For many of us, working from home means a lot of sitting. As a freelance writer, I spend much of my day at the computer, usually working through lunch. In the past, I would only get up for an occasional bathroom break, but not anymore. It seems there is a new study about the dangers of sitting coming out every week, and I have taken them to heart.
Many WAHMs who sit for their jobs fit in a workout before or after the work day. While working out is of course beneficial for our health, it can’t outweigh the dangers of sitting too much. In fact, a January 2015 review in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that prolonged sedentary time, no matter how much you work out, caused health problems.
Excessive sitting or sedentary lifestyle has become the norm in today’s culture. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for death among adults around the world. Sitting for long periods of time causes physiologic changes in our bodies that can’t be undone with working out a few times per week. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to increased risk for heart disease, cancer and poor bone density. Sitting for 8 to 12 hours per day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by a whopping 90 percent!
Fortunately, taking breaks from sitting, even just to stand up and stretch for a minute can help offset these risks. Work-at-home moms have a unique advantage, because we usually have control over our schedules. We have the freedom to schedule activity breaks throughout the day. Here are 5 ideas for fitting in activity during your workday.
Take a Walk
If you work while the kids are home, take a few breaks throughout the day to pack everyone up and do a couple laps around the block. Your kids will love the outdoors time, and you will come back to your work feeling refreshed and energized. If you are alone, download a great podcast and get out in the sunshine.
YouTube is absolutely full of free workout videos, many lasting just 5 to 10 minutes. Bookmark a few of your favorites to have on reserve when you need a break. I like to turn one on every time I finish an article. It helps me unwind before jumping into the next project.
Roll Out the Yoga Mat
Even a minute or 2 of stretching has benefits. Sit down on your yoga mat and take a deep breath. Do a few forward folds while focusing on your breath. If you are feeling tired, try a couple sun salutations for a natural energy boost.
Dance It Out
If you are struggling with writer's block, sometimes there is nothing better than dancing it out. Pull up your favorite playlist and get moving.
Upgrade Your Desk
A great way for WAHMs to fit in exercise is with an activity desk. Treadmill desks are amazing, but expensive. Last year I opted for a more affordable option and invested in a fitdesk, which is a stationary bike with desk attachment. Not only does this keep me more active, but I am also less likely to mindlessly snack while working.