The ultimate guide to fitness for freelancers

Working as a freelancer sounds liberating to most people. You can work at your own hours and on your own terms. But working as a freelancer has its own challenges. You will face many distractions. You will have to handle a lot of things other than the work. And your work life balance will seem like an impossible feat.

But the biggest of all challenges is probably the lack of physical activity. 

Working from home means you don’t have to travel from home to office. Most freelancers spend all of their time sitting all day with their devices. Research confirms that sitting for long hours is extremely bad for your health. 

When you have a routine like bed to work and then back, the lack of exercise and feeding on junk food can lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and more. 

In short, you need to be extra careful about your routine and proper nutrition.

Here are some guidelines to help you stay fit and healthy as a freelancer.

Build a Routine

The first thing is to make a routine and follow it to the letter. When people shift from an office job to freelance or working from home, they feel like they have the entire day (and night) to achieve the daily targets. This leads to procrastination and haphazard routine.

You will be making a huge mistake if you are not working with a proper routine. 

Divide your week into days, and days into hours to make time slots for different activities or tasks. Do not try to work for 9 or 10 hours a day or you will set yourself up for burnout.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise

That’s true for everybody but truer for freelancers.

Most freelancers develop the habit of staying up late because they don’t have to get up early in the morning and get ready for the office. This will sound like a huge relief in the start but this routine can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

If you want to have everything done in time, you’d have to follow an office like routine. Get up early in the morning. Do some exercise? Have a healthy breakfast as it’s the most important meal of the day and get down to work.

If you are not self disciplined, you are not going to succeed as a freelancer.

No compromises on exercise routines

You can do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night but you must absolutely dedicate some time to proper workout on a daily basis.

WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise in a week but freelancers or work from home professionals should aim for more, simply because you are not moving around as much as someone who works in an office.

You can join a gym or simply do bodyweight exercises at home (though it’s better if you can go out for jogging or walking). 

Recommended Workouts

Before we get into the best workouts, you need to make sure that you: 

  • Set a schedule of your workouts that is non-negotiable.
  • Don’t skip a single day because that is how habits are made
  • Join a gym, ideally with a buddy. That will give you some much needed social interaction which is another thing that lacks in freelance jobs
  • Use fitness apps for aided assistance.

Freelance Workout (beginners) 

Begin the workout with walk or warming up on a treadmill. Following exercises can be done at home without any specific equipment or machines. You can easily find video tutorials for all of these. Try to complete 20 reps of each exercise in a set and aim for 3 – 4 sets. 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Chair Squats
  • Desk Push-Ups
  • Backpack Rows
  • Desk Planks with Alternating Leg Lifts

Freelance Workout (intermediate)

Go out for running or jogging for half an hour and follow the run with 4 rounds of 10-20 reps of the following exercises. 

  • Alternating Reverse Lunge
  • Floor Push-Ups
  • Squat Jumps
  • Door Jamb Row
  • Alternating Shoulder Taps

You are what you eat

You need to keep an eye on what you eat and drink throughout the day. It is very common for freelancers to keep munching on junk food with the mind distracted over the screen.

Nothing ruins your health more than an unhealthy diet.

And there really is no excuse to eat unhealthy when you are at home and you can arrange a healthy meal. Don’t drink a lot of energy drinks, or coffees too.

Fruits and vegetables are your best friends.

Maintain appropriate posture 

This is another big problem with people working from home. Very few invest in proper table and chair and working environment that includes light and air. e aware of the posture that you are during the work. Have a comfortable chair & table to avoid straining your hand, neck, back and eyes. If you don’t pay attention, it could lead to severe problems like weaker eyesight, pain in the back or neck, etc. 

Taking breaks & Change in Activity

Make sure that you are taking small breaks and getting some fresh air. Sitting is the new smoking because sitting all day can lead to severe health issues. Consider investing in adjustable height desks or treadmill desks.

Listen to your body

Do not ignore the signals like headache, stiff neck, or stressed mind. It is your body’s way of telling that it is not getting enough rest or nutrition. You might have to work for longer hours every once in a while but don’t push when you feel like reaching the maximum capacity. It’s time to disengage from the work and take a break.

All of the above tips will help you maintain a healthy mind and body and it will directly improve your productivity. You will feel better and earn better. 

Trust me. It’ll all be worth it. 

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