It goes without saying that the pandemic continues to reshape what many would call our “new normal”. February is American Heart Month, which spotlights how important it is to keep your heart “healthy”. We decided to take a look at how heart health and working from home are interconnected. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2020 showed that over 50% of Americans now prefer to work from home which is up significantly from the consistent 20% prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic many navigated working from home for the first time and saw it as an opportunity to have more of a healthy balance. However, after nearly two years in the pandemic, we are seeing a shift in behaviors and mindsets. A survey carried out by Upright Pose found that 60% of remote and hybrid (working both in-person and at home) workers have cut their mobility by over 50%. Some report they only take about 16 steps from their bed to their dedicated work area in the home.
According to the John Hopkins Medicine Center, your heart needs at least 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous movement to keep your blood flowing properly. It is important to take a moment to evaluate how your physical activity and eating habits have shifted since working from home.
Here are some questions to consider based off the CDC’s recommendations for healthy behaviors while working from home:
- Has my water intake increased or decreased since working from home?
- How often in a day do I leave my workspace?
- How often in a week do I spend time outside?
- How many meals do I consume a day vs how many snacks do I have?
- How often am I napping?
After answering these questions you may want to know how to stay (or get) “heart healthy” while working from home. Implement small changes like:
- Setting a timer on your phone to hit “Do Not Disturb” (DND) when you need a break. Making time to step away from your home work area for at least 15 minutes.
- Calling up some of your friends during a work break and getting outdoors to enjoy the weather and get some much needed vitamin D.
- Getting active in your kitchen by turning on your favorite cooking show and whipping up a new dish for lunch. Who knows, you could be a home chef in the making!
- Are you competitive? Challenging your friends to a game of “who can get the most steps in during their work day”.
- Practicing some self-care by getting in a mid-day hair appointment or haircut (hopefully you can beat the crowd and get in and out before your next work meeting).
- Taking a break to enjoy yoga or meditation to reset your day (especially if your day has been full of stressful moments).
One last change to implement is to keep up with your annual physicals! Take a moment to contact your primary care provider (or find one) to set up this appointment.
HUED is committed to eliminating health disparities and improving overall patient outcomes for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. How do we do that? By designing equity-based education, enabling access to culturally sensitive healthcare providers, and empowering patients to make data-informed decisions about their healthcare. That is why we offer a directory that connects Black, Latinx, and Indigenous patients with culturally humble medical providers.
Keeping your heart healthy while working from home can be a challenge but making the daily decision to make your health a priority will reward you in the future.
Site content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.