Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fitness for Freelancers

by Maxime Rieman 


As a freelancer, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours and hours in a sedentary position. Without being forced to get up to travel to work or even to visit co-workers around the office, you might spend hours seated in the same position. This lack of movement is terrible for your health. According to recent studies, sitting all day may be worse than smoking, places you at a higher risk for cancer and heart disease and can shave up to seven years off your life.

Needless to say, with all these risks and dangers it’s important to make sure you’re not sitting around everyday. Of course the freelance life doesn’t always allow for a gym membership, often due to financial or time constraints. Luckily there are many ways to fit affordable, timely exercise into your freelance schedule.



Small Bouts of Working Out

The best way to start incorporating good fitness into your routine is to workout whenever you have a few spare moments. This might be between work tasks, prior to a meal or whenever you get up to stretch anyways. A plethora of quick 5-7 minute workout routines exist online. While the routines might not provide the most effective ways to workout, some exercise is better than none. If you’re struggling to start an exercise routine, this can help you take the first step.

Bodyweight Exercises

When you’re on a budget, you likely don’t have much money to invest in a gym membership or expensive workout equipment. Luckily you can do a great deal of exercises with just your body. Add in some basics like a chair, step and a pull-up bar (or tree branch) and you’ve got access to an array of exercise routines. Bodyweight routines are great because you can find them in all varieties and can find quick routines to do between work activities to get started.

Working out for a longer period of time is better for you, and though opinions vary on exactly how much to workout, at least three times a week for 30 minutes is a good place to start. You can find a variety of bodyweight routines comprised of calisthenics and strength exercises like pushups, pull-ups, squats, jumping jacks, planking and more. For some variety you can experiment with yoga poses and routines. Incorporate elements of both to create your own personalized exercise regiment.

Active Furniture

One easy way to eliminate the possibility of sitting around all day is to invest in some active furniture. A standing desk is one option quickly growing in popularity. If you don’t have the money to buy a new desk, try sitting on an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball burns calories, inspires additional exercise and forces you to switch positions frequently. While it might not provide any additional benefits for your posture or spinal health, it’s certainly better to be active than not when you do have to sit at your desk.

Getting Around Town

Even though you might not leave the house for work, chances are good that you still have to run errands or socialize. Instead of driving, opt to walk or bike to your destination when possible. If you must drive or take the bus, park far away or get off a few stops early to make sure you can still get a good walk in. While it might not provide a ton of exercise, every little bit makes a difference in creating a healthy lifestyle as a freelancer.

Fueling Yourself

While eating right might not get you fit on its own, it’s an important component of leading a healthy lifestyle. Freelancers have a nutritional advantage - access to your full kitchen for every meal. Instead of eating out every day, you can prepare fresh meals in the comfort of your own home. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of convenient food, opting for microwaveable options over fresh, foods. Shop with your health in mind, picking healthy snacks and avoiding junk. Getting in shape doesn’t mean forcing yourself to diet and avoid tasty foods. Just get in the habit of making healthy eating decisions on a regular basis, limit how much you eat sweets and fatty foods and remember to find ways to incorporate your favorite treats.

There are countless health benefits, which come along with adopting a healthy lifestyle. Start by doing quick exercises and walking around your home more. Choose to walk or bike rather than drive, and eventually add a longer, regular workout into your routine every other day. Eat right and you’re sure to find yourself feeling energized and fitter than before, no matter what your work situation is like.


Maxime Rieman is a writer for NerdWallet, where consumers can find financial tips on budgeting for their health to online stock trading reviews.

1 comment:

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