Warning! Working from home can be bad for your health!

When I first started working from home, the last thing I considered was that I’d put on weight.

I, you see, am one of those women who are just naturally skinny. Or so I’d always assumed, anyway. I’d put it down to genetics, if it wasn’t for the fact that as soon as I quit the day job, my weight started to creep up. And up…

While I didn’t get “fat” exactly, I did reach a stage where my clothes became uncomfortably tight, and I considered going up a dress size. The reason? I was working from home – and, in my case at least, that meant I was hardly taking any exercise.

It’s amazing how much exercise you get in a normal working day. Sure, most office workers rarely break an actual sweat, but just walking to and from the car, popping out for a sandwich at lunchtime, and all of the to-ing and fro-ing that office live involves added up to much more exercise than the typical day working at home. Hell, just the walk from the car to the office and back probably added up to more exercise than I was getting at home.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, when you run your own business, it becomes very easy to become a workaholic. I’d get up in the morning and go to the computer to check my email: before I knew what happened, it would be lunchtime, and I’d still be in my dressing gown, having not even bothered to brush my teeth (nice!) let alone take some exercise.

My house is small. Those journeys to the kitchen and back for coffee weren’t exactly burning off the calories: and even if they had been, I’d have very quickly replaced them with my frequent trips to the fridge.

These days, I’m a member of a gym, and try to go at least three times a week – more, if possible. There are, however, some easy steps you can take to make sure that working from home doesn’t lead to an increase in your waistline as well as your bank balance…

How to Stay Healthy When You Work from Home

1. Build regular breaks into your day

Don’t allow yourself to spend the entire day locked on to the computer, however tempting it may be. Take regular breaks, and use them to get outside for a quick walk.

2. Get a pet

Now, clearly pets are a huge responsibility, and I’m not for a second suggesting that you should just go out and buy one for the sake of it. If you’re someone who’s always wanted a pet, though, but have been unable to have one because of work, working from home makes you ideally placed to become a pet owner. My dog has to be walked every day, no matter how busy I am, or how cold it is outside, so he makes sure I get at least some exercise every day.

3. Get an exercise buddy

Exercising alone isn’t much fun, and makes it harder to motivate yourself, so try and hook up with another freelancer in your area and make a regular date to meet up and take a walk or play sports together. It’ll help your business by giving you time to network, and will help your fitness by giving you another reason to get out there an exercise.

4. Leave the car at home

If you’re anything like me, you probably resent any little chore that comes along to break up your working day, and will happily get the car out for even the shortest journeys. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll walk everywhere that’s within reasonable walking distance. You’ll feel better for it.

5. Clean out the fridge

Making the transition to working from home is as good an excuse as any to change the way you shop. Because you’re at home all day, you’ll have more opportunities to snack on whatever handy, so making sure that whatever comes to hand is healthy and nutritious, you’ll do your figure some favours.

Any other suggestions?

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