We also know that exercise is good for our mental health. It can improve your mood and help you get better sleep. Exercise has also been recommended for helping alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety, among other mental health challenges.
For many people, the daily dose of exercise comes from the steps they take when they go to work, the stairs they climb when moving from one office to another, and their time at the company gym. However, governments’ restrictions, as a result of COVID-19, have meant that many people are working remotely in the last few months.
While working remotely presents several benefits, it is not necessarily good for our bodies. It makes us move less, a situation that may lead to weight gain, fatigue, sleep problems, loneliness, social anxiety, and other long-term health issues. Therefore, an exercise routine is necessary when working from home.
In this article, we examine the benefits of exercise while working from home. We present the risks of a sedentary lifestyle resulting from a lack of movement when working remotely and the benefits of having an exercise regime. The article also presents some suggestions on creating a home gym and making the time to exercise regularly.
1. Health Risks of Working From Home
Despite saving commute and traffic time, remote workers sit for hours attending business calls, teleconferences, and Zoom meetings. This leads to physical inactivity, which can lead to back pain and obesity. Working from home could also lead many to adopt non-ergonomic positions, such as laying on your bed or working on a couch, for an extended period while working.
A study published by Cambridge Open Engage, in May 2020, at the height of the Covid Pandemic, concluded that during the pandemic, Americans are becoming more sedentary than before—and the effects are likely to last long after the pandemic has passed. The study used a sample of 3,052 U.S. adults. Cambridge Open Engage is a research platform run by the Cambridge University Press.
The same study published on Cambridge Open Engage concluded that those who had been meeting the recommended levels of exercise before the pandemic reported an average of 32% reduction in physical activity when social distancing measures were introduced while those who were already sedentary continued to be sedentary.
Overworking and Less Time for Exercise
Working from home can present time management issues, which could lead workers to spend more time working. In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, Laura M. Giurge and Vanessa K. Bohns note that “The lines between work and non-work are blurring in new and unusual ways, and many employees who are working remotely for the first time are likely to struggle to preserve healthy boundaries between their professional and personal lives.”
As employees find themselves working all the time, they end up with less time for other activities, including physical exercise. Added to this, when working from home, the fridge is always within easy reach, a situation that could result in eating more and gaining weight.
2. Benefits of Exercise While at Home
Control Body Weight
To maintain your body weight, the calories gained from both food and drink must be the same as the quantity used daily. Therefore, to shed weight, you need to burn more units of calories through exercise. Eating more calories and burning less will lead to increased weight.
Working out regularly minimizes the risk of heart diseases. It improves blood circulation. The increased flow of blood causes oxygen levels in the body to rise. Consequently, this reduces the risk of heart diseases, such as heart attacks, coronary artery disease, and high cholesterol. A regular workout also helps lower blood pressure.
Better Sleep and Improved Mental Health
Working out, coupled
with better sleep,
and mental health.
that help relieve
stress and make a
person feel more
helps you deal with
work fatigue and
reduces the risk of
depression, a hazard
associated with the
linked to working
3. Types of Home Exercises
A few examples of aerobic exercises you can practice at home include kickboxing, jumping jacks, running the stairs, jogging in place, and jump rope. You can achieve benefits from most of these activities with a 10 to 20 minutes workout.
Anaerobic exercises aid weight loss, promote metabolism, improve physical and mental health, and increase endurance and performance levels.
Examples of this type of exercise you can engage in at home include weight lifting, sprints, and high-intensity interval training, where you rest in between a short period of intense workouts.
There are different
types of exercises
you can do at home
to improve your
flexibility. Some of
various types of
stretches like the
stretch, or frog
4. How to Create a Home Gym
Essential equipment will include a workout mat, resistance bands, a jump rope, dumbbells, a kettle bell, and a workout bench. You may need other pieces of equipment based on your workout routine, but the listed types of equipment are enough to get your home gym started.
supplement your gym
things you already
have, like bags of
soil used as a
kettle bell, a broom
to improve shoulder
mobility, and other
such items easily
found at home.
crucial to ensure
that the equipment
you use is safe.
5. How to Make Time to Exercise
- Create a dedicated space in the home for your workouts.
- Create a schedule and adhere strictly to a healthy work-life balance. It may take a while to find what suits you, but be committed to keeping your schedule.
- Make a habit of starting your day with an exercise routine.
- Start early before other people start to make demands on your time.
- Set alarms at reasonable intervals for you to stand up and stretch your muscles.
- Walk around during calls. A study conducted by Stanford researchers reveals that walking around improves your creativity.
- Set realistic exercise goals you can achieve indoors.
- Connect with others for exercises online.
- Do physical chores, such as hovering and ironing during breaks.