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3 Tips For Staying Active When Working From Home (That Actually Work) 

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Whether you’re a long-time work-from-homer or you were thrust into this lifestyle thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve got news for you: Sitting is still bad for your health, decades after scientists first hypothesized that sitting at work was linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Ugh. Why couldn’t this be like the whole saturated fat scenario? You know: Everyone thought saturated fat was a killer for a couple decades and then some scientists said, “Wait, hold up. It’s not the demon we thought it was.

Why can’t a scientist do that for sitting?

Because, sorry, humans continue to sit more with each passing decade, and with each passing decade, our collective health gets worse and worse.

Things look even more dire as higher percentages of the workforce do their jobs remotely: Without the water cooler or conference rooms, your professional life quickly becomes much more sedentary.

Of course, there are things you can do to combat all the sitting you do, but you’ve heard it all before: Stand up every hour. Get a standing desk converter. Eat meals away from your desk. These tips are old news.

Hate to break it to you, but if those tips weren’t working for you already, they probably won’t start working anytime soon. We’ve got better strategies for you — here are 3 tips for staying active while working from home (and they actually work). 

Golden Retriever dog playing with his yellow plush footbal on the park's lawn.

Having a dog around is a great way to increase your activity level, and have fun while doing it!

Look, sometimes we all need a little extra oomph to get moving, and a dog will not hesitate to usher you out the door. We’re not saying you need to go out and adopt a puppy right this very second, but know that having a dog can significantly increase your daily activity level. Dogs require ample exercise each day, especially working breeds like Labradors and pointers. Plus, a fur friend can make long WFH days feel a lot less lonely. Companionship really does make a difference in how you feel!

If your current living situation doesn’t allow for a dog (ahem, no-pet landlords), you could always volunteer at a shelter once or twice a week. Shelter pups love and need attention, and volunteers can change their lives. For the dogs, it’s love and fun. For you, it’s an extra hour or two of running, jumping, and throwing — and love and fun, too.  

Everyone knows walking is important. It’s a foundational human movement and it’s an easy way to keep your activity levels high. But most advice about walking seems so vague. It’s always “walk 10,000 steps” or “park farther away.” Okay, but what if you don’t have time for 10,000 steps or you work from home and don’t park anywhere except your driveway?

Our advice is to ritualize walking in small amounts. Attach your steps to something you already do every day. An example: eating. Everyone eats; most people eat multiple times per day. Try walking for 10 minutes after (or before) breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This adds up to 30 minutes of walking which, depending on your speed, amounts to plenty of steps.

Ritualizing a new activity and attaching it to something you already do will make it much easier to adopt and sustain. Plus, breaking a 30-minute walk up into three 10-minute chunks feels much more manageable than going out for a few thousand steps.  

Two friends walking in a city park on a brisk fall day
Portrait of beautiful african american teenager using a feather duster to clean wood book shelves in home living room, smiling indoors. Young female spring cleaning house interior, skills and chores.

Taking daily walks or finding chores to do around the house are great ways to stay active when staying at home.

You already procrastinate (no shade thrown, promise!), so why not do it productively? Instead of putting off work by doom-scrolling Facebook for the umpteenth time today, why don’t you wipe the counters, sweep the floor, fold a load of laundry, or dust off your ceiling fans?

Working from home provides a unique opportunity to mix work tasks and household obligations in a way that makes sense for you. Taking a break to do chores gives your mind a break, gives your eyes a rest, and gives your body a refresh.

If you get to feeling sore from all the extra movement you implement while working from home now, we’ve got a little something for you.  

Written by Ekrin Athletics Staff

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