11 Ways to Stay Fit and Active at Your Work-from-Home or Desk Job
How do you stay active when you work from home?
Picture this: it’s been six months since you started your new work-from-home job. You’re excelling in your work, and you love getting to keep the house clean and spend time with your dog while you work. However, there’s one aspect to this new job that keeps nagging at you — you’re sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day, and you can feel yourself becoming out of shape. Despite working hard to be more active and stay fit all year long, you’re losing all the progress you made.
Remote work has become increasingly common in the wake of the pandemic, and it brings with it many benefits for employees and employers both. However, most of the time, this remote work is done on a computer or over the phone, leaving employees to sit in one place for extended periods of time without any reminders from coworkers to get up and move around every so often.
Is there some way you can keep this from happening and remain fit and active while working from home, or are you doomed to stay out of shape for the rest of your career?
If you work from home and have found yourself wondering how you can keep your body healthy, active, and in shape, you’re in luck. In this article, we’re sharing 11 ways to stay fit and active at your work-from-home job.
The Impact of Working from Home
All facets of our lives and careers have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies and institutions urged workers to stay safe by working from home in response to national and local containment policies. Telecommuting technologies developed in the early 2000s, allowing workers to work from home (WFH) and eliminate the need for daily commutes, increase productivity, and improve work-life harmony.
Many employees were told to WFH full time during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted many to rethink the concept of WFH as something that was common only for certain types of work, on rare occasions, or in exceptional employee circumstances.
While working from home has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks. Not only do workers who telecommute miss out on socializing with their peers, but they may also be less physically active overall as a result of not having to travel to and from work each day.
In addition, working on a computer all day can cause fatigue, tiredness, headaches, and eye-related symptoms. Full-time WFH may exacerbate mental health problems like social isolation and depression in some because they lack daily opportunities for in-person interaction and social support. For others, the inability to mentally disconnect from work can increase stress and anxiety due to the blurring of work-life boundaries.
WFH employees are able to put in more time at their desks thanks to the reduction in time spent commuting and traveling for business as well as the rise in the use of computers to hold meetings instead of meeting in person.
Stress from a shared work environment, improper body mechanics from a lack of a dedicated workstation, and extended periods of inactivity all contribute to physical discomfort and problems for the employee. Though WFH certainly has benefits, it’s important to understand the potential physical as well as mental issues employees may face as a result.
11 Ways to Remain Fit as a WFH Employee
Now that we’ve covered the reasons why it’s essential to stay on top of your physical health while working from home, let’s jump into the best ways we’ve found to do just that.
1. Keep Exercise Equipment Close By
First and foremost, you should schedule time in your day to go for a long walk, possibly incorporating uphill walking or stair climbing into your route if you’re able. In addition to this, you should also keep exercise equipment close by to remind you to do little workouts throughout your day.
You have the liberty to choose whatever kind of equipment you like to use, whether it’s resistance bands, dumbbells, or workout mats to bust out some pushups. You can even try placing some of these things in your way so you’re encouraged to use them while walking to get a glass of water. This way, you can build strength throughout the day by periodically doing whatever type of exercise you like.
2. Get a Rhythm Going
By now, you probably already understand that humans love patterns, which means we love routines. You may already have a routine as a WFH employee, but it may be necessary to reassess this routine if it isn’t necessarily a healthy one. Routines can either help keep you on track or send you into a downward spiral, so it’s important you develop habits that allow you to excel as an individual and remain healthy.
You can start by incorporating a consistent schedule for your day. Wake up at the same time and take breaks from work at the same time every day. Schedule your exercise for the same time as well, and soon your brain will accept this new routine as a habit. If you need to, set reminders for yourself on your phone to remain vigilant in upholding your routine.
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3. Get an Under-Desk Treadmill
You already know that sitting all day is bad for your health. However, when you work from home, it can feel like you don’t have any other options outside of taking breaks for a walk every so often. There are treadmills you can buy that are designed to go under your desk and are gaining popularity, particularly among WFH employees who spend most of their day seated.
Under-desk treadmills are a fantastic method of physical activity and have been shown to increase concentration and output on the job. Because under-desk treadmills come in a variety of sizes, it’s important to take careful measurements of your desk before making a purchase. Some treadmills even feature built-in desks, making them ideal for getting some work done while you run.
4. Make Your Workspace Awkward
We don’t mean having uncomfortably-long silences in conversation but rather making your workspace a bit inconvenient so as to encourage you to move around more. At work, we naturally want to optimize and streamline any processes we can, allowing us to get more done in shorter amounts of time. When setting up your workstation as a WFH employee, however, you may want to take the opposite approach.
Consider changing up the layout of your workstation to increase the frequency with which you get up and move around. You could try leaving your phone in another room so that you have to get up and move when you need it (this doubles as a bonus to keep you less distracted while you work!), or you can leave a glass of water in another room instead of placing it on your desk.
We naturally want to feel comfortable while we accomplish tasks, so it may seem counterproductive to build a work environment that causes you to get up frequently. However, for WFH employees, it may be just what you need to be less sedentary.
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5. Use What You Have
No high-tech exercise gear in your house? That’s not a problem at all! There is no need to purchase expensive gym equipment in order to perform exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, yoga, and countless others. You only need a pair of sneakers to go for a walk or a run. If you’re just getting started with strength training, you can use commonplace items like a bag of sugar, some soup cans, or a bottle of laundry detergent as weights.
6. Sign Up for an Online Yoga Class
The advantages of yoga can be obtained even if you never set foot in a yoga studio. Online yoga classes can be taken from anywhere, thanks to the proliferation of video conferencing apps like Zoom. While it’s possible to watch recorded sessions on platforms like YouTube, we recommend engaging in a live discussion with a community of people who can boost your motivation and enthusiasm.
Yoga is a great activity that doesn’t require a lot of equipment. It’s hard work, though, so have plenty of water on hand and a mat of some kind to remain comfortable!
7. Walk and Talk
When coworkers are in the same building, they have the option to take their meetings on a stroll. As a WFH employee, there’s no reason you can’t start doing this as well. If you have a call coming up that doesn’t require you to look at a screen, get up and go for a walk before you answer.
Walking meetings not only improve physical health but also have other advantages. A Stanford University study digs deeper into the effects of walking on creativity, finding that 81 percent of participants showed more divergent thinking after their stroll. So, if you are trying to solve a particularly difficult challenge, it may be beneficial to go for a walk while you brainstorm.
8. Avoid Food Delivery
Food delivery has been a godsend for those who can’t get out to do their own food runs as well as WFH employees. When you’re tied up in zoom conferences and meetings, tapping a few buttons on your phone and getting warm food dropped off at your front door is a game-changer. However, despite the convenience, it may do you well to avoid delivery and pick up your food yourself when you order it.
Alternatively, you can choose to save money and cook a meal yourself. Not only is this more financially responsible, but it will get you up and moving and away from your desk for a few minutes.
9. Wear Workout Gear All Day
A surprising number of people have found significant success by following this seemingly unorthodox piece of advice, so you may find it to be quite effective. Simply put, you should make a point of putting on your workout clothes right when you get out of bed. It’s a simple commitment to make and remain consistent, so you’ll feel like you’re already taking charge of your health and fitness.
It also has a really useful practical benefit, which is that it helps you get into the right frame of mind for a workout. If you have only ten minutes to spare and decide to go for a run, you won’t have to worry about changing out of your stuffy work clothes and into something more comfortable — you can get going immediately!
Making the decision to put on your exercise clothes when you wake up is not a workout in itself, but it certainly increases the likelihood that you will exercise every day.
10. Stretch It Out
How long you should work in bursts before taking a break to stretch has been the subject of much discussion. Professionals advise breaking up your work into shorter sessions of 20 minutes to 90 minutes. Setting a series of alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to stand up and stretch is a great strategy, so long as you’re not sitting motionless for too long.
It’s crucial to get up and move around every once in a while, and doing so gives you the opportunity to stretch out those muscles and break up the monotony of sitting all day.
11. Run in Place
Remembering to do cardio regularly is crucial. These are high-intensity workouts that will get your heart racing and blood pumping, enhancing your mental and physical alertness. If you’re unable to leave your desk completely, simply getting up and jogging in place for a full minute is a great way to get some cardiovascular exercise while at work. To maximize the effect, lift your knees to chest level with each step — just be careful not to knock over anything on your desk!
Ideally, you should get up and move around every 45 minutes, but if that’s not possible, a 60-second brisk jog on the spot can help you stay focused and get through the rest of your workday.
Stay Active and Healthy with a WFH Job
Working from home doesn’t have to be synonymous with being out of shape. All you need to do is remain vigilant and consistent with your daily routines and exercises to stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. There are so many benefits to remote work — don’t let them be reduced by not giving your body the exercise it needs.
We hope this article provides you with the guidance you need to stay fit and active while working from home. Remember, you are in control of your life and your habits. All you need to be the greatest version of yourself is determination.