Motivate yourself to exercise when working at home

According to a 2017 article in the Globe and Mail, by economist Linda Nazareth, “the transformation to a gig economy is happening at an astonishing speed in Canada.”

Add today’s gig workers — freelancers, consultants, part-timers and the self-employed — to the ranks of salaried Canadians who also work from home several days a week, and the number of at-home workers is exploding.

Maintaining healthy exercise habits is both easier and harder when working from home. Easier, because you’re not spending hours each day commuting.

Harder, because home offers so many temptations and distractions. Plus, your “commute” might be a short shuffle from the breakfast nook to the home office. Then back for lunch (or for guilty snacks in between!).

Are you getting your 2.5

Even with more time available when working from home, many still don’t get the 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous weekly exercise recommended by Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines.

Regular exercise has lots of cascading benefits. In addition to helping you feel better, it reduces stress and gives you greater resistance to a host of diseases, including cancers.

No wonder the Hearth and Stroke Foundation of Canada says, “For those searching for the fountain of youth, exercise is the next best thing.”

Work on your exercise mindset

Here are 5 techniques for strengthening your fitness motivation at home:

  1. Respect boundaries. Home work can blur the edges of home life. Suddenly you’re working nights and weekends. So set limits and schedule 20 minutes for a lunchtime walk, and an hour for a weekend workout. You’ll be more productive…promise!
  2. Write it down. Think of it as a contract with yourself. Seeing your commitment and goals on paper makes it more “real.”
  3. Set realistic goals. Short-term goals, like walk “3 km within six weeks,” are better than “fit in two sizes smaller,” or “look fabulous.” Start slow and build progressively.
  4. Don’t force it. Choose activities you enjoy, like street hockey or tennis. If gyms and sports were never your thing, ride a bike or take a walk — still the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to get fit.
  5. Change things up. Different activities not only keep boredom at bay. They also work different muscles. So alternate walking with yoga, or biking and yardwork, or skating with hiking. Weekends and evenings, take dance lessons, join a bowling league or an aquafit class!

Any and all movement is good. Start slow, build and maintain. You can do it!

In future posts we’ll also talk about nutrition and how it can accelerate your fitness goals.