Author: Jocelyn ter Morsche, marketer at remote company Xoxzo.
Does working remotely sound like a dream to you? You’re not alone. Many people love the idea of avoiding long commutes, sleeping in a bit longer, and working while wearing their favorite pajama pants.
However, as comfortable as it is, we also don’t want to turn into lazy couch potatoes. Discipline is one of the most important skills a remote worker should have. This includes being able to keep a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
That’s why we decided to write this article, based on our personal experience and research on how to stay fit and active while working from home. Whether you are new to teleworking or a remote work veteran trying to break bad habits, these 6 tips may come in handy for you.
1. Start your day active
There are many benefits from working out in the morning. Now that you no longer have to commute there’s no excuse to skip the morning workout routine into your day. Worried about that beer belly that’s starting to show? Knowing you won’t move as much throughout the day, getting up a little earlier and exercising will give you a head start.
According to fitness expert Michael Morelli, exercising in the morning enhances your metabolism and it will help you burn more fat than exercise during any other time of the day. The best thing is that if you get up early you can have the gym all to yourself or you can go for a refreshing morning run before the sun rises. If you’re less of an early bird you can start your day by doing some stretches or yoga. We found these “18 Morning Yoga Poses to Create Your Ideal Morning Routine” by Healthline very useful.
Michael Morelli also highlights another benefit of early-morning exercise: it reduces stress and depression by producing endorphins, or so-called ‘happy hormones.’ This means that a morning workout will help you feel much better throughout the day, which help you to be more productive at work: a win-win situation!
2. Invest in exercise equipment or use what you have at home
Are you a remote worker not planning to go back to the office anytime soon? It might be worth it to invest in some workout equipment that you can use daily.
If you’re serious about your workout, you can get a dumbbell set or an exercise bike. Being able to use it any time, you may find yourself not needing that pricey gym subscription anymore, which will save you money in the end.
Are you just working from home temporarily and do you rather not invest in fancy workout equipment that you may end up not using anymore? Worry not, as it can also be very affordable or even free. Get a budget-friendly exercise mat, resistance bands, or get creative with items you have lying around your house to perform some work-from-home friendly exercises.
Lift water bottles, cans of soup, a bag of potatoes or use your work chair for a workout using your body weight. Of course, running, yoga, push-ups, and sit-ups are also great ways to stay fit. If you’re not sure how to start or what exercises to do, there are millions of videos on Youtube for full-body workouts, yoga, and exercises targeting specific muscles.
Extra tip: leave your workout tools near your work station so you don’t forget about them and you’re ready to use them right away.
3. Break from your desk every 30 minutes to an hour
When you’re at the office, coffee breaks, meetings, and walks with coworkers help you to get off your chair every now and then. When you work remotely it’s easy to stay in your chair (or couch) for hours and not even realize it.
Of course, I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to stay focused and productive at home, but if you’re the kind of person who tends to get absorbed in work you might want to set a timer every 30 minutes or every hour to move around. The app “Stand Up – The Work Break Timer” was specifically made for this and you can choose your own intervals for when you want the alarm to go off. Make sure to drink plenty of water, make yourself a snack, or do some jumping jacks and get your heart pumping.
The thing I personally like about setting an alarm is that you can break up your workout in smaller chunks throughout the day. Doing 100 pushups at once sounds exhausting but what about doing 10 every hour? That’s not too bad now, is it?
Another thing you can do since you’re at home is cleaning. Yes, I know: that sounds a dull way to spend a break but keeping your work environment clean and tidy will also help you concentrate better and burn some extra calories in the process.
4. Take calls standing up
Have you invested in a hands-free headset yet? If not, maybe now is the time. Walk around the house while taking your conference calls and get some movement in there.
You can even set a step target for each call or every day. Moving around helps creating a greater blood flow, which helps us to think and relax, you might come up with some great ideas while walking around and not being focused on your screen only.
For longer calls, you can even go and take a short walk outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery.
5. Alternatives to the classic office desk & chair
The freedom you have working from home allows you to not spend a whole day behind your desk, so why should you? Check out these alternatives for the classic office desk & chair that you could use to make your workstation the best one possible.
The standing desk has become increasingly popular over the past few years and we’re not surprised.A study in 2011 found that people who used a standing desk 66 minutes a day on average also experienced a 54% reduction in upper back and neck pain.
Besides, it also decreases risks of other symptoms of the so-called “sitting disease” including heart disease, blood sugar spikes, and type 2 diabetes. Working at a standing desk burns 50 more calories a day then if you would sit down.
Not sure if you can commit? Nowadays there are also height-adjustable desks such as the Teeter sit-stand desk.
A stability ball is a popular exercise tool used for toning exercises but by simply sitting on it for short periods throughout the day you can improve your posture, balance, and gain core strength. That’s because of the unstable surface that forces your body to use your abdomen and lower back muscles to keep you sitting up straight.
Treadmill or bike desk
Did you know that treadmill and bike desks are a thing? Busy people can now get their exercise and work done at the same time by spending a few minutes or hours a day on a treadmill or bike desk! The machines are slow-paced enough for people to use their computers.
Make sure to check out these 3 dispensable tools for remote working as well!
6. A healthy diet is a must for remote workers
We know it’s tempting but… don’t order that pizza! With apps like Uber Eats on the rise it’s easy to order anything you want for lunch… and dinner, every day. If you want to stay fit while working remotely you better save that pizza for the weekend and get groceries to prep your meals. Make sure you always have healthy snacks at home too, like fruit and granola bars for when you’re busy (or just too lazy to prepare a snack!)
To save time I personally like to meal prep and cook large portion meals a few times a week instead of every day. You can freeze the leftovers and eat them anytime you don’t feel like cooking.
What is your favorite tip to stay fit when working remotely?
Don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know which of the above tips you found useful to live your best remote life.
Curious to find out what it’s like to work remotely in a big city like Tokyo? Make sure to check out our article Working Remotely in Tokyo and stay tuned for more articles from our Working Remotely in..” series!
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