How to stay active and healthy during long-term remote work

During 2020, our gyms shut down, mandates had been positioned to stay inside, and many watched their bodily well being and stamina lower due to elevated stress and time spent being sedentary (this creator included).

Beforehand, consultants have declared “sitting is the new smoking.” And whereas the final couple of a long time have seen an enormous growth in well being and diet-conscious life, due to COVID-19, this  previous yr has pushed many employees residence and into remote positions. For lots of us, that’s right here to stay.

By the tip of 2020 (not even a full yr into the pandemic), the Chicago Tribune acknowledged that, “throughout the nation, aching backs, necks, and shoulders introduced on by COVID-19-related way of life modifications have despatched many individuals to bodily therapists.”


In accordance to a latest story from Brink News, “between January and September 2020, prices related to musculoskeletal problems have surpassed the annual price during every of the previous three years,” which price firms and employers handsomely within the course of. So, how will we confront the brand new challenges introduced to us on this ever-changing remote panorama?

As somebody who has additionally acquired an aching neck, I requested medical and business consultants how to stay healthy and limber during the age of remote work.

It’s not nearly what you do—however what you don’t do

COVID-19 has disrupted everybody’s life on some stage or different. Even for remote employees like myself who had been active pre-COVID-19, it doesn’t take lengthy for the physique to lose muscle mass after durations of inactivity (a mere 4 weeks).

Ulrich Dempfle, Chief Product Officer and one of many founders of the scientifically confirmed AI-powered Carol Bike says, “other than transferring much less, some remote employees are sitting for an extra 4 hours a day for a complete of 9.3 hours and then sleeping for 7.7 hours; that’s a whole lot of inactivity. Forty-six p.c of individuals reported doing much less train within the pandemic, 36% mentioned that they had disturbed sleep, and 39% mentioned that they had had musculoskeletal issues since March 2020.” There are a plethora of hostile repercussions to inactivity.

Kristian Marcial, a cofounder and bodily therapist at Tribeca Physical Therapy echoes Dempfle’s sentiment. “There’s undoubtedly an elevated case of well being points associated to inactivity due to the brand new norm of work from residence. I might approximate it to a 25% improve in our sufferers having ache, particularly instances comparable to neck ache and low again ache.”

Everyone knows we must always in all probability train extra. You don’t want to hear that once more, however attempt taking frequent breaks, even when it’s only for a couple of minutes, to stroll round your house. “I additionally encourage most of my sufferers, even those that want to spend most of their day at a desk, to stand up and stroll round, at the very least for a couple of minutes, each 20 to half-hour, to get blood flowing to the entire physique,” says Jacob LaSalle, a ache specialist and doctor at Hudson Medical, complete backbone and ache administration specialists. “Some discover it useful to have a brief, minutes[-long] stretching routine that they carry out during these mini-breaks.”


You probably have stairs, go up and down them a pair occasions, possibly put money into somewhat trampoline or train ball, something to get the blood flowing a bit. This isn’t about breaking a sweat, that is about holding your physique from going into shutdown mode. Not to point out that it’s additionally good to your mind, focus, and productiveness to step away from the monitor at common intervals.

Your creativity additionally wants a exercise

Among the best issues about remote work is the commute, or lack of it. However seems, that’s additionally one of many largest pitfalls of remote work. With no commute, we lose out on treasured steps and contemporary air and that psychological separation and decompression that comes from leaving a workspace.

Nikita Rvachev, cofounder at Aitarget, says, “Since work from residence, I’ve been slowly rolling down to fixed tiredness. The border between work and relaxation has disappeared, so I discovered myself sitting in entrance of the laptop computer from early morning to late night time with out breaks. To fight this, I’ve constructed a work-from-home routine: I pushed myself to separate my working time by sporting workplace garments, I replicate ‘commute’ time by strolling quarter-hour earlier than and after working hours, and I differentiate units I exploit for work and for leisure time.”

Andrey Novoselov, a director of content material at Travelpayouts, shares that “The improper place of the desk negatively impacts my  neck and head. I’m utilizing a stand for my laptop computer in order that I search for, not down, and my neck doesn’t really feel as drained.” LaSalle confirms Novoselov’s level, “I can’t stress sufficient the issues related to sitting and/or slouching for extended durations of time with reference to spinal well being. I encourage most of my sufferers who require lengthy hours at a pc or a desk to put money into a standing desk that’s adjustable and permits for a variety of postures and positions.”

Don’t neglect pure mild and snacks

The distinction between an active and inactive way of life doesn’t have to require a wardrobe change. There are such a lot of fad workout routines and diets, it’s unattainable to sustain and we find yourself doing nothing in any respect. However “active” isn’t simply crossfit memberships and yoga pants.

LaSalle says getting transferring is most essential: “By ‘active’ we definitely imply train, but additionally different types of exercise that aren’t typically thought-about train—strolling, buying, gardening, even getting up and doing issues round the home. All this stuff can promote the kind of exercise that preserves the well being and integrity of the musculoskeletal system over the long term.”

Josh Axe, a health care provider of pure medication and a cofounder of Historic Diet, suggests “taking strolling calls, stretching, and doing a little fast chores exterior. Sitting for too lengthy may cause all kinds of points like sluggish digestion, stiffness, [and] anxiousness. Altering up the place you work in your house is one other good technique for combating boredom.”

Axe says that “as a result of it may be onerous to forestall snacking and [food] grazing when working from residence, hold treats and junk meals out of sight. Put them in containers away within the cupboard so that you’re not tempted by seeing them. That will help you eat extra nutrient-dense, entire meals, take a while to meal prep on the weekends or after work hours, and put healthy meals in seen sight (comparable to a fruit bowl and pre-made snacks).”

Exercise can take many kinds. Don’t let concern or dislike of train hold you from being active. Discover the actions you do take pleasure in and make them a part of your day by day routine. Hobbies, strolling, sports activities, video games, and even chores are all nice methods to hold your self active.

Separate work and private whereas at residence

“It’s essential to have work-life steadiness even when working from residence.” says Matt Robertson, a companion at Planet X, a advertising and marketing agency and manufacturing firm. “Whereas working remotely, I reserve a separate nook of my residence for work and laptop time, whereas holding the remainder of my house as enjoyable and work-free as doable. From hanging with my canine to taking mid-day breaks for the fitness center, prioritizing my well being helps me stay productive as I develop my enterprise.”

A part of making a healthy work-life steadiness is having the ability to separate work from residence. Nevertheless, this may be simpler mentioned than accomplished once they’re the identical place. Create boundaries for your self. Give your own home house for you. It is your own home in any case.


LaSalle says, “I additionally assume, with reference to particularly working from residence, it’s essential to create boundaries between work house and non-public house. We’re typically extra delicate to house than we notice, so working within the bed room, and even in the lounge, could make it tougher to unplug and get restorative relaxation in areas which might be related to work.”

And find time for your self. Says Axe, “If doable, set a time when your work day ends and you’ll be able to deal with high quality private or household time and self-care, [such as] cooking and exercising. Something you are able to do to make the next day simpler, extra organized, and extra productive is an effective factor. Attempt tackling a very powerful duties very first thing within the morning in order that your day appears extra manageable, permitting you to set boundaries.”

If doable, arrange a delegated workspace separate from the place you “dwell.” Another choice could be to work in a close-by espresso store or library. Know when the work day is over and maintain that sacred, as a result of your well being is sacred.

The flexibleness of remote work is great and fully modifications the trendy outlook on work and the work surroundings. Nevertheless, it comes with its personal new set of challenges and threats to bodily and psychological well being, a few of which we could not even concentrate on simply but. Hear to your physique and be affected person with the method.