Guys who go to an office daily might think: “Please…cry me a river about your zero-minute commute because you work at home. I’d love that commute time back.”
It’s counter-intuitive that working at home, with commute time avoided, has fitness- and health-related pitfalls. After all, the #1 reason for not exercising is “I don’t have time.”
But having worked at home about half the time over the last decade, I can tell you first-hand: here are five fitness/health challenges that arise (and tips for overcoming them).
Let’s start with the fundamental idea of not sitting still for too long and getting basic movement throughout your day. When your commute is a walk down the hall, and food, drink and the bathroom are 20 feet away, you have very little “built-in” movement.
You’ll notice this if you wear a fitness tracker. It’s constantly badgering you when you work at home.
When you work at home, you have to purposefully leave the house to hit one of these locations. What’s the big deal? If you’re motivated enough to stop by the gym, why wouldn’t you be motivated enough to head out to it?
But the risk is subtler than that.
Without exercise time slots defined by a lunch hour or commute, your very flexibility creates a risk. Many a workout has been skipped due to vague plans (“I’ll work out sometime today”). Or to procrastination (“I was going to go work out now, but I’m making progress on ___ and so I’ll go later”).
Sure, you have more control over food at home. But having all the food in your house within a 15-second walk creates risk of eating too often, or too much at a time. At home, it’s easy to end up grazing throughout the day or eating the equivalent of “seconds.”
Sure, you’re on chat, the phone, video calls with people. But that’s not the same as actually seeing people and having a non-work interaction with them. And such human interactions, during even short breaks from work tasks, are a key part of managing stress and promoting overall wellness.
Evening commutes are tiresome, but at least they naturally separate “work day” from “evening.” I know, email follows you, but still, having a separate office creates healthy distinction between work and home.
Working at home, though, is essentially “living at the office.”
It’s hard to draw the line. Sometimes you find yourself just continuing to work in the evenings or on weekends, simply because your work environment is always there staring you in the face.
These obstacles are real, but still: if you work at home, you have more time…the most precious commodity if you can make use of it.
Be smart about avoiding the pitfalls, and you can have more time to be successful in work AND more time for fitness and health!
“We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.” (Eric Burdon & The Animals, We Gotta Get Out of This Place — click to listen)
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Originally published at medium.com