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It's hard enough to keep fit when you're busy. But what do you do when you work at home. Suddenly all those little tricks we're taught - get off the bus a stop early on the commute to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office - are impractical. How do you get off a stop early when the only commute you have is from your couch to your home office? How do you fight the temptation of a sweet treat when they're all around you?
Working at home can be really harmful for our health. It can make us more sedentary, and a study by teams at the University of Loughborough and the University of Leicester found that sedentary people (such as those with desk jobs) were 90% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, such as a heart-attack. They were also 149% more likely to have a non-fatal cardiovascular event, and 49% more likely to die of any cause.
Think on that.
That cushy sedentary lifestyle is literally killing you.
Hating exercise only makes this worse. But you don't have to be a gym-bunny to be fit and healthy. Here, we examine 9 simple tweaks that you can make to your daily routine that can help you be healthy if you work at home and hate exercise.
1. Buy a standing desk
Home-workers who use a computer all day might benefit from buying a standing desk A standing desk is a tall desk upon which is placed your computer; you stand to work for the majority of your time, sitting occasionally to rest. Once used by eccentric writers (Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway had them), standing-desks are now becoming popular among office workers due to their many health benefits, making it an excellent potential addition to your home office.
People with standing desks burn 50 calories more per hour than people with conventional desks, making it a simple method of tackling obesity. Standing more during the day also lowers your blood glucose levels, which reduces your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It may also lower your overall mortality: a 2010 Australian study found that each hour spent sitting daily increased your mortality risk over the next seven years by 11%
2. Wear a pedometer
A pedometer is a simple, inexpensive machine (you can buy them for one or two pounds or dollars) that measures how many steps you take in a day. The aim is to take 10,000 steps a day. For many home-workers, that seems an impossible goal. However, wearing a pedometer makes you more aware of the number of steps you're taking. The aim is to gradually increase the number of steps so you are getting closer to 10,000 every day.
Author Katie Fford, writing for the Daily Mail, has an excellent recommendation for exercise-hating home-workers: marching on the spot while watching a favourite programme on the TV. Not only will that increase the number of steps on your pedometer and help you get fitter, but you can feel virtuous and find out what those pesky Real Housewives are up to.
3. Take a break
If you work at home, you probably have some other tasks that need doing. So take a break from the office and do them. Walk to your laundry-room and put on a load in the washing machine; head out into the garden and put some clothes on the line. Walking away from the office will get the heart pumping and help you burn calories.
Similarly, at lunchtime, resist the temptation to shove a sandwich into your mouth while hunched over your desk. Make the most of working for yourself. Schedule a full forty-five minutes. Prepare something nutritious - it doesn't have to be difficult, a simple bowl of vegetable soup can be prepared in advance and heated up - and eat it slowly. Eat your lunch in a different room to your office, or - if it's a nice day - head out into the garden and soak up some Vitamin D.