Starting Out

How Can I Avoid Sitting Too Much While Working from Home?

The struggle is real.

Have you ever looked at your smartwatch or fitness tracker after a day of work and realized you’d only gotten in a few hundred steps that day?

How Can I Avoid Sitting Too Much While Working from Home?

When your home is your office, you need to be even more mindful of keeping yourself active and healthy.

You’re not alone!

There are so many amazing things about working from home as a freelancer: you don’t have to deal with a commute, annoying coworkers, or a micromanaging boss hovering over your shoulder.

But there are definite downsides, too, and one of the biggest is an increased risk of a sedentary lifestyle.

Think about it: you don’t even have the option to add steps by parking far away from the office, or walking stairs in your building stairwell during lunch!

When your home is your office, you need to be even more mindful of keeping yourself active and healthy.

What Happens to Your Body when You Sit All Day?

Most people struggle to get in enough activity during the day, and one study found that only about 3% of U.S. adults sit less than 4 hours a day.

The rest of us are sitting way too much.

People who are inactive have a higher risk of death and chronic disease, including diabetes, dementia, and cancer.

Not only are you inviting severe health problems by sitting all day, but you’re not letting your body function as it was meant to. Your cardiovascular and digestive systems work better when you’re not sitting. When you sit all day, you’re also more likely to develop weak glutes and back pain, not to mention experience lower energy levels.

It’s a vicious cycle; the more you sit, the less energy you have, which leads to… you guessed it – more sitting!

Sedentary behaviour causes a chain reaction of poor health that leads to physical and mental consequences down the road.

How Often Should You Move During the Day?

The short answer? As often as possible!

If you want something more specific, use this simple rule: get up and move every 30 minutes.

If you get your heart rate up for at least one minute every 30 minutes or so, you’ll be much healthier and more productive than if you join most U.S. adults in spending 8-10 hours of your day sitting.

Ways to Add Movement to Your Day

By now, you may be thinking: that sounds great, but I’ve actually got stuff to do during my day! How can I balance the need for movement with the very real need to do my freelancing work?

Never fear! There are plenty of creative ways to work movement into your day without sacrificing productivity. Let’s take a look at a few.

Make the Pomodoro Technique Work for You

The Pomodoro technique is used by many productivity enthusiasts as a proven way to increase focus by alternating 25-minute work sessions with 5-minute breaks. But why not kill two birds with one stone by increasing your productivity and scheduling in times for movement?

You can find plenty of timer apps for your devices that will help remind you to get moving.

During the short break, you can do a minute of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, a short yoga sequence, or even dancing. Use whatever movement that floats your boat and gets your heart rate up a little bit!

Then you’ve got another 3-4 minutes to take a bathroom break, grab some water or coffee, and otherwise decompress for your next focus session.

Find Ways to Move While You Work

  • Use a grip strengthener while reading emails or articles
  • Stand or pace while on the phone. If you can, take your calls on a walk outside.
  • Place your trash can away from your desk so that you have to move every time you throw something away.

Exercise During Lunch

Most people take 30-60 minutes for a lunch break, but you probably don’t need more than 15 minutes to eat.

Why not spend the rest of that time getting in a walk or jog? (If you’re planning to do more intense exercise, though, you might consider doing that first and eating afterwards.)

Take the Next Step and Invest In Better Equipment

If you’re serious about beating the sitting disease, you should think about investing in movement-inducing office equipment that you can use for several hours a day.

  • Try a standing desk, or improvise with a tall counter in your home. Make sure that you keep changing positions every few minutes or so. Try these methods to switch it up:
    • Use a tennis ball or foot massager to relax the tendons and sore muscles in your feet
    • Prop one knee at a time on a chair or steady surface behind you. This keeps you moving and helps you stretch your quadriceps at the same time.
    • Do calf raises periodically to wake up your feet and calf muscles
    • Do standing stretches
  • Try a treadmill desk or biking desk. Keep in mind that since you’ll be using it most of the day, there’s no need to walk or bike quickly. It’s the movement that counts.
  • Get an exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair. This will force you to keep your core engaged while you sit.

Get in Movement During Your Off Hours, Too!

  • When tidying up, avoid the urge to be efficient. Let yourself make a million small trips to put each item in its place; you’re just racking up the steps while you do.
  • In the evenings, cut back on your couch time by sitting on the floor while watching TV. You’ll find yourself shifting positions more often, stretching, and even reaching for a foam roller or yoga mat.

How to Sit Properly

While you can do a lot to cut back on sitting during the day, you do have to sit sometimes. It’s important to use proper sitting posture so that you can reduce the negative effects sitting might have on your body:

  • Make sure to keep your back straight, but not too rigid.
  • Your backside should touch the back of the chair.
  • Use a rolled-up towel or lumbar back support pillow to make sure you’re getting a normal curve in your lower back.
  • Keep your body weight even on both hips.
  • Don’t cross your legs or ankles; keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, with your knees even with your hips. Use a foot rest if necessary.
  • Adjust your desk so that you can rest your elbows or arms on the desk at a 90-degree angle, with your shoulders relaxed.

Check out this resource for more tips on correct posture, including during driving, lifting objects, and lying down.

Final Thoughts

You’re a busy freelancer, and you hustle all day at your home office. The risks of a sedentary lifestyle are very real for you, but it can be hard to find ways to move during your busy day.

Hopefully some of these suggestions will inspire you to add some movement to your routine!

After all, a healthy body makes for a healthy mind – which is your most valued resource as a freelancer.

Nicole Replogle is a blogger and content writer for hire specializing in digital marketing, healthy living, and personal finance. When she is not creating converting content for businesses, she can be found playing with her rambunctious border collie mix, marathon training, or experimenting with new methods of brewing coffee.

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