Health & Wellness Articles

10 Ways to Stay Healthy When Working from Home

Make Your Home Workplace Work for You

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Working from home may seem like a dream. You have no boss popping up behind you. No employees to interrupt you with the latest office gossip. No donuts to avoid. But, working from home—with all of its perks and pluses—also presents some unique challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. From temptations in your fully-stocked fridge and pantry calling you, to the mindset of always being ''at work,'' to having a schedule that's almost too flexible, working from home can make staying healthy difficult in some ways. Here's how to stay fit when your home doubles as your office.

1. Choose your ''office chair'' wisely. One of the great perks of working at home is that you can work where you want to, as long as you have a laptop (which many work-at-homers do). At a desk? At the kitchen table? On the couch? In bed? Outside on the patio? Yep, you can pretty much set up shop anywhere. But, you're still sitting on your duff, and possibly more inclined to stay sitting because you have few work-related reasons to stand up and move. Plus, where you're sitting at home is probably more comfortable than a typical office chair and, therefore, more appealing to sit in for hours on end. So, choose to sit in a chair that's less comfortable and requires better posture than a recliner chair. Sitting on an exercise ball is a great way to make your workday a little more active. You could even consider investing in a treadmill desk or a standing desk, where you don't sit at all!

2. Set a timer. For those who don't have a treadmill desk or a standing desk, make it a point to stand up and walk around at least once every hour. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods may decrease your metabolism, hurt your heart health and even increase your risk of cancer. One easy way to sit less is to set an automatic timer on your computer or phone to alert you once every hour. As soon as you hear that alarm, stand up and get moving for a couple of minutes. You can do jumping jacks, walk the stairs in your home, stretch, do some yoga poses, take the dog outside—whatever you like to do. Just move! Making it a priority to get up and move once an hour will help your health and your weight-management efforts, and it'll even give you a mental and emotional boost to help you get more done.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • MARIE_COLLIER
    You must stay disciplined. You must make time in your life to get outside and interact with other people. This is a downfall to many who work at home. They do fail due to the isolation working at home brings. FYI I have had success with this A rated with the BBB program and you all are welcome to join me: http://4WeeklyChe
    cks.com - 3/25/2014 8:51:08 PM
  • I homeschool my kids and work part time at home. It is true that you can wind up working all day or not nearly enough, because no one is watching you and keeping tabs on you. I wear workout clothes all day, and unfortunately, they are also just more comfortable, so it's hard to do my work. I like the idea of a timer to make me get up a lot. Thanks. - 7/11/2013 9:47:49 AM
  • I disagree with "Wear Workout Clothes." Working from home yoga pants become my worst enemy. When I had to go to an office I had to wear clothes that had to fit properly every day. You notice every pound that way. Yoga clothes are extremely forgiving. Wear real clothes every day. - 6/4/2013 7:15:17 PM
  • NANCY_JW
    Great advice. I've lost more than 10 pounds since becoming a fulltime telecommuter. I mainly eat a lot healthier and stand up a lot more. I also have free weights and use those sometime during conference calls when I just have to listen. - 5/26/2013 10:40:01 AM
  • STR458
    10 Minute Daily Exercise Challenge makes this home healthy experience come alive - 5/2/2013 9:56:28 AM
  • NEEDLESOFGOLD
    I have worked from home for 7 years. Last year I got my boss to get me an ergo desktop (http://www.ergod
    esktop.com/co
    ntent/kangaro
    o-junior). I now stand at least 60% of the time most days more like 80%. You can pains in your legs from standing in one spot too long. It's also hard to "dance" while typing! ; ) - 4/11/2013 9:34:00 PM
  • Good suggestions; thank you! - 3/30/2013 6:44:15 AM
  • I use Google Chrome and it has a timer app that I set for 30 minutes. When it goes off I get up and do something. Some stretches or a load of laundry or fetch with the dog. I have some back problems and this timer helps me to keep moving so the back does not freeze up. - 3/28/2013 8:06:00 AM
  • Very good advise. I recently bought a yoga ball but haven't had the flexibility to join the local YMCA yoga classes to use it. The ball was just taking up space.

    I immediately replaced my chair with the ball before I finished reading the article. I'm feeling something different with my large bottom torso muscles in just 15 minutes as a roll around.

    Thanks - 3/27/2013 1:55:49 PM
  • P.S. Although I do agree that "less comfortable chair" should not translate into "ergonomically bad chair." You need a chair that fits your body size and that will allow you to maintain good posture and form at your desk. - 3/27/2013 10:34:35 AM
  • I have worked from home for ten years, and I completely agree with this advice. I've also found that it is far easier for me to keep my weight down and get my exercise in that it is for my friends and family who work in the office. As long as I use my will power and don't snack on the wrong things, I'm in a much better situation to weigh my food, make healthy lunches (and not get stuck in the boring salad rut), and get in some exercise time. It also means I'm not tempted to go out for lunch, snacks, or drinks after work like I did when working in an office. - 3/27/2013 10:32:50 AM
  • I agree with most of your hints, BUT I find if I prepare the right quantity of food and work at my desk while eating it, I am far less likely to get up and go downstairs for second helpings than if I went to the kitchen or dining room or deck to eat. When I am thinking about the food, if it tastes good, I want more. And even when I discipline myself to waiting at least 20 minutes before getting seconds, I find that during that time, my interest in eating more just increases. No sense of being too full interferes with that~ If I am working, it is just fuel and not worth the effort to go for more. - 3/27/2013 8:53:58 AM
  • I kinda work at home. I help out at a real estate office which is right below my apartment. I come and go as I please from office to apartment. I find this very helpful for my health... at my old job, I had to make sure I packed a lunch (which I rarely did) or I'd have to eat in the cafeteria... didn't have the healthiest food options. Now I can just go upstairs, make breakfast, and eat it at a comfortable pace, go back to work, go upstairs to make lunch, go back to work... I love it! I don't keep anything in my fridge that will tempt me to pig out. I also use a yoga ball at my desk, it constantly keeps me moving. I usually work out on the treadmill after work, or head out early to the gym. I find working at home so so so much better for my health! I'm down 50 pounds since I started working at home 9 months ago. - 2/12/2013 3:09:14 PM
  • LTMAJOT84
    I'm surprised to find that I already do a few of these, while others are great tips! I really needed these reminders, as I'm new to working from home and running my own business. I especially like the standing and working idea....very Hemingway! It is a gift to work from home that comes with some unexpected challenges and it's time for me to get more health conscious in my routine. - 2/4/2013 6:02:20 PM
  • JWOOLMAN
    Please don't choose a "less comfortable" chair. A good chair is comfortable because it gives you the right kind of support. You should have a chair that feels good when you sit against the back (which you should be doing in a proper chair). I wasted years buying cheap stenographer chairs for my work at a typewriter and then at a computer. Finally I spent a few hundred dollars on a really good chair designed for people who work at the computer for long hours - a SwingSeat. Quickly made a huge difference in how all parts of my body felt - back, legs, feet, etc. it lets me easily move in all directions, including reaching down toward the floor and moving my legs while I work. Don't skimp on your input devices (keyboard, mouse/trackball) and don't skimp on your chair! Do set up to be able to do some tasks standing up or walking in place (I have a second keyboard and trackball for this, walk in place keeps me focused better during long proofreading sessions and also while reading). You also can walk in place while sitting down. But get a chair that makes it easy for you to work without destroying your body... Google the SwingSeat or look on YouTube to find videos of how a good computer chair actually works and you will see how it will make it much easier to incorporate movement in your day than a "less comfortable" chair. - 1/3/2013 4:55:41 AM

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