Even before the pandemic struck, working from home was rising in popularity because of the number of benefits it offers for both employers and employees. However, as we all know, there are quite a few problems that come with remote working.
With so many of us juggling our work and personal lives in the comfort of your homes, most of us have trouble shrugging off the couch’s call. This is probably why you’re searching for tips on how to stay active while working from home.
Don’t worry, though. Whether you’ve quarantined yourself or tend to work from home for extended periods of time, we’re about to introduce you to fun and simple ways of staying active when you’re stuck in your home.
Can We Quantify Healthy Physical Activity?
Of course we can. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises us to get at least 150-minutes of physical activity per week. At first, this may sound like an impossible number. However, if you split the numbers, it will come down to 30-minutes of physical activity spread out over 5 days a week.
It is vital that you stay active, especially if a huge chunk of your day is spent sitting down at a desk, couch, or kitchen table. Other than staying active, involving yourself in physical activities will benefit you in many ways including:
Strengthening your muscles
Improving your immune system
Losing or maintaining weight
Improving mental health
How to Stay Active If You’re Working From Home
If you’re stuck working from home, it is very easy to get stuck in front of a computer until you’ve undergone that repetitive 9-to-5 hussle. If this somewhat describes your routine, you should try some of the following tips to stay active while working and keep productivity at a maximum:
1. Walk Whenever You Can
One of the benefits of working from home is that you don’t have to remain seated like those in-person meetings. Therefore, if you’re on a conference call or a one-on-one phone call (which doesn’t require a camera), you have an opportunity to get up and walk around. This is why you can utilize your call time to walk 10,000 steps on a daily basis.
Does your work entail more Zoom meetings as compared to phone calls? If so, just turn off your camera (if possible), wear some wireless headphones, and speak to your colleagues while walking around.
Not only will walking around make you feel a lot better than sitting around all day, but it also enhances your blood flow, engages your lymph nodes, and helps you think and relax. Even if you are skeptical of the idea, try to take a small walk outside for at least one of your conference calls. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
2. Stand Instead of Sitting
Working from home? You need a standing desk! Did you know that sitting for extended periods of time can result in back pain, poor posture and, often, a flat butt. What’s more, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle makes people susceptible to type-2 diabetes, heart diseases, and shorter life expectancy.
To counter these effects, people have started opting for standing desks or height-adjusting standing desks (sit-stand desks) to shift between standing and sitting after every 30-minutes or so. If you’re going to be stuck at home in the near future, a standing desk is a worthy investment.
3. Keep Fidgeting
Shifting around in your seat at home might have disturbed your colleagues in the office but fidgeting around at home is actually recommended. None of your household members will mind you fidgeting around and it helps in keeping you active. So go ahead and swing your legs around, tap your feet, and fidget as much as you like.
The more you will move around in your seat, the closer you will get to staying active while working at home and countering the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
4. Throw-In Some Quick Cardio With Lunch
It is now time to think about making your lunchtime a lot more than simply gobbling down food. If you can, try to eat your meal standing or perhaps throw-in a couple of lunges when you’re done.
Most of us tend to procrastinate after finishing a meal. This is why you should try to use that little window of free time before logging back in to throw-in a little cardio. Spare a few seconds for jumping jacks or use a jump rope in your backyard/driveway. You can even consider a stair workout.
5. Set Alarms for Reminders
It's pretty easy to get caught up for endless hours in your work from home schedule. The digital clock on your laptop strikes 5 pm and you realize that all you’ve done since the morning is sit in front of a computer screen. Well, you can break out of this monotonous schedule by setting alarms to remind yourself to stand up and walk around.
You can also try to establish a block schedule with the times of the day that you need to dial yourself into work and meetings, and set an alarm after at least every 2-hour period to take a break and move around.
Based on your work schedule, this alarm can go off as much as your life. Of course, try to make sure that the alarm doesn’t go off while you're smack dab in the middle of a Zoom conference.
6. Mini Pedal Chairs
It seems as if tiny things are in demand nowadays, including tiny dogs, tiny homes, and even tiny pedal machines. While standing desks can help you stay active, you can also use miniature versions of steppers, cycle pedals and elliptical machines to fit right under your desk.
While we’re discussing miniature pedal chairs, it also seems like a good time to introduce you to Fitness Chairs. These chairs offer all the benefits of a professional chair exercise bicycle, along with adjustable resistance levels so you can vary how challenging it is.
Whenever your ‘fidgeting alarm’ goes off, you can start pedalling at your Fitness Chair and stay active while working on your latest projects.
7. Use Exercise Balls As Chairs
Another trend in active-lifestyle chairs are make-shift yoga ball chairs. These balls may not be recommended for everyone, but work as a great alternative to all those harmful hours of sitting around. By adding a little bounce to your time working from home, you can engage various muscles in your body without even meaning to exercise.
In addition, exercise balls have been found to be especially beneficial for those individuals who have hemorrhoids, are pregnant, or are postpartum.
8. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
At the office, it was easy to set aside some time for quick coffee breaks. When someone came by your desk and you weren’t there, they’d just think you would come back later. In contrast, working virtually has a way of making us feel guilty for taking too many breaks, as others start to think that we aren’t working quite as hard as we did at the office.
For this reason, it is important to block your calendar, or let your colleagues know when you will be taking breaks so that you don’t feel guilt for procrastinating. Once you start using these breaks, try to make the most of them and eat healthy.
How to Know If You Aren’t Doing Enough to Stay Active
If you’ve fallen victim to the inactive lifestyle of working from home, you may also start to experience a range of negative side effects. A couple of surefire signs that you are aren't’ moving around enough include:
Disruptive sleeping patterns
Increased stress levels
Sharp pain in your legs, shoulders, or back.
Most of us are spending a lot more time at home thanks to the WFH model, and this makes it a lot easier to fall victim to a very relaxed lifestyle. To ward off the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, it is crucial that you start to throw-in some physical activities in your daily routine.
There are countless ways one can induce a little activity while working from home. This can be done with the help of good old-fashioned workout routines or by mixing work and physical activity together. Not only is doing so important for your physical health but staying active will also help reduce your stress and anxiety.
Well, there you have it folks. We hope our tips will help you stay active while working from home and that you are able to be more productive than ever before. If you have any questions or comments related to our post, make sure to leave a comment below.