The Work from Home Rot

Have you ever sat for so long it seems like you can feel your body and potential wasting away? With so many work from home jobs on the career market, Canadians are sitting enough to pose a risk to our health.

After a day working on my laptop at my desk in my room, what I want most is to crack all of my joints and go for a walk – anything to stop feeling like my body is rotting in my chair. 

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) reports that sitting for too many hours in a day, especially unbroken, can raise your risk for various medical conditions.

  • Higher risk of mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Several cancers
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Weight gain
  • Adverse blood lipid profile

CSEP created a 24 hour movement guideline to help Canadians learn how much sitting is too much.

They recommend no more than eight hours of sedentary time and three hours of recreational screen time per day. And no, this doesn’t mean you get to blow off work under the guise of health.

Try to break up your time spent sitting as much as possible. This can be grabbing a glass of water or a snack from the kitchen, a 30 second stretch break, or using low effort workout equipment at your desk.

How Much Am I Sitting?

Working from home often means sitting in front of a computer screen for hours every day. It can be hard to judge how long we actually sit for when it becomes a job requirement instead of a personal habit.

Just Stand has a sitting calculator so you can estimate how long you actually sit for in a day – and how risky your amount of sitting is for your health.

This doesn’t have to be a concern though. Mayo Clinic cites that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense exercise every day can counteract the effects of too much sitting. 

For those with desk jobs, it may not feel like much has changed in your daily routine from office to home, but your body has definitely noticed the difference.

Working in an office means getting up to travel, whether it’s walking to your car or walking to work. It also involves getting up to chat with coworkers, grabbing lunch, making your way back home, and maybe even social activities with coworkers. 

workout equipment

Working from home can create the pattern of bed, desk, couch, repeat; especially if you live alone. 

How Can I Stay Moving While Staying Productive?

At the end of the day, knowing you sit too much doesn’t affect your job requirements. You still need to make sure you get all your work done and that means sitting at your desk concentrating on your tasks.

Some easy, free techniques to keep yourself from sinking into the rot include using smaller glasses of water (or your preferred drink) so you need to stand up and walk to the kitchen to refill it more often or setting timers to remind you to stop and stretch.

It’s easy to lose track of time, so setting timers to remind yourself to move can get you up before you can feel your muscles atrophying and need to crack all the bones in your neck and back to get comfy again.

If you want to stay active without the strict scheduling while still keeping your focus on work, The Health Insider rounded up a few pieces of workout equipment to keep you moving without distraction.

Under Desk Elliptical Machine

By using this machine, you can work out for longer periods of time since you don’t need to take a break from work. You can simply pedal while you keep your focus on your computer.

Under Desk Bike

This bike has similar benefits to the elliptical machine. Riding a bike is muscle memory and without the need to balance or steer, it’s an easy way to keep moving while sitting in your desk chair.

Standing Desk

Forget the chair altogether with a standing desk. This will engage your leg muscles (hello calves!) and keep you from feeling like your legs are wasting away into the abyss. 

Yoga Ball

Standing all day can be hard though. If you prefer to sit and don’t like the idea of workout equipment infringing on your leg room, try using a yoga ball instead. Your muscles will stay engaged to keep you balanced on the ball, and it even offers more options for fun stretches to try during breaks. 

Considering starting to practice yoga at home? Learn more with The Health Insider’s article Namaste at Home: Creating Your Perfect Yoga Haven.

Try these strategies in your daily life to fight off the work from home rot and protect yourself better against disease.

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