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April 13, 2020 | 4 minute read

Working from Home? Practice these Healthy Habits

As most of us continue to spend more time at home, it can be difficult to adapt to a new routine and adjust to working from home. Whether it’s the TV show your child is watching or the urge to snack, there are plenty of distractions that you don’t have in your normal workplace.

But working from home presents a great opportunity to start practicing healthy habits and find a new routine that will benefit your mental and physical health. Here are some tips to make the most out of your work from home day.

Increase Your Activity

  • Make a standing desk. Research has shown that sitting for extended periods of time can be damaging to your health. Break up your sitting by standing up while working. Utilize boxes or books to add height to your current desk or a short bookshelf. Elevate a small portable table by stacking books or blocks of wood under each foot. Top a table with a small end table or child-size table to create a standing desk at eye level. Create a permanent standing desk by anchoring a shelf at standing height.
  • Move while you work. While attending meetings, reading emails, listening to conference calls or webinars, use your mobile device and take a walk outside, get on the treadmill or sit on the floor and stretch major muscle groups. If you can do your work while moving or stretching, take every opportunity to do so.
  • Take timed breaks. Make sure you are taking at least 1-2-minute breaks for every hour of sitting. Set an alarm on your computer, phone or watch to remind you to get up and walk or stretch.
  • Engage in daily physical activity. Do 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day (meaning you are able to talk, but not able to sing while exercising). Vary your activities so you don’t get bored – walk, jog, bike the neighborhood or find hiking trails. You can also engage in livestream group classes from your fitness center or use a smart device to find exercise videos on YouTube. The Physical Activity Alliance has compiled a list of resources where you can find free activities to do at home and AICR’s Strava Club is a great way to connect with people who can help you stay accountable.
  • Use household items to strength train. If you don’t have weights at home, get creative with items around the house. Find a strength training workout online that fits your physical fitness level and lift full water bottles, canned foods, laundry detergent or pots and pans.
  • Set exercise goals. To help you stay accountable and feel like you are working towards something, set an exercise goal in minutes or miles to achieve over the course of a period of time. Make your goal to walk 24 miles by the end of 14 days or get 150 minutes of physical activity a week per AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

Hydrate, Eat Smart and Snack Less

  • Be intentional about drinking water. It is generally recommended to drink eight cups of water throughout the day. Start first thing in the morning by drinking a cup of water before you brew your tea or coffee. Use a refillable water bottle to monitor your water intake and help keep yourself on track.
  • Stick with a routine eating plan. Instead of allowing yourself to grab multiple snacks throughout the day, strive to eat a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few healthy snacks in between. Follow AICR’s New American Plate model when making your meals and be sure to enjoy them away from your desk. Taking a lunch break at home is still important and it allows you to mindfully eat without distractions.
  • Get the whole family involved. Make planning meals a family affair and teach your children how to read recipes, plan meals and create grocery lists. Use the AICR Healthy Recipes library to find cancer-protective recipes and try making a few plant-based meals.
  • Check your kitchen environment. Place fruit, chopped vegetables and water cups in view, and move candy dishes, packaged snacks and sweets out of sight. Keep the refrigerator organized with healthy, plant-based options in the front and higher calorie items tucked in the back.

While working from home presents many new challenges, it also presents new opportunities to improve your health. How have you changed your working environment at home? Have you made healthy changes to your daily habits? Share your answers with us in the comments below.

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