Exercise offers so many important benefits that it should always
be part of your weekly routine. Of course, we all know that
exercise can help you stay slim and fit. But, do you also know
about all the other great results of exercising? Daily physical
activity reduces stress and can help you sleep better two
things that are especially beneficial to busy at-home workers
and business owners. Fitness helps keep you healthy and has
been linked to reducing the risk of some diseases and to warding
off depression. Researchers also believe that strength training
can help prevent osteoporosis. If that still doesn’t convince
you to get moving, then keep in mind that exercise also improves
self-esteem, increases stamina and ultimately helps you be able
to do continuous work for longer.
Contents of Post
Create a routine
It’s easy to get a little loosey-goosey with your routine when you work
at home. You’d never show up late or improperly dressed to an office
job; when telecommuting, however, you might be tempted to roll out of
bed at the last second and work in your pajamas, or skip your usual
lunch workout at the gym for some daytime TV. While this can be OK every
now and again, it’s best to have a routine when it comes to your health
and fitness. Try to get up and get ready for your day just as you would
if you were leaving the house to go to the office. Schedule your lunch
break and try to quit working by a set time. And definitely schedule—in
pen—half an hour to an hour of time to work out each day. With all of
the temptations at home, it’s best to have a routine that you follow day
in and day out.
One thing that many telecommuters do
is overwork. Because you don’t have a commute, it’s easy to begin your
workday earlier, work through lunch (there are no co-workers there to
remind you it’s lunch time!) and not stop until the sun goes down. But
overworking and not taking time for you can be detrimental to your
health, your well-being and even your work performance. Not to mention
that when you don’t break for meals and mindlessly at your desk, the
calories can add up—fast. Set some rules, such as:
- Don’t work on weekends unless you absolutely have to.
- Don’t eat at your desk (or in front of your computer) so that you can focus on your food and fullness signals.
- Log your hours to keep yourself honest about how much time you’re actually spending working.
Schedule time for working out. When you work at home it’s so
easy to work around the clock. To help avoid this think of yourself
as having a traditional “office job”. In most “office
jobs” when you go home for the night you leave work behind
and concentrate on personal things. Even though going home for
you may simply be walking down the hall, you need to set boundaries
in order to find time for you.
During working hours, take several 5-10 minute
breaks and run up and down the stairs (or even just walk).
This will also help rejuvenate your mind.
Choose your ”office chair” wisely
One of the great perks of working at home is that you can work where
you want to, as long as you have a laptop (which many work-at-homers
do). At a desk? At the kitchen table? On the couch? In bed? Outside on
the patio? Yep, you can pretty much set up shop anywhere. But, you’re
still sitting on your duff, and possibly more inclined to stay sitting
because you have few work-related reasons to stand up and move. Plus,
where you’re sitting at home is probably more comfortable than a typical
office chair and, therefore, more appealing to sit in for hours on end.
So, choose to sit in a chair that’s less comfortable and requires
better posture than a recliner chair. Sitting on an exercise ball is a
great way to make your workday a little more active. You could even
consider investing in a treadmill desk or a standing desk, where you don’t sit at all!
Set a timer
For those who don’t have a treadmill
desk or a standing desk, make it a point to stand up and walk around at
least once every hour. Studies have shown
that sitting for long periods may decrease your metabolism, hurt your
heart health and even increase your risk of cancer. One easy way to sit
less is to set an automatic timer on your computer or phone to alert you
once every hour. As soon as you hear that alarm, stand up and get
moving for a couple of minutes. You can do jumping jacks, walk the
stairs in your home, stretch, do some yoga poses, take the dog
outside—whatever you like to do. Just move! Making it a priority to get
up and move once an hour will help your health and your
weight-management efforts, and it’ll even give you a mental and
emotional boost to help you get more done.
- Sitting in front of a computer can be hard on your body, especially your posture. So, find a comfortable
place where you can occasionally stand to do your computer
- It’s not necessary for you to find 30 continuous minutes for working out. You’ll get just as much benefit if
you break your exercise into small chunks. Try 10 minutes
before you start work, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes
after work (re-read # 1 above if you just said you have no
“after work” time).
- If you don’t won’t to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but still want to eat healthy, cook large portion
meals on the weekend that you can freeze. Then simply defrost
and warm for dinners during the week. This saves you the time
of having to make dinner and you don’t have to compromise
calories as you would if you instead opted for take-out.
- One great advantage of working at home is that you can workout over your lunch hour while never leaving
your office plus you don’t have to pack your workout clothes
and toiletries to take with you to work. This saves you travel
time, which you can instead spend on grabbing a healthy bite
to eat. And, if you don’t have any face-to-face meetings scheduled,
then you don’t have to worry about looking perfect after your
- If you haven’t already done so, invest in a good hands-free headset for your phone. This is a great
way to multi-task because your hands are free to do other
things while you concentrate on your conference call. You
can even do some simple (but worthwhile) exercise moves. Some
good choices are squats, tricep dips, lunges, wall push-ups,
- Keep healthy snacks available for when you need an energy boost or simply just need something to chew
on to help you get through some tough work. Don’t forget to
keep water on hand and sip some all throughout your day.
- Purchase an exercise stability ball. While there are dozens of great toning exercises you can do with
the ball, it’s also beneficial to simply sit on it. Try sitting
on it instead of a chair for even short periods throughout
your day. This will help build your core strength (your trunk
- Don’t forget the importance of stretching. Take a couple of minutes every hour to stand up and stretch
your entire body.
Being outside is great for the mind, body and soul! Not only does
sunshine give you vitamin D, but studies have also shown that being out
in nature can boost health and decrease stress.
So whether you go outside for a jog over lunch (healthy bonus points!)
or simply go outside and smell the flowers when the sun is out, make a
point to step outside of your ”workplace” a few times per day to reap
Wear workout clothes and tennis shoes
Working at home means that you can pretty much wear what you want, when you want.
So why not wear clothes that make you feel like moving more? A few
mornings a week (or every day if you wish), put on your best workout
clothes and lace up those tennis shoes. When you’re dressed for the part
of being fit and active, you’re more likely to act it out!
Have craving-busters on hand
Though you might be too self-conscious to open a bag of M&Ms and devour them in an
office, you can overeat without anyone noticing when you work from home.
If you’re prone to ”secret eating,” working at home can be tough. So,
instead of fighting cravings (we all have them!), be smart about keeping healthier options on hand.
If you’re a chocoholic, try sipping on some sugar-free hot cocoa. If
you’re craving salty foods, pop some low-fat popcorn. If you want a
creamy treat, enjoy some non-fat Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey.
Also, be sure that you’re truly eating according to your hunger—and not just eating because you’re stressed, bored or lonely while working at home.
Get an accountability buddy
In a regular office, you have the support and camaraderie of your coworkers each and every
day. But when you’re working from home, you just don’t get quite as much
interaction—even if you’re on the phone a lot. So find a friend or
other telecommuter who is interested in being healthy, and make a pact
to keep each other on track. Whether it’s calling him or her when you
feel like eating out of stress, or reaching out when you need someone to
virtually high-five when you worked outl, the buddy system works!
Make the most of your situation
Working from home gives you more control of your schedule and your time. So, as long as
your boss is cool with it, work an hour earlier so that you can make
that Zumba class that always fills up at 5 p.m., or take a slightly
longer lunch to put a healthy meal together in the slow cooker for
dinner. When you’re super stressed at work, take a 10-minute break to do
some yoga or meditation. Make your schedule work for your healthy