In the modern world, remote work has become increasingly popular. Many people are working from home, and this pattern is expected to continue at least in the medium term.
This alternative offers various advantages, but there are also pitfalls. One of the rather significant disadvantages of remote work is a sedentary lifestyle, which leads to many chronic pathologies, such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Why is it so important to be physically active?
Physical activity provides benefits both physically and psychologically. Before citing these positive effects, it is important to remember that physical activity does not necessarily refer to sports. For example, physical activity could be walking to work. On the other hand, exercise is a structured, repetitive and planned activity. It is more intensive and aimed at developing specific skills.
Regular exercise is important because it allows you to:
- Improve physical fitness: Helps combat overweight and obesity, helps maintain good muscle function and prevents premature weakening of bones.
- Maintain good mental health: When you exercise, your body produces hormones that promote good mood and happiness. It also helps clear your mind and reduce stress.
- Be more productive: Physical activity allows you to take your mind off work and become more productive. On the one hand, because stress decreases and mental health becomes more stable, and on the other hand, because sport stimulates the activity of the temporal lobe, which is responsible for memory. Haven't you noticed that you're more productive after taking a break from work?
- Reduced risk of disease: Regular physical activity significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Working from home inevitably leads to a decrease in physical activity, since it does not require any commuting. It also involves changing your daily routine, which can make the situation worse, as well as adopting unhealthy habits such as frequent snacking, poor posture, or excessive use of screens. When working remotely, a person must control himself, organize, motivate, and give himself “acceleration.” By following our recommendations, you can easily combat a sedentary lifestyle.
Tips for combating a sedentary lifestyle while working remotely
1. Create a work routine. Knowing how to organize work from home is the first step to effectively implementing remote work without negative consequences for physical and mental health.
To do this, it is important to set a regular schedule, always starting and ending your workday at the same time. It's also helpful to take breaks for breakfast, lunch, and snacks so you don't have to eat between meals.
As far as possible, it is advisable to keep the work area as isolated as possible from the rest of the home. It is advisable that it be a quiet place, without noise, with natural light and good air conditioning.
Extended work hours at night or on weekends should be avoided and separated from leisure, family or recreation activities.
2. Take breaks from work. One of the main disadvantages of telecommuting is that you often miss out on the voluntary or unintentional breaks that actually take place in the office. For example, go to a meeting or have a snack. This means that the same posture is maintained for a long time.
Sitting for hours on end eventually leads to muscle pain.
To prevent this discomfort, it is necessary to take short and frequent breaks every 45 minutes to an hour. It's a good idea to schedule alerts on your cell phone or computer.
These breaks from work should not be devoted to reading or consulting on a mobile phone. It is advisable to rest your eyes to prevent eye strain. What is recommended is to take a short walk to relax and stretch.
Another suggestion is to stand and make circles with your hips, using the ability to open and close your arms and lift your knees.
You can also do the exercises a little more intensely by standing up and sitting down from a chair for about thirty seconds.
Moving around during breaks and planning one physical activity per day are key measures to combat sedentary lifestyle while working remotely.
3. Ergonomic posture and posture when working. Adopting ergonomic postures when working is critical to preventing back and joint pain.
Place the computer screen about one arm's distance away and at a height suitable for viewing and such that your neck is straight.
It is equally important to change your posture. That is, change the way you sit in your chair. For example, work with your back pressed against the backrest, and after a while sit on the front of the chair with your back straight. This exercise, in addition to changing your posture, also helps strengthen your lower back.
Another good option is to stand up every time you need to talk on the phone, and ideally work 30% of the day while standing at a high desk.
4. Daily exercise. To combat the sedentary lifestyle that remote work causes, you need to schedule daily physical activity.
This could be walking, running or any other sport that involves cardiovascular exercise. It is advisable to combine this type of physical activity with exercise to avoid muscle pain and strength training to prevent back pain.
Practices such as yoga can be especially helpful in combating sedentary lifestyles while working remotely, as well as stress by combining strength training, stretching and breathing.
5. Elimination of the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to the above recommendations, in case of muscle or joint pain, you can resort to applying cold or heat to the affected area and using special anti-inflammatory creams. However, if the discomfort does not go away, you should consult a professional.