Remote work isn’t a new concept, but the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many companies to shift from in-office work to a fully remote or hybrid model.
Many workers welcome the opportunity to work at home, but it does pose health risks. Remote jobs tend to be sedentary, meaning you spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Sitting for long periods is bad for your health. That's why it's important to be intentional when it comes to regular movement.
How much movement do you need?
Adults need to get up and move around at least once an hour, preferably every 30 minutes. Moving doesn't mean you have to jog around the block or play a strenuous game of basketball. It can be something as simple as walking to the mailbox.
You move more than you realize when you’re in an office setting. You get frequent breaks from sitting by walking to different parts of the building for lunch or to chat with a colleague. But you may not move around as much when you work at home and that can negatively affect your health.
What are the health risks from sitting too much?
Health risks associated with sitting too much mean more than stiff joints and a sore back. Your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes also increases. Even people who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week still face increased risks if they sit for prolonged periods on a regular basis.
How do I build movement into my day?
It’s important to be intentional about incorporating movement during your workday. Use a timer to remind you when it's time to move. You might even place it on the other side of the room so you have to get up to silence the alarm.
Here are other ways to incorporate movement into your day:
- Drink lots of water for health and to encourage bathroom breaks.
- Get up and do a few yoga stretches every 30 minutes.
- Invest in an under-desk elliptical machine.
- Sit on a stability ball so you use your core muscles to hold your body in place.
- Stand at your kitchen counter and work for an hour. Do calf raises (lift your heels off the ground) or squeeze your glutes while you work.
- Station your printer on the other side of your house so you must walk to retrieve documents.
- Take your dog on a brief walk between meetings.
- Walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while reviewing documents or watching a webinar.
- Walk or pace around your house while you take phone calls. Studies have shown benefits to walking for even two minutes out of an hour.
Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.