Working from Home: How to Move More and Sit Less
2021 – We are now over a year on from when the first lockdown occurred in NSW, when a lot of us we were plunged into working from home.
For many this was a godsend!
Working to your own schedule.
Not having to get dressed up for work.
Sleep in? Sure why not?
Let’s just say coffee in the local area boomed!
But for others the commute to work was integral to their regular exercise routine along with walking at lunch time and catching up with colleagues in and around the office throughout the day.
Their usual routine got them moving and working from home put a huge spanner in this.
Others found much to their dismay that the lockdowns may have flattened one curve but let go of another!
Feedback received from active wear as to waistlines is just not the same as fitted office style attire.
So, there are pros and cons to working from home and working in the office. The good news is that for most of us there is at least some hybrid option of working from home and in the office now or routines have been embedded to bring exercise and movement into your day if your office remains your home.
What has your experience been?
Has working from home benefited you?
What routines have you developed so that your body thrives?
From talking to clients and working with corporates and businesses along with my own experiences (I teach in the undergraduate physiotherapy program where we had to teach massage techniques via Zoom!), there are various strategies to employ.
But before we look at the strategies, let’s take a look at one of the biggest issues with working from home:
Too much sitting and not enough moving.
The human body is made to move but it is incredibly adaptive.
Move it and you will see on the inside:
Increased circulation and cardio-respiratory responses
Stimulation of our musculoskeletal system and metabolism to support this
Hormonal changes including circulation of good feel hormones like serotonin and endorphins
Greater brain activity due to increased circulation and stimulation of our arousal centres.
As you move more your body adapts by building better and greater infrastructure to support this including increased number of:
Capillaries in your muscles – helping to reduce blood pressure
Muscle fibres and size depending on what kind of exercise you are doing and remember muscles are metabolically active – they burn fat!
Energy making factories inside your muscle cells – mitochondria – providing you with the ability to do more with less exertion so movement and exercise becomes easy, enjoyable and something really you don’t want to live without.
Sit for extended periods a lot and these processes reverse.
Sitting tanks our metabolism!
Muscles drive our metabolism.
As a consequence, we increase our risk factors for lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and some cancers.
This is due to the cardio-metabolic processes that are not being stimulated along with an increase in our inflammatory markers in our body. The list goes on, as we are not regulating our system as well our blood sugars rise as our insulin sensitivity falls and circulating blood fats increase as our fat burners switch off. We are also at higher risk of blood clots as well due to reduced circulation.
Now if that is not enough to get you off you bum and onto your feet quick we know that your mood, concentration and overall energy levels are affected all the same.
So back to the strategies to increase the movement in your day while working from home.
Here is cheat list for you to check in with:
1 minute of standing heel raises
5 minute walk around the house - put the washing on, hang washing out
10 minute walk to your local café or grocer for cuppa or apple
15 minutes of standing every hour
20 minute walk at lunch time
30 sit to stand squats a day
45 minutes of local Pilates, stretch/yoga or gym class or session 3 x week
60 seconds standing on one leg for balance while the kettle boils!
Take the long way around, take the stairs and find all the hills around your area for a bit of huff and puff.
You might already be doing a lot of these strategies which is great or they may give you a few ideas to add to your weekly routine.
Try putting one or two small new habits in and see how that makes you feel.
Looking for a local class? We offer small group physiotherapy or clinical exercises classes that will get you moving and help combat the negative effects of too much sitting! Learn more here.