When working from home, it can be tempting to park myself in front of my computer for 8 hours straight. I figure that I NEED to dedicate myself to getting all of my work completed - however, that's not good for me, and if you do it, it's not good for you either. I read an article earlier this week where the author recommended taking productive breaks from work to give her mind a rest. Personally, I would much rather work straight through and get it done, then waste time by getting out of the zone. However, I do recommend taking breaks for another reason. The human body was not built to sit for 8 hours straight. I'm reminded of our annual 12 hour drive to see the grandparents. At the end of the day, I'm stiff and sore. Yet I try to do a mini version of that on a regular basis.
My husband works for PetSmart, and they have started encouraging their employees to wear step counters to work. They say that they are suppose to take 10,000 steps per day (that's about 5 miles and would take roughly 1-2 hours of straight walking). However, many experts would say that simply walking 10,000 steps a day isn't even enough. You have to work all of your muscles to stay healthy. You need to stretch and work on cardio-fitness as well.
Besides being good for your body, exercise is also good for your brain. It helps you stay more alert. According to a study done at Harvard, fitness training has a positive effect on cognitive ability including attention, organization, and planning. Basically, if you want to be more productive and more alert, take the time to exercise - you might actually get more done and be more efficient. If you still cringe at the thought of the time loss - multitask. Listen to an audio recording while you walk, exercise, or stretch.
So, after taking all of the above into consideration, I've decided to schedule some exercise breaks into my day. This is hard with four small children, so I don't have slots nailed down yet. I'm planning on taking 3 breaks each day, one for walking, one for cardio work, and another for stretching. The girls loved our walk this morning, and I took some book work with me so that I wouldn't feel unproductive when we stopped at the park. This afternoon I'll take another break for stretching, but I probably won't be able to do cardio work while the kids are awake, so that's going to take some doing.
Here's an article I found with stretches for people who sit all day.
The other key to staying healthy (no matter where you work) is drinking lots of water. This is probably my biggest downfall, so I'm working on it too.