There are drawbacks to working at home, especially if you're not used to it. But one of the biggest problems is that you can end up spending all day sitting in front of a screen, with no physical activity except for the occasional trip to the fridge.
Whether you work from home all the time or just occasionally, it's important to stay physically active. When you're in an office, you may have a built-in workout routine of walking to meetings, taking breaks to stretch, or walking around the building during lunch.
At home, you can create your own routine by developing habits that get you up and moving. Here are some ways to integrate exercise into your work-from-home day.
Change The Physical Setup Of Your Home Office
If your home office is set up so that everything is within reach of your desk chair, you might have a limited need to stand up or walk around during the day. If this sounds familiar, consider moving some of your things across the room so that you have to get out of your seat if you want to reach them.
For example, if you have a printer next to your desk, consider moving it across the room so that when you need to print something, you'll have to stand up and go there. If your filing cabinet is right next to your desk, try moving that as well.
You don't have to move all of your items across the room — just enough so that you're forced out of your seat and into a standing position every hour or two.
Do Some Stretches
If you're feeling a little worn out from sitting all day, it can be helpful to try a few exercises you can do at your desk. These help get your blood flowing and the oxygen flowing to your brain.
They'll also help strengthen the muscles in your back, neck, and shoulders and help prevent or relieve tension headaches. Try out these exercises you can do at your desk:
- Neck stretches: Sit up straight in your chair with your shoulders back. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Then repeat by looking to the left, then to the right, and finally straight ahead again. If you have time, repeat this whole routine three times. This exercise will help stretch out your neck muscles, which get very tense after hours of looking down at a computer screen.
- Chest stretch: Place both hands behind your back and interlock fingers together. Hold them there for 15 seconds while sitting up straight in your chair. You should feel this stretch primarily in the front of your shoulders as well as in the front of the chest and lower part of the neck.
Move When You Need To Think
It's not just refreshing to get up and walk around the home; it's also healthy for your circulation. It helps you think more clearly, and you're less prone to procrastination. A perk is that no additional equipment is required for walking. Simply put on shoes and enjoy the health benefits of getting out and about.
Here are different strategies to get you walking when you are at home:
- Get up for food or cook meals at home. You can also walk to your favorite restaurant and order take-out.
- Consider walking while attending online meetings. You can take on a conference call while taking a gentle walk outside or around the house.
- Do some stretching or squats whenever you’re waiting for something to finish, such as a download or a printer to finish printing.
- Schedule as many face-to-face meetings as you can.
Even those who work from home for the majority of the time can struggle to get out of their chairs. In fact, there’re a number of professions that don’t lend themselves to frequent breaks, such as those requiring coding, writing, and detailed design work.
The best thing you can do is to make sure you’re getting up often. Even if it’s just to change your posture or step away from your desk. Movement is good for you and keeps you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle those tasks again.
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