People always seem to think that when you work from home, you get to do whatever you want whenever you want. But as freelance writers, we know that’s not the case, right? So it might seem easy to fit in some exercise, but it’s also easy to neglect it.
Maybe we do have the chance for more flexibility with a freelance lifestyle, but we often get caught up in weird sleeping habits, home and family responsibilities, distractions and tight deadlines that easily fill up a day. So how do you make that much-needed exercise a part of your work-from-home life?
Break Up the Recommended Time
Following the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommended exercise amounts of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise at a moderate level every week – in addition to resistance training, functional fitness and flexibility training two to three times a week – seems like a lot to manage, especially if you have to take large chunks out of your freelance day to achieve it.
But it gets easier if you break it up into 10-minute sessions, which the ACSM and other health organizations say is just fine. Doing this is actually a great way to split up your writing day, giving your mind a respite from thinking and your body relief from a sedentary work life. I find that the more I exercise and stretch throughout the day, the less my back and shoulders hurt from sitting at the computer, and the better mood I’m in.
So between articles, try mixing in bouts of various exercises, such as walking, yoga, weight training, pushups and Pilates. It won’t feel so difficult to take short breaks, and you’ll feel better throughout the day because of it. You can also save some of your sessions for the beginning and end of your work day, and for days off.
Also, take heart in the ACSM’s note that “people unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.”
Find Your Best Time of Day
Maybe the afternoon makes you feel weak and ready for a nap – that’s probably not your best time for exercise. Figure out which times you have the most energy, and perform your higher intensity training during those times. When you’re feeling sluggish, either rest or stick to low-intensity workouts, such as a slow- to medium-paced walk or a gentle yoga session. Consider that you might be able to get in exercise sessions at times of day when they won’t interfere with your work schedule at all (depending on what times you tend to work).
Figure Out Your Hurdles
It’s also important to determine whether there are obstacles keeping you from getting enough exercise to stay healthy. If you feel like you never have enough time to exercise and the days get away from you, pay attention to when you end up wasting time and realize that when you spend chunks of time staying focused, you get rewarded with more time to spend on other activities. Also, remember that you only need to exercise for a small amount of time compared to all of the hours in a week. Try combining some of your other activities with exercise — for example, work out while you watch TV, listen to a book on tape or talk to a friend on the phone or in person.
Have responsibilities to other people? Try exercising with them sometimes. If you don’t know what exercises to do, try exercise classes, training sessions and online videos. Or maybe you don’t want to exercise because you hate it. Typically, people don’t really hate every kind of exercise. Try something different until you find types you enjoy, such as dancing, chasing your kids, playing sports or swimming. And if you have to trudge through some exercises, remember that it’s worth it because of how good it makes you feel in the end.
Try various times of day, lengths of time and exercises until you can come up with some workout habits you’re able to stick with for a healthier life. And it doesn’t hurt when you notice some pounds dropping and fatty spots firming!
Sharon T enjoys creative writing, and she is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel.