Working on your fitness: 10 ways to get healthier than ever while working from home
Your step-counter used to register thousands of steps per day, but now it is just a relatively paltry few hundred. Maybe your back feels tighter and a bit more achy than usual. Your local gym is closed. Jogging in the park is not allowed. Now what?
Just when you thought we’d run out of home-working topics to discuss – here’s one of the most important: your physical health and fitness. While we are not doctors (nor do we play one on TV), we do have many years of cumulative experience surviving and thriving while working from home.
So, we now present our top ten ways to improve your fitness, possibly to an even higher level than before.
1.You bought that home gym gear – now it’s time to use it more than ever! It’s surprising how many people have home fitness machines, stationary bikes, weights, and miscellanea in the basement or garage but don’t use it. Now is a better time than ever to stop just looking at it and start flexing.
2. If you don’t have real fitness gear, then Google "how to make your DIY home gym from household items". You will be surprised how creative and resourceful people are in deploying water jugs, stretchy items, furniture, and even a broomstick in the context of working out. Give it a try.
3. Get some remote friends together on a video meeting and organize a group exercise session during lunch hour or before work. Some people are more motivated by the presence of others and the scheduled commitment of working in a group setting. If you can’t swing that – there is always the plethora of free workout videos you can follow on YouTube, for example.
4. Be aware of your posture while working from home. Those backaches and cramping in the hips might be from long periods hunched over the laptop or working in a less than ideal posture. That deep cushion couch might be great to relax on for movie watching, but not the best for the course of your workday. Even consider a stand-up desk – some say it encourages better posture while standing burns more calories than sitting.
5. It can be too easy to get locked into your task or project for hours at a time when working from home. If you are not so inclined to “work out” for whatever reason, make sure you get up, move about and try various forms of stretching. You don’t have to be a yoga expert to benefit from stretching your neck, shoulders, back, chest, legs, and so on. You may feel as refreshed as having eight hours of sleep when you are done stretching!
6. Walking outside, wherever it is safe and currently allowed is always a good idea in terms of exercise, fresh air (hopefully), and clearing your head. Maybe the dog can have an extra walk per day, or take a local walk before work, during lunch, or at the end of the day. Use your neighborhood Google maps to plan your time and distance and choose an interesting walking route to avoid repetition.
7. Don’t be afraid to pace and roam within your living space or yard (if you have one) if you are on a long audio meeting or phone conference. Moving is still moving and steps are still steps, which is better than being continuously sedentary. Just be careful not to roam out of your Wi-Fi range or disrupt your business interactions in the process.
8. Diet goes hand in hand with exercise, of course. Think of your work-at-home time as being a chance to avoid over-indulgence in fast-food, greasy restaurant lunches, or other less then healthy meal choices. Yes, it is easier said than done – but if you are relatively new to working from home, you now have a broader opportunity to plan out your meal choices for the day or for the week. Hopefully, you will feel better about your diet and end up healthier in the process.
9. Snacks … it is inevitable that we will be tempted by snacks. Snacks are a universal temptation but possibly more so when working from home. After all, the kitchen is nearby, and you don’t even have to go to the cafeteria or snack bar and get out of your wallet. Diet experts suggest limiting the snacks in your house (of course!) and even keeping a stock of healthier fruits and raw vegetables to snack on.
10. Be mindful of your mind-body alignment and balance, and how you are doing. Prioritize and schedule your physical exercise and try to stick to it. Being confined to home for long periods can be stressful, especially when the usual options outside the home have become limited or eliminated for the foreseeable future. Do your best and adopt a positive mindset as much as possible.
One last thought – consider incorporating some form of activity like playing a musical instrument (or learning a new one) or another hobby that involves some integration of your mental, creative, and physical being. It might be gardening, painting, wood carving or pottery, after hours or on the weekend. Even activities that involve only manual dexterity can give you a boost and keep the mind and body on the right track during stressful times.