During the initial days of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., most non-essential businesses were required by their state governors to have employees work from home whenever possible.
While the majority of states have reopened at some level, there are still rising cases of the novel coronavirus. As a result, whenever possible, employers are continuing to implement telecommuting policies.
Many professional service providers are shifting their models to accommodate social distancing. For example, law firms are using video-conferencing apps like Zoom to have consultations and meetings with clients.
While all the available technology can make it easier to stay apart safely, if you’re working from home, you may find that you’re becoming even more sedentary than you would be otherwise.
When you’re working in an office, you may be more active as you move around the office, as you walk into your office, when you take the stairs when you park, and in other situations. When you work from home, you might move from the bed to your desk and the couch on any given day.
A sedentary lifestyle can be a health risk in and of itself, so it’s important that you holistically think about your health during this pandemic.
Being sedentary and spending hours at your desk puts you at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
By working on becoming less sedentary, it can not only help your physical well-being but your emotional health as well, which is something many people are struggling with during this time.
The following are some ways to stay active when you work from home.
Build Exercise into Your Schedule
The more you schedule your day, the more likely you are to achieve everything you want to. That includes exercise.
Set aside a block of time in your schedule each workday for working out.
You’ll have to decide what time of day works best for you because everyone is different in that aspect.
Put a reminder on your calendar or phone if you have to, to help you stay accountable.
Eventually, exercising should become more of a habit that will help you stick with it.
Get Creative with Your Movement
Throughout the day, be mindful of how much activity you’re doing or not doing, and then come up with creative ways to move at regular intervals.
For example, every hour, do some light stretching or take a few laps around your house or yard.
You could also do jump squats or some other type of bodyweight movement every hour, depending on your overall level of fitness.
There are health apps that can be really useful to remind you of when it’s time to move.
You can also be more mindful by wearing a fitness tracker.
Cook Your Food
When you work from home you might be tempted to order delivery simply because it’s easier, and you want to stay in the work zone, but from a health perspective that may not be ideal.
If you cook your food, there are multiple benefits.
First, you’re in control of all the ingredients you’re eating, so you’re likely to make healthier choices.
It also requires physical activity to cook, as opposed to sitting and waiting for delivery.
Walk During Your Calls
Many people have had their fair share of conference calls throughout the entire coronavirus situation.
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, or even just have a conference call or two every day or week, use those as opportunities to take a walk. You can walk outside or take a walk around your house.
Either way, you’ll know that during those times, you’ll be moving your body.
Set Up Your Office Outside Sometimes
Going outside for fresh air is vital to our health and well-being, but if you work from home, your days could pass you by without ever getting any fresh air or sunlight. Vitamin D from the sun boosts your mood and your immune system, and if you go outside, you’re more likely to move around.
You can do some or all of your work outside when the weather permits.
If you have face-to-face meetings set up, you can do those outdoors so that you’re walking and talking, and you’re also following social distancing.
Use a Time Tracker
When you work from home, you want to stay productive, but you also want to make sure that you’re achieving work-life balance.
A good way to really have a view of what your day is like and perhaps figure out where you can make changes, including being more active, is to use a time tracker. Add in everything that you’re doing throughout your entire day.
For example, log the time you spend sitting, the time you’re actually spending working versus surfing the internet, and how much activity you’re getting.
Use What’s Available To You
The world of at-home fitness has grown by leaps and bounds in the past ten years and there is now an amazing assortment of options to keep you fit and healthy that are on-par or in some cases even better than what you might get from a gym.
You don’t need a gym to be in the best shape of your life if that’s your goal.
You can subscribe to an on-demand fitness service like Beachbody, which offers up a wide range of fitness programs for all levels. Peloton has also become one of the most well-known names in at-home fitness.
They started with their spinning bike, but they have a platform with everything from stretching and yoga to outdoor running workouts, and you can get the content without having a bike.
The CDC recommends that you participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, and even if you work from home, prioritize your health and fitness, starting with movement. You can end up being happier, more productive, and more physically healthy if you make movement something you do each day.
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