Starting or maintaining an exercise plan is rarely easy, even while working at home. Research shows that exercise enhances work-life balance by helping us feel like we have more time and giving us the confidence to accomplish more. So how do we get out the door without feeling like we’re wasting precious work time?
Recent research corroborates the benefits of exercise as a way to help balance work and life. The results themselves may not be a surprise; most studies prove that exercise is good for you. But if work-life balance is a priority, then consider the biggest benefit of all: exercise reduces stress and gives you the feeling that you can take on and accomplish more. You’ll feel like you have more time and more control of that time — a top reason why people like working remotely in the first place.
Knowing this and doing this are two very different things. And if you’re like me, even with a somewhat-established exercise schedule, it’s still hard to get out the door. Here are just a few ideas that could help.
- Make former-commute time your present-workout time. The average commute in the U.S. is about 25 minutes, but roughly 8.1 percent of us commute an hour or more each way. So if your job allows you to work from home two or three days a week, you’re already getting nearly an hour a day back to do more things. Before you get into the rhythm of just adding more work hours to your schedule, start a habit of getting up at the same time you do when you go to the office, and head to the gym or go for a walk, run or bike ride. By exercising first, you’ve already accomplished a major task before you even power up your computer.
- Make exercise part of your new schedule. If one of the reasons you work at home is to be available for your kids’ sports or other after-school activities, use those daily practices as your practice time, too. A great example: One of my friends now schedules her son’s soccer practices into her work schedule. She even uses that time to work on her couch-to-5K training program, walking and running around the perimeter of the soccer field while he’s playing. She gets to watch the entire practice without spending the whole time sitting on a bleacher.
- Change your commute. When you do actually go to the office, look into alternative ways to get there. A former co-worker set a goal of riding in a multi-day charity bike ride, but didn’t have time to train when she got home. Her solution: She rode her bicycle to work two to three times a week instead of driving and shared a ride home at the end of the day. She got the exercise she craved and the training she needed while helping her transportation bottom-line. And if you don’t have a place to shower at work, you can always ride share into work and ride your bike home.
No exercise plan is easy, but the benefits are priceless. There are some days I dread it and other times I hate it, but at the risk of sounding trite, there’s never a time when I’ve regretted it. Let us know what tricks you’ve used to get out the door and get moving.