Based on original content by Kimberly Back
Remote work ostensibly gives you all the time you need for exercise and looking your best, or so you may have thought when you joined the remote workforce. In reality, the ability to work from wherever you want has the opposite effect. You no longer have to “dress for the job you want” or impress that attractive coworker at the end of the hall. Instead, you’re free to work yourself to death if you so choose. And that’s just what people do. Up to 70% of remote employees work longer now than ever, foregoing the gym in favor of sending that last email or getting that last project done. But it doesn’t have to be that way. To stay fit when you work from home, all you need to do is try a few different methods. With a bit of motivation and some goals, you can break out of the sedentary lifestyle and into a new pair of slim-fit jeans (or a tight-fitting onesie).
1. Stay Hydrated
Scanning websites over the rim of a coffee mug does not count as hydration. The only beverage that keeps your body properly hydrated is water. Water helps stabilize your metabolism, curb food cravings, and improve concentration. So put down the shot-of-sugar in a can and load up on the agua. If you want something a little more favorable, you can always add some lemons or limes.
And for the individual who forgets to drink water, you also have some options. Dozens of apps can remind you when it’s time to guzzle some H20, or you can buy a water bottle that’s always on your desk and begging you to quench your thirst. The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel and look. While the recommended daily intake is 64 ounces, don’t assume you have to reach that level immediately. If you were never an avid water-drinker, work your way up to that level. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after just a week of increased water intake.
2. Try an Exercise Challenge
Exercising challenges have become all the rage in the past five or so years. Perhaps it’s because people love to show their accomplishments on social media, or maybe you just need some motivation to reach your fitness goals. Regardless of your reason for doing one of these challenges, it’s a great way to stay fit when you work from home.
One of the best aspects of these exercise challenges is that you can find one that works for your current goals and fitness levels. Trying to cut down on the after-work virtual happy hour? Try an exercise challenge that also incorporates no alcohol for a month. Always wanted to run a 5k but feel your fitness might be lagging behind? Do a 5K challenge that gets you in shape for a run a few months down the road. The idea is that you’re doing something to stay fit while also pushing yourself toward an achievable goal. Once you reach it, don’t swear off challenges for good; find a new one that pushes your fitness levels to new heights.
3. Get Some Gear for the Home Office
If you thought you needed to hit the gym to stay fit when you work from home, you’ve got it all wrong. Your home office can actually double as a mini-gym if you pick up the right gear. Obviously, yoga mats and exercise balls are two obvious choices, but don’t forget about some other options.
One option is an under-desk elliptical. Think of it almost as a mini stationary bike that fits right under your desk. It has two pedals for your feet and varying resistances. All you need to do is pedal while you’re working. If there was ever a more productive way to spend your day, no one’s found it quite yet.
Another product you might want to consider is a pullup bar. These bars wedge into your door frame enough to hold up to 250 or 300 pounds depending on the model. With the pullup bar firmly in place, you can rip off a few and indulge your inner Rocky. All you’ll need after that is a classic 80s montage.
4. Regulate Mealtimes
You don’t have to condition yourself to be one of Pavlov’s dogs, but allotting time for snack breaks and a proper lunch hour can regulate your metabolism and keep your all-day, unhealthy munching on a leash. If junk food still calls to you while you field customer service calls or mull over a clever title for your latest blog post, consider these tidbits:
- Empty your desk’s candy drawer so that you won’t fall victim to taste bud temptation
- Chew sugar-free mints or gum
- Munch on a low-calorie, crunchy snack like celery
5. Ditch Your Car
If you live in a city or even a suburban area, everything is usually within close proximity to where you live. Even if your destination is a few miles away, don’t fall into the habit of using your car all the time. Instead, ditch the car for a bicycle or your legs. By ditching your car, you can get some much-needed exercise when running your errands.
If time is at a premium, air up your bike tires and set off to your destination. Not only will get burn some calories, but you’ll also save the world from greenhouse gases you emit when you drive your vehicle, which consequently, is one of the greatest environmental advantages of remote work. Or, you can always hop on board with an alternative form of transportation, such as a skateboard or a set of roller skates. Do what appeals to you.
6. De-stress With a Good Decluttering
Is your workspace disorganized? Did you miss a deadline? Do you feel guilty about skipping a family activity to catch up on work? These job-related stressors aren’t merely headache-inducing, they also can induce weight gain. Stress releases hormones into your body that can initially cause weight loss, but when tensions are prolonged, these hormones can increase your appetite. When feeling stressed, take a breath and consider using one of these de-stress techniques:
- Make a daily to-do list
- Decorate your work area with items you love
- Take four minutes to rock out to your favorite song
- Go into your bedroom and scream into a pillow (it’s a great perk of working from home if you’re frustrated)
Another way to help you de-stress is by getting your home office in order. If you have papers everywhere or clutter on every flat surface, you’re in need of a quick de-cluttering. You can buy organization tools like filing cabinets, drawers, and planners, or you can simply take all the stuff you don’t need and sell it or put it away. By freeing your home office of the clutter, you’re essentially freeing your mind in the same manner. So if you’re starting to get a little too stressed out, get to work on a quick cleaning.
7. Get Your Stretch On
Light stretching and some easy yoga poses may not seem like the optimal way to stay fit when you work from home, but both of these activities can actually do wonders for your health. When you’re sitting behind a computer all day, your flexibility and mobility can start to suffer. In time, this can have negative far-reaching effects on your health. Getting out of your chair to stretch or move around for just 30 minutes a day can extend your life expectancy according to research. So hold that pose, touch your toes, or stretch those hammies. You’ll feel better and live longer.
8. Walk Around
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best bet. Think about the amount of walking you eliminate from your daily routine when you transition from a traditional office to a home office. You aren’t walking to and from your car, you don’t have to leave your workspace for lunch, and you don’t have to utilize the stairs to avoid the woman from Human Resources who wears too much perfume. Make walking a habit again by using a wireless headset to answer calls while you stroll around your home, or set a goal for every hour you sit at your desk you take 10 minutes to get up and move.
9. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Not every person is a fitness buff. In fact, you may not know where to start when trying to stay fit when you’re working from home, and that’s okay. Instead of reading Men’s Health or Cosmo articles on how to look like Jason Momoa or Kim Kardashian, harness the power of technology instead.
With dozens of apps geared toward home workouts and devices like a Fitbit that remind you to get some exercise, you can take the guesswork out of what you’re supposed to do to maintain a healthy level of fitness. Or if you have a bigger budget, try workout tech that’s designed to keep you motivated such as Lululemon’s Mirror or the Peloton treadmill. You might spend a pretty penny, but you can’t put a price on your health.
Staying Fit When You Work from Home Is All About Personal Preference
Fitting into a smaller size is always a great reward to stay fit when you work from home. Sometimes, however, there’s more to the equation than that. Even small victories such as going for a walk each day, playing basketball with friends, or just doing something are those little extra things you need to put some pep in your step. So if you feel drained from one of those tough, painstaking days, just remember that a bit of exercise is a step in the right direction.
Do you have any tips to stay fit when you work from home? What worked well for you in the past or currently? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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