How To Stay Fit While Working From Home
Are you working from bed, not taking enough breaks and eating compulsively?
In the past couple of weeks, work from home (WFH) has become a way of life for many of us. You don’t need to walk to the auto or cycle-rickshaw stand or the metro station. In fact, there is no commute. You are not even climbing the office stairs.
Going to work possibly means rolling over to the other side of the bed where you are on your laptop, while munching on potato chips—secretly patting yourself on the back for getting a lot more done in a day than in office. A week into this, and you realize you have a back ache, your neck is hurting and you feel you’ve bloated.
“Some of us are too careless about where we are working from. We may not even have a desk,” says Nisha Varma, an American College of Sports Medicine-certified exercise physiologist based in Pune.
Why you should worry
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years should do “at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week”. This can also include walking, cycling or playing a sport.
The benefits are many—better muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness, better bone health and better control over your weight.
Along with physical activity, maintaining the right posture while working is key to staying healthy. Poor posture can trigger multiple health woes—from back and neck pain to poor balance and headaches. It can also lead to stress incontinence (loss of bladder control) and heartburn, if you are slouching post meal. Poor posture on the toilet can even cause constipation.
How to do it right
Here is what Varma suggests:
- Maintain discipline. Have a bath, get dressed. Don’t just start working from your bed with a cup of coffee. Get ready as if you are going to work.
- Identify your work space in the house and follow the office work routine, especially the log-in and the log-out time. If your job involves a lot of screen time or typing, get a place where you can stand and work. This way your posture is erect and you can avoid slouching. You can even sit on a gym ball – balancing yourself on the ball engages your core muscles more.
- Do these three things every hour—hydrate yourself (keep a bottle handy), walk around for at least 5 minutes, do a few mobility exercises. You may make calls when taking a walking break.
- Maintain a proper eating schedule. This is the time to go healthy. In office, you end up having a lot of tea and coffee. While working from home, you can cut back on caffeine and make yourself a salad or a bowl of fruits.
- Since you are saving time on commute, use it to go out for a walk/run in the park, play with your pets or spend more time with your family, in an active manner.
WFH can allow you to reset your goals and priorities, use this time to set yourself fitness goals and stay fighting fit. It can even help you keep infections at bay.