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Simple ways to stay active and healthy when working from home

Healthy Home Office

Create a space that keeps you well while you work. 

Home offices might afford you the freedom to work in your jammies, but it’s all too easy to become a slave to the desk. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever for your home office to become a place where you can get and stay fit, even during the 9 to 5. 

“Exercising in your home office is a great step,” said David Kahl, founder and CEO of Ergo Depot, which makes adjustable height desks. “Giving yourself the environment to be healthy is such a great gift to yourself.”

Get on your feet: Studies show that sitting all day can lead to bad health outcomes ranging from cardiovascular disease to increased risk of diabetes. But new research from Texas A&M University found that standing desks not only helped workers feel better but also boosted their productivity. Enter adjustable height desks, which can be made taller or shorter to allow for sitting or standing. Although people often worry that standing during work is a chore, Kahl said the opposite is true. “It’s so invigorating to transition to a more active workplace,” he said. But he does have a couple of tips for doing so. First, he recommends standing on an anti-fatigue mat, which discourages static standing and helps to engage different leg muscles. He also suggests easing into standing during the workday. “Take your time, be gentle with yourself,” he said. “Notice how your body’s feeling.”

Get walking: For people who want to do more than just stand at their desks, treadmill desks are another option for a more active at-home workplace. In fact, Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks, said the TrekDesk, which turns any treadmill into a workstation, was originally designed for the home office. Plus, Bordley added, TrekDesks rescue treadmills from being “glorified clothes hangers,” like they are in so many homes. In addition to the obvious fitness benefits of walking during a large portion of the workday, Bordley said that walking could help with everything from improving creativity and concentration, to battling depression and dementia. “Walking is one of the best things we can do for our brain,” he said. 

Schedule workout breaks: Even short bursts of activity can be beneficial to people who spend most of their days sitting, said Errick McAdams, CPT, of EMPT (Errick McAdams Personal Training). He recommends setting an alarm on your smartphone or other device to go off every 30 minutes to alert you to get up and move. Depending on your fitness level, McAdams suggests doing 20 chair squats, 100 jumping jacks, running up and down some stairs, or even doing some burpees. “A perfect exercise to do during your work break is something that gets your heart rate up,” McAdams said. It all adds up to incremental fitness, he said, noting that people can do a little bit of exercise all day long, even on days where they don’t have an hour or more to work out. Drinking some water during each of these work breaks is a good move, too.

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