How to stay active while you’re working from home

11 January 2021

We all know that being sedentary is bad for our health, but it can be challenging to get those 10,000 steps a day if you’re working from home. Here are five ideas for staying active in your home workplace.

We know that being active has heaps of benefits. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise a day is enough, according to the Mayo Clinic, to deliver that all-important one-two punch – upping production of “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol while slowing the manufacture of “bad” triglycerides, the main constituent of human body fat.

Trouble is, for more than half of us (even the ones who know all this), there are plenty of reasons for not exercising. Throw in a pandemic and a working-from-home habit that looks set to continue into 2021 and, well, who isn’t in need of a burst of home-front fitspiration right now?

Here are five ways you might get active while working from home (WFH).

Skip it

Buy yourself a speed rope, clear a space, pretend it’s 1975 and start skipping. Don’t expect any Sly Stallone Rocky-style jump counts to start with (if you can bear to look, some ropes have LCD counters that will show you all the gory details); it’s enough simply to start. Depending on how fit you are, the experts suggest starting at one minute a day, and slowly increasing as you start to feel less out of breath. Playing Eye Of The Tiger really loud will probably help, too.

Leave it out

Career coach Joanne Markow believes in leaving fitness props — exercise mats, hand weights, resistance bands and push-up bars — lying around so they’re, quite literally, in your way. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day, she says, and just get straight into those reps. The objective? Eliminating excuses. Make it even easier by climbing straight into comfy clothes and sneakers when you get dressed in the morning.

Rhythm is a dancer

According to a 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, dancing is marvellous for our brain health, staving off dementia in particular — a benefit that seems not to apply to other activities included in the study, such as swimming, playing golf or cycling. It produces a kind of “pleasure double play”, say experts: music stimulates the brain’s reward centre while movement activates its sensory and motor circuits. Well, if that’s not permission to crank up the volume on Donna Summers’ I Feel Love, don your best Lycra and throw shapes the likes of which have never been seen at 8am on a weekday morning in your living-room, we don’t know what is.

Pedal power

Multi-taskers might like a bicycle desk — a hybrid invention that allows you to burn calories while responding to your emails (or watching The Crown while everyone else thinks you’re responding to your emails). Given that 13 studies equate sitting down for eight hours a day with smoking and obesity in relation to dangerous health outcomes, passionate “desklysts” consider theirs the best $200 they’ve ever spent.

Let it soak

Everyone needs some “soak time” in their day, reckons career coach Michael Robilotto — time to think about what they just did or what they’re about to do next. He advises getting up and going for a 15-minute walk, twice a day. Also, why not carry out your next conference call while taking a stroll outside? Life reboot expert Aaron McHugh walked 236 kilometres last month doing just that. “Nobody ever said you had to sit in front of your monitor,” he says.

Make sure you’re covered

Staying active is an important part of staying healthy — and so is making sure you’ll have help with your medical bill if and when they crop up. Suncorp Health Insurance offers coverage for a range of treatments.

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Suncorp Health Insurance is issued by nib, a registered private health insurer, and is marketed by  Platform CoVentures Pty Ltd ABN 82 626 829 623, a Suncorp Group company (PC), for which PC receives commission from nib. nib is not a part of the Suncorp Group.