Author: Michael Scaletti
One of the lasting effects of the COVID pandemic is that more of us are working from home than ever before, and while many people are starting to go back to offices, it is likely that for a lot of people remote work is here to stay.
While remote work comes with numerous benefits, including increased productivity and job satisfaction, a better work-life balance, and lowered overhead costs for businesses, it also has some downsides. One of the biggest downsides is that it is very easy to become sedentary when working from home. It is not unusual for remote workers to have entire work days go by where they have not moved more than is necessary to go to the bathroom or grab a snack.
Obviously, this can be wildly unhealthy. While there's nothing wrong with relaxing and making sure you are comfortable, humans are creatures of motion and activity, and staying overly sedentary for extended periods of time can leave you feeling unmotivated and unhealthy. It can also negatively effect your mood and mental health.
Here's the bright side though: You have lots of opportunities to stay active if you look for them, even if you are working from home!
Tips for Staying Active
Working in Workout Clothes
Sometimes you have a zoom meeting or two that requires you to look professional, but for the most part one of the great benefits of working remote is that you get to work in whatever clothing makes you feel comfortable. Use this to your advantage! Wear your activewear while working and you won't just be comfortable (because lets be honest, basketball shorts or yoga pants are incredibly comfortable), you'll be ready to move all day long!
Be Sure to Take Your Breaks
One of the dangers of working from home is that you find yourself working non-stop through the entire work day. Not only is this not healthy, but it also drastically reduces your productivity. So take those breaks! And while your at it, why not use them for a little bit of physical activity? Go for a quick run. Do some crunches and pushups. Take an online yoga or pilates class. I have a basketball hoop in my back yard, and in the summer I like going out to shoot around for a few.
Find something fun and easy that you can do in ten to fifteen minutes that gets your body in motion. It will thank you!
Working from home means not commuting, and that gives you extra time in the morning and the evening that would have previously been taken up stuck in a car or on a bus or train. Use it!
While there is no shame in getting a little extra sleep, or running errands, or using that time to enrich some other aspect of your life (I often read for a little bit before work), one option is to set up a morning or evening workout regimen. Lifting weights or going for a run in the morning can infuse you with energy for the day to come, while alternatively doing so in the evening can help you work out any frustration or tension from the day.
A Standing Desk
Standing desks are a relatively recent phenomenon that was originally designed for use in offices, but they are great and can work just as well in your home office. There are a number of health dangers that can arise when you spend too much of your day sitting down, and a standing desk can help you address those dangers in a simple and effective way.
Walk and Talk
Do you spend a large part of your day on phone calls? Many positions do. If you're job requires you to be on the phone for extended periods each day, remember that you don't have to be taking phone calls "from your desk". Get up and walk! Walk around your home while you provide your phone consultation. Walk up and down your stairs during your sales call.
This applies to zoom calls too. Download the zoom app on your phone and walk around during your next meeting. Just walking for 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your overall health.
Invest in Workout Gear
Having the right clothing and gear can make a huge difference to both your motivation to work out and the effectiveness of your workout. Invest in a yoga mat, a set of weights, or good running shoes. If you want to go even further, some workout bikes, treadmills, or elliptical machines have shelves on which you could set your laptop. Get in motion while you work!
Enjoy the Outdoors
This is one of my favorite ways to stay active. Living in Minneapolis, I am lucky enough to have wonderful outdoor spaces all over the city that I can take advantage of. My partner and I try to set aside about an hour every day to go on a walk and enjoy those outdoor spaces. It allows me to step away from the grind of the work day, enjoy fresh air and beauty, get my body moving, with the added bonus of getting me some vitamin D, which is in short supply in the winters here!
I highly recommend longer walks. If you can do it with friends or family, it even turns the workout into a fun social event.
Make a Plan
The bottom line is that there are all kinds of ways you can stay active while working remote, and you don't need to neglect your duties or cut into your leisure time in order to do them. Figure out what your day looks like, plan out your schedule, and set aside some time to stay active. I promise you, your body (and your mental health) will thank you.