3 Movement Hacks
Why do we move less when working from home?
Well, first: Our only commute is between our bed and our computer. No more walking to the train or our car. Second, no more going for lunch around the corner.
In our modern, movement-starved world, these steps are crucial to us and our well-being. How can we get moving again?
Don’t worry, we have three easy solutions for you.
1. The walking meeting and simulated commute
Problem: Fewer spontaneous encounters and opportunities to meet in person
Now that you don’t have the opportunity to just bump into your co-workers at the cafeteria, you probably have even more meetings than ever. This is because these spontaneous conversations about current projects (or other interesting topics) don’t happen anymore. And with these meetings, we’ve also lost a lot of steps. How do we get them back?
Solution: Walking meetings
Take a walking meeting! Steve Jobs was famous for these meetings even before remote work became the new norm. The act of walking will increase circulation and break up the monotony. So whenever possible, take out your headphones and take a walk. You can do this during more casual video calls as well as during longer phone meetings as long as a little outside noise is tolerable when you speak.
Another option to get more steps into your day is the “simulated commute”. While working from home certainly saved us a lot of time by removing our daily commute, it has also cost us an important transition period between our work life and our free time. So, if you’re the type for it, try integrating a walk before and after work. That way, you’ll also get more movement into your day, while at the same time having an opportunity to transition between working and not working.
2. The standing office
Problem: Long sitting spells decrease mobility
The home office has yet another feature that differs from going to a workplace: you don’t have to leave your comfortable chair as often. While at the office, you might have to leave your desk to walk to the printer, get a coffee down the hall, or retrieve something from another department. At home, your printer might be right next to your computer. Your kitchen won’t be a 5-minute walk away. Consequently, you’ll spend even more time sitting.
Why is that a bad thing? Because sitting is a very static, flexed body posture. Over time, the body will adapt to this fixed position, causing muscles to lengthen or shorten where they shouldn’t, as well as causing joints to become less mobile.
Solution: Create some options for yourself to work while standing
To alleviate some of these negative features of sitting, make sure to have the option to stand while working. Maybe you have a kitchen counter you can use, or your employer might even equip you with a standing desk. In either case, make sure to use books or other stable objects to get your workspace to the correct ergonomic height for you.
Creating the option to switch from sitting to standing throughout the day will allow you to keep moving just that critical bit more during those long and exhausting meetings to keep a clear head (and relax your upper back).
3. The movement schedule
Problem: Walking meetings and standing work are not reasonable options
Maybe you’re the type of person that is highly focused, preferring to sit quietly while thinking or typing away. Consequently, walking around or standing might not be perfect for you.
Solution: Schedule movement ahead of time
What you can do instead of walking or standing is to schedule yourself movement breaks at regular intervals.
This can mean setting a timer every 30, 45, or 60 minutes and getting moving for 5 minutes (maybe stretch a bit or do some Jumping Jacks).
Or you might not see yourself doing regular movement breaks because you can’t predict when you’re free for them. Then your best option is to schedule yourself a full workout before or after work. If possible, you could even schedule your workout in the middle of your workday to break up long periods of sitting.
Treat movement time as an important business appointment and commit to it ahead of time: This way, your working day will have a clear beginning or end because of it. If you’re a morning person, get that workout in before you get going about your day. If you’re more of a night owl, break a sweat after work before you get comfortable on the couch.
No matter which method you choose, by having a movement schedule, you are making sure your body gets what it needs. That way, you’ll be more productive at work and healthier overall.
2 Nutrition Hacks
1. Hydration is key
Of course, there is more to being healthy than just training. Your body also needs the right nutrition. This can be tricky when working from home because we are often forced from one meeting into the next. This can lead to us forgetting to drink and even getting into the habit of stress eating.
Problem: Dehydration hurts your mind as much as it does your body
Did you know that if you’re dehydrated by just 2%, both your performance in tasks that require attention and memory skills will go down? To our body and brain, a steady supply of water is essential. So, make sure you don’t forget to drink regularly! How much? Most dietary guidelines agree on an amount between 1.5 and 2 liters per day, depending on your weight.
Solution: Keep enough water within arm’s length
An easy hack is to place a full water bottle of, for example, one liter at your desk. If you’re not
sure when you are thirsty, try to take a sip of water and see how you feel about it. Learn to listen to your bodily cues while you’re moving less. You should aim to empty the bottle at least 1-2 times per day. You could also do the same with tea or other non-sugary drinks.
2. Getting the right fuel for your workday (and beyond)
Problem: You forget about meals because home is too convenient
The second half of your nutrition is what you (don’t) eat! With your home kitchen just around the corner, it is easy to take a stroll to the fridge and stress eat between meetings. Or you might be so immersed with work that you forget to eat. After all, you could just eat when you’re finished, right? What can you do to avoid this?
Solution: Stock up on the healthy stuff and schedule your meals
The first part of this hack is based on avoiding bad foods: Don’t bring anything home that will burden your conscience! That means not buying sweets or fast food. Instead, have a steady supply of healthy snacks, should you have an episode of stress eating. Optimally, this will consist of mostly nuts and fruits.
The second half of this hack is keeping a regular meal schedule. While working from home, it is very easy to delay your meals simply because the kitchen is so close. Don’t fall into that trap: By not eating regularly, your brain will be starved for nutrients. This can lead to lack of concentration, i.e. bad work performance, and even binge eating. Prevent this from happening by scheduling yourself a real lunch break. If this is not possible, have scheduled snacks over the course of your working day. Pre-cooking your meals might also help if you lack time during the week.
Go forth and hack your home office habits!
The home office workday has changed a lot in our lives: From moving less to eating worse, you need to run a tight ship to stay ahead and live healthy.
By consciously walking, drinking more, and scheduling your meals and exercise, you can keep chasing that best version of yourself. If you need help structuring your exercise and nutrition, the Freeletics Coach is here for you.