get immersed in work, then realize that 5 hours have passed. All sitting on your bum.
That is a long time to be sitting and not moving. Back pain, weak body, drowsiness are just a start.
Changing that is easier than you think – after all, you are at home, no one sees you! You can do all kinds of movements that you wouldn’t do in an office….
To stay healthy and move during office / seated work, you need to follow these steps:
1. Learn how to exercise and engage your body whilst not actively exercising
You can stay active even whilst sitting! Why is it important? Because you spend most of your time sitting or standing next to your computer when working. The more active this time is, the better for your body. Think about it: what’s better in your opinion – sitting and working for 7 hours and fitting one 20 min exercise session somewhere, or sitting actively – engaging your core or other muscles during all these 7 hours? Of course it’s best if you do both, if you find time to exercise, go to the gym, go for a walk. But I know from my life that this isn’t always possible. I plan to exercise, but urgent work decides for me not to. But if I can be more active whilst doing this urgent work, that’s certainly an improvement.
You can either use specialised furniture, like healthy office chairs or overall exercise equipment for home like balance boards. The idea is to use furniture, equipment or ways of sitting / standing, that engage your muscles and avoid slouching.
2. Integrate exercise and active movement whilst walking around the house
You might not want to do burpees (you’re welcome to, but it might distort your work routine too much – sweat and gasping for air and all that…), but you can stay active by integrating simple exercises into your daily routine. For example:
- instead of walking around the house, jump or do lunges (long step with a sort of squat) – for example on your way to the toilet 🙂
- get some home exercise tools and equipment and keep it in your way (so on the way to the toilet, you can use that door pull up bar).
- taking rubbish out? Take the steps, run there and back, or go the longer way round. Don’t take the lift. Don’t worry about carrying heavier bags from the shop. Just make sure you maintain a good posture (protects your back).
- adopt a “stairs over escalator” mindset – every time you are faced with an easier (escalator) and a more physically challenging option (stairs), choose the latter. Each time you’ll do a little bit of exercise instead of letting your muscles atrophy further on an escalator or a lift.
Simple things add up if done every day. Make them the good ones!
3. Change your mindset: remind yourself to interrupt work and do exercise or change posture
You can learn a hundred ways to stay active whilst working from home or an office, you can buy every piece of furniture aimed at this goal – but they will only work if you remember to use them + if you remind yourself to take a short break to move, then continue working.
We think that these are the best apps and tools that help you with that. Our brain is notoriously bad at remembering to exercise, when we are immersed at work. But simple reminders in your calendar throughout your day, or an app that tells you to move in chosen intervals, or stickers around the house (on the toilet door… from the inside?) – will help you stay more active. And as a bonus, they will take the mental effort of remembering away – so you can focus on your work.
This is probably the most important step out of the three – if you don’t change your mindset, you will continue sitting passively. Set up your routine and environment in a way that makes movement and exercise automatic, that gently reminds you to exercise whilst not disturbing your daily tasks. Don’t rely on your memory or willpower, they get tired whilst working.