Is 10,000 Steps the Secret to Working from Home?
Walking 10,000 steps every day has become a popular fitness goal. Walking is an easy way to regularly exercise, as people can choose the intensity that they’re comfortable with and no special equipment is needed. 10,000 steps might seem like an arbitrary number, but it seems to have originally been a marketing tool to sell a pedometer in Japan in the 60s. Studies have since shown that walking 10,000 steps can be as effective as doing five 30-minute workouts a week.
With more people now working from home, fitness routines have been disrupted and it can be easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. But aiming to achieve 10,000 steps a day can help to reduce the negative impacts of working from home, leading to improved mental and physical health.
Impact of Working from Home
Remote working undoubtedly has many benefits. Not only are people able to enjoy a newly found work life balance, many are able to work more productively and are generally happier with their work life.
However, people who work from home can also suffer some detrimental effects to their mental and physical health. Some remote workers can feel quite isolated, with a reduction in their usual daily interactions when compared to going into an office. This is especially true for those that live alone. Studies have shown that loneliness can have an impact on both physical and mental health, with individuals more prone to depression and having a higher risk of heart disease.
Another negative consequence of home-based work is experiencing burnout. With very little separation between home life and work life, people can end up working too much, starting earlier and finishing late. They may feel pressure to prove they’re being productive at home and also feel unable to ‘switch off’ when technology makes them constantly available. Burnout symptoms include being constantly exhausted and unmotivated, which can affect peoples’ personal life and work life.
Working from home can also have a negative impact on physical health. Without the usual professional office setup, people can suffer from bad posture and inactivity. Not everyone has a suitable chair and desk or table to work at. Sitting on a sofa for long periods can cause back and neck pain. Using the right ergonomic products for your home office setup can go some way in helping to improve posture when working. However, without the patterns of office life, people can become sedentary, sitting still in one place for much longer than they would usually. Too much inactivity can lead to problems with breathing, circulation and joint pain.
How 10,000 Steps Can Help Working from Home
Having a tangible goal of 10,000 steps can also make it much easier to keep up healthy habits when working from home, by making exercise part of your daily routine. This can have many benefits, especially when combatting the negative outcomes that can come with remote working.
Walking 10,000 steps a day can be good for your heart and lungs, making them stronger and reducing the risk of cardiac problems and breathing issues. Walking will also strengthen your bones and muscles, making you fitter, stronger, and helping your body to function properly. Walking 10,000 steps a day can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma and some types of cancer.
You could even find you reduce the adverse effects of working from home posture. Walking 10,000 steps a day will give you a reason to get up from your workstation and move around, so you don’t suffer from the health impacts of sitting in one place for too long.
We’ve all heard the phrase “healthy body, healthy mind” and exercise can have a huge positive impact on our happiness. Exercise releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the body, all of which can help to improve your mood and your wellbeing working from home.
Exercise can also help you concentrate and enhance your brain’s performance. The endorphins released during exercise boosts the blood flow to your brain, which improves cognitive functions. So, working towards 10,000 steps a day can help you to increase personal productivity, be more creative with your work and solve problems better.
Regular exercise can also greatly improve your sleep. If you have found it difficult to sleep whilst working from home, perhaps because you’re unable to stop thinking about the tasks you have to do tomorrow, walking 10,000 steps in a day can help combat this. Exercise has proven to reduce the time it takes for some people to fall asleep, and also improve the quality of sleep. People who exercise regularly have better, deeper sleep, which allows the brain and body to recharge and revive. This results in people feeling much less fatigued and more motivated the next day.
Having a goal to walk 10,000 steps will encourage you to take breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just for a five-minute walk around the block. It will also encourage you to take a lunchbreak, rather than working through it. Taking 30 minutes or an hour to walk outside in the fresh air can really help your productivity in the afternoon.
Getting outside in nature can also help improve your mood, give you a better sense of wellbeing and reduce work from home stress. This can all help to avoid symptoms of burnout, giving you a reason to step away from your workstation and recharge.
How to Achieve 10,000 Steps When Working from Home
You might think that 10,000 steps just isn’t achievable in a working day, even if you walk on your lunchbreak. However, there are other ways you can find time to get your steps in.
If you would usually commute to an office, use the time you would have had for the journey to go for a walk instead. Or you could find an exercise class online and take part in your living room before you start work.
If you have a phone call or meeting, get up and walk around your home. Whilst the view might not be as stimulating as a walk in the park, getting your body moving will still have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Bear in mind that you might get a bit out of breath, so you might want to take it easy if you have a more formal call.
If you have a standing desk, you can get an under-desk treadmill so you can get your steps in whilst you work. If you already have a treadmill, you can get an attachment so you can use it as a standing desk. Taking part in this type of desk exercise for an hour will mean you can reach about 6,000 steps, whilst also ticking tasks off your work to-do list.
Set yourself reminders throughout the day to get up to walk and make sure you don’t ignore them! A good way of holding yourself accountable is to make it a competition. You could enlist your team members to join you in achieving 10,000 steps a day. Having a weekly update to see where everyone has got to can be a great excuse to have an informal team meeting and help people who might be feeling isolated working from home. However, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself or others if you don’t reach the goal every day. Just making the effort to get more steps in will help to improve your health and mental wellbeing.