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Ways to Stay Fit While Working from Home


There are a billion popularized benefits of working from home. Flexible work schedule, the privilege to go to work in your pajamas, no more sharing a bus with other people’s body odors, early morning breaths, and sweaty armpits, you name it, we love it! However, the downside to working from home is weight gain, unstable work-life balance, and mental health struggles. Staying fit and healthy while working from home can be a bit of a challenge, but by eating healthy, taking necessary breaks, and so on, we can tip the scale in our favor. In this article, we’ll be spilling the beans on ways you can stay fit while working from home, and yes, we come armed with insight from a certified health practitioner.

PS: You get a bonus reward if you read till the end.

Tips to Stay Fit While Working from Home

1. Maintain a Balanced Healthy Diet

A balanced diet is perfect for infusing us with the right amount of energy to feel charged up for the day’s work. However, for the average Nigerian, a balanced diet consists of fatty foods – eggs, butter, meat – try a healthy diet instead. A healthy diet generally excludes anything with saturated fat (aka all of the above) and processed foods.

 To stay fit while working from home, you need to say no to junk food. Donuts and buns might be easy to munch on, but they contain too many calories to become your staple diet while you work – replace snacks with fruit instead. Remember the children’s slang, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? It’s old, but gold!

2. Choose Water over Soda

Water is the best fluid for staying hydrated. The best part? It has zero calories so you are unlikely to gain any way weight from drinking water often. It is also medically proven that drinking enough fluids prevents dehydration. Dehydration often leads to constipation and erratic mood swings – drinking water often promotes bowel movement and prevents that from ever happening.

Soda, on the other hand, is often packed with a ton of sugar and carbonated to keep the fizz in. That’s more calories than you want to consume from only drinks every day. Also, did anybody else hear the gas in carbonated? 70% of people involved in a study carried out on the effects of soda, confessed to feeling bloated on most days – these were the group that drank a bottle of soda at least 5 out of every 7 days.

Moral of the story: Choose water over soda, you’ll be happier and healthier. A pro tip is to take a sip of water whenever you feel like munching on something – sometimes it is thirst, not hunger.

3. Observe Good Posture While you Work

We are all guilty of slouching sometimes while working from home. Although it feels comfortable, slouching is detrimental to our health, and often causes back pain. Assuming a good posture while you work will get rid of the occasional waist pain and neck pain. To help you observe good posture all the time, you should invest in an office chair with armrests and a structure that supports the curvature of the lower back.

The right posture requires that you sit upright in your chair, with your feet flat on the ground and knees at an angle of 90 degrees. Your screen should be visible at (or below) eye level and at least an arm’s length away from you.

Pro Tip: Sitting fully in your chair rather than at the edge will help you last longer in a good posture.

4. Know your Body’s Stress Limit

Working from home makes it easy to just power on past our ideal break time to get more work done. However, when you stretch your body beyond its limits, it will lead to a breakdown and eventual burnout. To stay fit while working from home, you should take breaks when necessary and indulge in siestas as needed. Breaks are good for your body and mind alike.

 You should never push your body to do more than it is willing – even though it might be hard since you’re at home, leverage your sick leave fully and stay away from work when you are unwell. You should also ensure that you are getting quality sleep every day – medics recommend at least 8 hours of sound sleep.

5. Set (and Stick to) Work-life Boundaries

Working from home effectively blurs the line between work and personal life – you’re home either way. This is why remote workers are encouraged to set work boundaries and stick to them. These boundaries may include a 15-minute break every 4 hours, or mentally detaching from work after regular office hours. If you freelance, it may be helpful to draft out your working hours and limit accomplishing tasks to those hours.

A healthy work-life balance guarantees that you’re off your work chair more often (getting some exercise in), and your mind is less pressured (maintaining good mental health).

6. Follow a Steady Routine

Routines can be boring, but they help eliminate the feelings of stress and exhaustion even when there has been no productivity. Anything from eating breakfast at a set time every morning, or starting your day with a particular activity, helps tremendously.

7. Prioritize Loved Ones

It can be hard to maintain good relationships with your loved ones when you work from home. However, connecting with family and friends and discussing non-work-related affairs (like celebrity gossip and football gist) can help alleviate stress. Remote work gets pretty lonely and loneliness takes a toll on anyone’s mental health. Socializing with loved ones has a therapeutic effect on the mind.

Pro Tip: Try rescheduling work instead of hangouts with loved ones. You work every day, but a hangout with family and friends cannot be done every day.

8. Laugh Often – Indulge Comedy Skits

The popular Papa Ajasco TV show shares an adage that, “laughter is the best medicine”. That is true even in science. When you laugh, “happy hormones” like dopamine are released in your brain which automatically uplifts your mood. Ever wonder why you feel good when you laugh even if you were previously in pain? That’s why.

When you take breaks from work where you are not sleeping, sit back on a couch with a cushion on your lap and your legs crossed at the ankles, and enjoy a good comedy skit. Laughter is a great stress reliever. It also improves your natural body metabolism and influences your body to burn more calories.

Fun Fact: 15 minutes of intense laughter can help you lose 40 calories. Matter of fact, an hour’s laugh can help you get 120 calories down. So when you laugh, it is not just your worries that go away, your calories do too!

9. Exercise Regularly

The benefits of exercise are numerous. To stay fit physically and psychologically, indulging in a good workout session to get your heart racing is necessary. Working from home, you can make the most of the free time you have from circumventing commuting to indulge in a little bit of exercise. Doing simple things like walking during your breaks every day, goes a long way to help you stay fit. If exercise sounds intimidating to you, you can try a physical activity like cleaning or cooking.

Bonus Reward:

Exercises You Can Do to Stay Fit while Working from Home

1. Stretches

A good stretch after sitting for a long time helps to get the blood flowing. It relieves joint pains and muscle cramps that are commonly experienced by remote workers throughout the day. Stretches can be done first thing right after you get up in the morning, or next thing after you get off your PC for a break. A yoga mat is a great accessory to have for this type of exercise. Tons of YouTube fitness instructors that can guide you on this.

2. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks became popularized as an at-home exercise during the lockdown caused by the pandemic. They involve a pattern of movements where you are stretching and jumping simultaneously. A good set of jumping jacks will have your heart racing excitedly, and you may need to take a breather before getting back to work. This is another exercise that you can get inspiration for from a YouTube channel.

3. High-intensity Workouts

These are most popular as weight-loss challenges, abs workouts, and so on. Most high-intensity workouts involve a set of stretches and exercises aimed at burning fat quicker. They are relatively short – anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Although YouTubers like Chloe Ting are doing a great job, you might want to download a workout app to help you with consistency.

4. Walks

Walking is underrated. A good walk helps calm nerves, soothe the mind, and burn an average of 120 calories, depending on how briskly your work. You can download a steps calculator app to ensure that you’re getting in enough steps for the day or simply walk during your breaks. A pro tip is to run errands around the house during your break. That way, you kill two birds with a single stone – exercise and get things done.

5. Morning Jogs

This was another physical activity that the lockdown popularized. During the pandemic, most of us formed exercise teams in our neighborhood and went out for morning jogs together. These morning jogs usually ended with a high-intensity workout. However, that culture seems to be fading these days.

If you would like to stay fit while working from home, you should consider early morning jogs. Running by yourself if you don’t do well with crowds works too. You can listen to a podcast, soothing music, or white noise while you run for ambiance.

6. Body Balance

If you are not a big fan of vigorous exercises or sweating, try body balance. All you have to do is stand on one leg for a couple of minutes, and then the other. You can add some arm movements too, to get the blood flowing. The best thing about body balance? You don’t need a break to do them – you can try them out even while on an audio call.

7. Skipping

Skipping used to be a fun exercise when we were younger. Now, it is a fun exercise with a lot of benefits. It is good for cardio exercise and a great weight-loss strategy if you keep at it consistently. Skipping during your break in a work-from-home job can leave you pumped with positive energy after the break. You can make it fun by asking your kids or friends to join in, and trying to see who can amass the highest number of skips.

8. Meditation

Meditation is more of a mental exercise than a physical one. It helps you prepare your mind for the day’s work and is a great mood booster. Meditation is usually done as a prelude to a workout, but works great to diffuse tension if you ever feel overwhelmed with work.

9. Stair-climbing

Running up and down the stairs in your home is a great way to get the treadmill effect. For more inspiration, get your AirPods out and listen to a podcast or an amapiano beat while you run – see how many times you can go up and down the flight of stairs before the audio ends. You will need to take a breather after this one, but you will be in such a good mood that your productivity level will hit the roof when you get back to work.

Health is Wealth!

Working from home can be time-consuming, but it is up to us to take care of our health. I hope this helps.

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Oputa Okwanuzor is a freelance writer skilled in the art of weaving words into stories for brand boost through copywriting, or make a soothing read using creative writing. In her free time, she loves to share personal development talks, fashion inspos and writing tricks on her blog.

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