When you work for home or find yourself home for longer periods time than normal, you may find that it is harder to stay healthy. If you're not getting out of the house as much, you may not be getting as much physical activity in. Working from home is great, but it has the downside that you don't have very far to walk between the office, bathroom, and kitchen, like you would when you were working out of the home.
While you may need to be a bit more creative and take some purposeful steps, starting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle when you're home a lot of the time is definitely possible. To help you identify some changes you can make, we've compiled a list of 10 different ideas for you.
Create a Workout Routine
Getting enough physical activity is important for a variety of reasons. When you're physically active on a regular basis, it lowers your risk of developing a variety of diseases. These include heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and more.
People who are physically active typically have lower blood pressures and lower cholesterol levels. They are also more likely to have a lower risk of getting osteoporosis because they have healthier and stronger muscles, joints, and bones than their counterparts who do not exercise regularly.
Physical activity is also one of the key components of maintaining a healthy weight or helping your body shed excess pounds.
In addition to all the 'traditional' health benefits, there are numerous other ways that being physically active can have a positive effect on your life. These include improving your overall mood, blocking negative thoughts, and helping you sleep better at night.
When you're spending the majority of your time at home, it doesn't mean that you can't be physically active. Even if you don't have a gym membership or aren't able to get to the gym for some other reason.
Setting up an at-home workout routine and consistently following it is important. When creating your routine, there are a few key things you should keep in mind:
You might be worried that you won't be able to find enough ways to be physically active in your home, especially if you live in a tighter space. But the truth is, it isn't necessary to have a huge home gym set up. If you have gym equipment, you can certainly use it, but there are many other ways to increase your physical activity without it.
Here are some ideas for being more physically active in/around your home:
In addition to the ideas above, you can also look for workout programs that could help you ensure you're completing targeted exercises and provide you with more ideas about how to best move your body. Workout programs for home are specifically designed to be completed in a home environment. Many will even include some or all of the accessories you'll need to complete the workouts.
Set Yourself Up for Success
While there are a lot of exercises you can do from home that don't require you to make any purchases, some people may find they are more motivated to workout if they have made an investment in some equipment and accessories. You can set yourself up for success by selecting and purchasing a few key items that will help you improve your workout routine. Look for pieces that will allow you to perform exercises that you find more enjoyable, since this can help keep you motivated to continue working out.
One piece of equipment you could consider purchasing is an exercise bike. Bikes place less pressure on your joints than many other pieces of equipment, but they still allow you to enjoy a very effective cardio workout. Incorporating time on a bike into your workout routine can help you burn fat and calories and improve the function of your lungs and heart.
Ellipticals are a piece of equipment that can provide your upper and lower body with aerobic workout to keep your body health and aid in burning calories. Ellipticals provide you with a low-impact workout, meaning they are easier of your knees, ankles, hips, and feet.
A treadmill is another purchase you can consider making. With a treadmill, you'll be able to run or walk regardless of what the weather is like inside. You can easily adjust the speed of your workout as well as the incline. Some treadmills can even fold up if you live in a tighter space.
A rowing machine is another popular piece of equipment that many choose to purchase for their homes. Rowing machines can provide you with an upper- and lower-body workout. Rowing machines are low-impact, can help you increase your endurance levels, and are simple to use.
In addition to larger pieces of workout equipment, there are many smaller items that you'll want to consider. These include free weights, kettle bells, resistance bands, yoga mats, jump ropes, exercise balls, aerobic steps, ankle and wrist weights, and balance boards.
Having the right equipment to help you complete the exercises you want is important, but it is not the only thing you'll want to think about. Before starting your workout routine, there are also a few key accessories you'll want to make sure you have or purchase. These include:
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
While engaging in regular physical activity is important, it is not the only thing you need to do to live a healthy lifestyle when you're home. Eating a balanced diet and providing your body with the nutrients it needs is another important thing to do.
Healthy diets are linked to better health. They can help decrease your chances of developing a variety of diseases including cancer and heart disease.
When you eat healthy, you won't just notice a difference in the way your body looks. Consuming the right foods can make your body systems function more efficiently and help your brain function better.
The exact foods and number of calories different individuals should consume will vary based on activity level, current weight, health conditions, and a variety of other factors, but we've compiled a list of general tips and guidelines to help you. If you're making huge changes to your diet, consulting with your doctor is always a good idea.
Whenever possible, choose to eat "whole," or unprocessed foods. Whole foods are foods with just one ingredient: the food you're eating. This is compared to processed foods that include large amounts of fillers.
Where as processed foods often have very little nutritional value and can even contribute to individuals being overweight, whole foods are more nutrient dense. They contain more nutrients and fewer calories.
Learning about macronutrients and micronutrients can also help you when making changes to your diet. Your body needs to consume a large quantity of macronutrients in order to function properly. Like other foods, your needs and goals will influence the exact amount of macronutrients you should aim to consume each day.
There are three different macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each macronutrient helps your body perform different tasks and achieve different goals.
Proteins contain amino acids which are essential for supporting organ functioning, forming tissue, and allowing enzyme reactions to take place. There are 20 different amino acids which make up proteins. These can be found in meats, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and other sources of protein.
Between 20 and 35% of the foods in your diet should be proteins. There are four calories in one gram of protein.
The next macronutrient in carbohydrates. A large portion of your diet, between 45 and 65%, should consist of carbohydrates. Carbs provide our bodies with energy, which is why it is so important to consume enough carbs each day.
There are four calories in one gram of carbs. Carbs can be either simple or complex. Natural carbohydrates and sugars are simple carbs, since they have shorter molecules that your body is able to more easily break down.
Fats are the final macronutrient. You may think that a 'diet' should cut all fats out of the foods you eat, but fats are actually an essential food our bodies need. Between 10 and 35% of your diet should be made up of fats.
Fats can provide us with a reserve to store unused calories, providing energy when needed. They also help hormones to function correctly, keep our nerves insulated, and improve the health of our hair and skin.
When choosing fats to add to your diet, choose unsaturated fats when possible. These are found in foods such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil. Try to avoid consumption of trans fats since they have been linked to obesity and heart problems.
One gram of fat has nine calories.
Tracking the macronutrients you consume, instead of tracking calories, can help you get a better picture of your diet. It can provide you with more information about the specific foods you're eating, and which macronutrients you're getting enough of compared to which you should try to consume more or less of.
In addition to consuming sufficient quantities of macronutrients, you will also want to make sure your body is getting enough micronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function properly. They include the letter vitamins (A, B, K, etc.), iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Micronutrients are found in the plants and animals we eat. Each vitamin and mineral perform a different task in our body, including controlling our blood pressure, carrying oxygen through our blood, strengthening our bones and muscles, and improving how our organs function.
Superfoods are another thing you will want to incorporate into your diet. Superfoods are foods that are more nutritionally dense than other foods, thus providing a lot of benefits to your body.
There are many different options you can consider when you're looking to add superfoods to your diet. These include:
One final note: be sure to drink plenty of water every day too. Water keeps your body hydrated and aids in many bodily functions. Drinking enough water can help remove toxins from your body, increase your energy levels, ensure you have regular bowel movements, and improve the look and feel of your skin.
Monitor Your Body and Health
When looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one of the things you should consider doing is monitoring your body and health. This will involve taking purposeful steps to monitor your progress towards your goals and keep track of different information related to the health and functioning of your body.
We shared above how important regular physical activity and a healthy diet are when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Creating a food log and exercise diary can help you keep track of how you are performing in both of these respects.
Write down the different exercises you do each day. You can look back at your week to make sure you're performing a variety of exercises, working different areas of your body, and getting enough vigorous and moderate exercise to stay healthy.
Keeping a food log is another important step you can take. When you write down all the foods you eat over each day, it makes it possible for you to look back, analyze your choices, and ensure you are eating the right number of calories and getting the right nutrients your body needs.
Purchasing a scale for weighing yourself can also help you track your health and progress towards your goal. Try to weigh yourself about once a week in the morning to get the most accurate reflection of your weight.
When you go to the doctor for a yearly/bi-yearly physical, they monitor a lot of important things. However, since you only see your doctor once every year or two, a lot can change between checkups. Keeping tabs on some of these numbers can help you identify problems so you can get them addressed more quickly.
You should consider monitoring your blood pressure and blood glucose levels (especially if you are diabetic or at risk for becoming diabetic). You should check the pulse in your feet to make sure you have proper circulation.
Women should conduct regular breast self-exams and men should conduct regular testicular self-exams. Treatments for both breast cancer and testicular cancer are most effective when the cancer is caught as early as possible. You should also regularly check your body for other changes, such as spots, moles, and rashes.
Keeping track of your sleep habits and levels of sleepiness can also help you identify if you may be suffering from insomnia or a sleep disorder. If you suspect something is off, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss having a sleep test done.
Consider Adding Supplements to Your Diet
Earlier in the article we talked about consuming enough micronutrients. As a reminder, micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy and function properly. Micronutrients are found naturally in the foods we eat, but if you aren't consuming enough of a particular micronutrient, you can consider adding a supplement to your diet.
Adding a multivitamin to your daily routine is often a good way to boost the vitamins and minerals you put in your body. Multivitamins are a single pill designed to provide your body with multiple vitamins and minerals that are important for good health.
Different groups of people often have different nutritional needs, so there is not a one-size-fits-all supplement. You will need to think about your specific needs, goals, and any other health concerns you may have before selecting a supplement to add to your diet.
For example, it is highly recommended that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid to help ensure the healthy development of their baby. Younger children may be more likely to see deficiencies in iron or vitamin D, so it may be recommended that they add a supplement for one or both of these vitamins. Older individuals may want to consider adding a B12 or vitamin D supplements since less of these vitamins get absorbed when you are older.
Before adding a supplement to your diet, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. Some supplements can cause a negative reaction with other medication you may be taking. Depending on the other health conditions you have, your doctor may recommend that you do not take certain supplements.
Don't Smoke and Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
You've likely heard it a million times before, but if you are a smoker, one of the biggest things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. Between 25 and 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use. Quitting can help decrease your chances of developing cancer related to smoking.
In addition to the link to cancer, smoking poses other health concerns. It can make it more likely for you to suffer from a heart attack or a stroke. This is because using tobacco can cause atherosclerosis, which is when your arteries narrow and harden.
Tobacco uses is also linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
20% of chronic lung diseases in the United States are tied to the use of tobacco products. It can cause emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia, and COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease).
In addition to the risks you are taking with your own health if you smoke, you are putting others at risk through secondhand smoke. If you don't smoke but live with someone else who does, encouraging them to quit could not only help improve their health, it could help improve yours. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and aggravate a person's asthma.
Limiting your consumption of alcohol is also important. Consuming alcohol in excessive quantities may lead to esophageal cancer, breast cancer, or other cancers. Too much alcohol can also cause liver problems such as cirrhosis.
If you enjoy alcohol, limiting yourself to one or two drinks a few nights a week will help decrease the chance that you'll develop the problems listed above. Moderate consumption of alcohol has even been linked with decreasing your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, or suffering from a stroke.
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Making sure your body gets enough rest is critical. Sleep lets your body recharge and provides you with numerous health benefits.
When your body gets enough sleep, your brain is able to function at higher levels. This can increase your productivity and ability to concentrate on more complex tasks.
When your body gets enough sleep each night, it may even decrease your chances of developing heart disease. It can help your blood pressure regulate itself and stay at a healthier level to leave you less at risk.
Sleep can also aid in athletic performance. It provides athletes with increased energy and coordination, helps their brain function better to make in-the-minute decisions, and helps them move faster and complete higher intensity exercises.
Giving your body the sleep it needs can decrease your risk of developing depression, strengthen your immune system, and reduce inflammation in your body.
If you've been having trouble sleeping at night, there are a few changes you can try to make. These include establishing a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring you are sleeping in a quiet, cool, and dark room, exercising regularly, and making sure your mattress and bedding are comfortable.
Don't Forget About Your Mental Health
Your physical health is an important piece of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but your mental health is no less important. Your mental health plays a large role in your life, how you function, the ways you are able to address problems and make decisions, how you deal with stress, your interactions with others, and so much more.
Taking steps to keep your mental health a priority are so important. Often, people get so consumed with work, family issues, or fear of talking about their feelings that their mental health begins to suffer.
One thing you can do to maintain your mental health is to set up a support system. Your support system may include friends, family members, or other trusted individuals. Reach out to your support system when you need help finding the solution to a problem, need to talk through different scenarios, or just need to vent or share how you're feeling after a rough day.
Taking time out of your busy schedule to engage in self-care is also very important. If you don't take some time for yourself, it is more likely that your mental health will suffer. A few self-care activities you can try include:
Keeping your mind active can also support your mental health and decrease the chance that you'll develop dementia as you age. There are a variety of ways to keep your brain active. They include reading, solving puzzles and crossword puzzles, playing card games or board games, gardening, exercising, and engaging in friendly debates and conversations with others.
If you feel that your mental health is beginning to slip or are worried you may be depressed, reach out to a therapist. They are trained to offer support and techniques to help manage depression and offer guidance.
Make Safe Choices
Everyday we have choices to make. Making smart choices can help keep you protected and healthy.
Engaging in high-risk behaviors is not safe. If you currently ride a bicycle or motorcycle without a helmet, text while driving, drive without your seatbelt, drive after drinking or when feeling overly tired, smoke in bed, or own guns that are not safely stored, you are engaging in high-risk behaviors.
Any of the high-risk behaviors can easily be changed. For example, if you text while driving, start putting your cell phone in the back seat to remove the temptation of reading or sending a text. If you ride your motorcycle without a helmet, purchase one and start wearing it.
Another safe choice you should make is to always wear sunscreen when you are out in the sun. Each part of your body that is exposed to the sun should be covered with sunscreen. If you'll be out in the sun for more than two hours, you will want to reapply sunscreen (you should do this more frequently if you're swimming or getting very sweaty).
Other ways to stay safe in the sun include wearing sunglasses and a hat. Trying to stay inside between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, when the sun's UV rays are the strongest, can also help keep you protected.
Schedule Regular Health Check-Ups
Our last tip is a very important one: schedule regular health checkups with your medical care team. Every year or two (depending on your age and other health factors), you should schedule a physical with your doctor. During your physical, your doctor will perform a full-body exam to identify any irregularities or areas of concern.
If there were any concerns from your previous appointments, your doctor will examine and compare to look for changes or improvements. Another piece of getting a physical exam is having your blood drawn.
Based on your health, history, and other factors, your doctor may order a variety of laboratory tests for your blood. These tests may look at your cholesterol levels, thyroid functioning, nutrient levels, blood sugar level, kidney functioning, and more. Your doctor will look at the results from your bloodwork to see if anything is concerning.
If you have a physical scheduled, be sure to check with your doctor's office about whether you will need to fast before your exam or bloodwork. Some of the tests your doctor wants run on your blood may require fasting.
In addition to scheduling regular physicals, you should also follow-up with any specialists you have seen for other problems or concerns. For example, if you were referred to a cardiologist years ago for being at a higher risk for suffering a heart attack, be sure to follow up with the cardiologist according to the schedule they recommend.
If you are concerned you may need to see a specialist about a particular problem, don't hesitate to contact one. Your primary care physician's office may be the best place to start. They'll be able to help connect you with the right specialist, and your insurance may require you obtain a referral before visiting another doctor.
In addition to seeing your primary care physician and any other specialists working on your health plans, you should also be sure to schedule regular dental checkups. Regular dental cleanings and checkups do so much more than leave you with a pretty smile. They are essential for maintaining the health of your gums and teeth.
During your dental visit, the dentist or a dental hygienist, will remove plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth. They will also polish your teeth. The dentist will check for cavities and look at x-rays of your mouth to identify if there is anything more complex that needs to be done.
When you're home a lot of the time, staying healthy may feel like a daunting task. We hope the 10 tips we shared will help you identify some changes you can make to improve your health and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Take a few minutes to read through the tips we shared. Start by identifying the ones you are already doing, and give yourself a pat on the back. Acknowledging the healthy steps you are already taking is important and can give you a mental boost to tackle more.
Next, identify a few of your key takeaways after reading our article. What changes can you make in your life to improve your lifestyle. Which ones do you feel are the most urgent?
Start with implementing one or two of the changes you identified as most important. Then, you can slowly incorporate some of the other ideas we shared.