Remote Couch Potato

by Aug 14, 2020Productivity

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Are you a remote couch potato?

It happened the other day. You accidentally looked at your backside in the mirror and shrieked at what you saw. 

Zoom butt!
Porch patootie!
Remote rear end!

Have you become a work from home couch potato?

You already have poor posture from sofa slumping, and your legs have a laptop burn. Many people that are newly working from home have lost weight because they have an extra 1-2 hours in their day without a commute. They live in a walkable or bikeable neighborhood or have space for a home gym.

Others have packed on the pounds. The city they live in is congested, and they don't feel they can social distance appropriately or want to navigate the protests. My Boston apartment-dwelling clients can't even do a lunge jump without the neighbors below knowing about it. The spaces are small, and living, working, and playing in 800 square feet isn't motivating. Or they have young kids at home and that extra time back from commuting is spent with them because their school isn't opened.

Let's not be judgy or righteous about exercise, but you can move your body.

If you're on your way to being a remote couch potato, try the five tips below to move more at home. 

Five Tips to Move More at Home

  1. Get a sit-stand desk*. You may have not wanted to invest when the pandemic first started, but folks, we're gonna be here a while. Invest in a sit-stand desk so you can change position. We were not meant to be professional sitters. If you don't have the luxury of home office space, get a portable standing desk that you can move around your house or even to a park. Bonus that this can be shared with your family members. And please, for the love of your children, don't let them sit all day either. I'm already hearing of elementary-age children having back and neck pain!

  2. Get a bike desk* or under desk elliptical*. This is a master-level suggestion, but I love my FitDesk bike desk because it is meant to work on with your computer. It has a rubberized space for my laptop so it doesn't slide and a backrest to make it comfortable. It's perfect for watching webinars, attending meetings where I'm only a participant and reading. My clients that are in small apartments or live in densely-populated cities were really missing their exercise. After investing in a bike desk, they get some great opportunities while background-tasking with work-related activities. Under-desk ellipticals take up hardly any space, and no one even has to know.
  3. Walking meetings. Not every meeting has to be over video. Remember the phone? They still work! Meetings that you don't have to be in front of a computer can be done outside as walkie talkies. It's a great break for both of you. I always let the person know I'll be walking outside so they can choose to as well. I have a habit that I do not talk to my family or friends unless I walk. When I schedule a time to chat with colleagues or peers, I send the calendar invite with the title Phone Walkie Talkie. Getting outside in nature is one of the best things you can do for your productivity.

  4. Get up at least once an hour. After about 45 minutes, our glute muscles, which are supposed to be the second strongest muscles in our body (after the jaw), start to forget how to contract. This can lead to lower back, knee, and hip pain. You may think you have a bad back, but what you really have is a weak butt! Do 5-10 squats every 45 minutes, set a timer, and do a few reps. You can also check out these deskercises.
  5. Create a trigger for push-ups. Push-ups are a metaphor for life. Everyone needs to be able to lift themselves up and not rely on other people. You also need to be able to lift your own body up. It's a functional movement that is even more important as you get older. Can't do a single push-up? Try it from your desk or a counter. Gradually move down to a stair or bench. Then do them from the floor. I do 75 every day, sometimes during my workout, and other times I'll just drop and do 25. What can your trigger be? Before checking Facebook or Instagram? Any time you get a text message? Before you grab another snack?

My personal Movement Opportunities while working from home.

  • I use a standing desk* almost all day. I have a Mogo stool* if I get fatigued and want to sit a little, but for the most part, I only sit at lunch and in the late afternoon when I'm writing.
  • I use my FitBike* if I'm watching a webinar, participating in a meeting as an attendee just listening, when I'm practicing my Spanish, or reading a book. Purchase from and use code MARCEYFREEMAT for a free under-desk mat!*

  • I do sets of pull-ups throughout the day.
  • I do 1-3 phone walkie talkies for 15-30 minutes.
  • At 6pm, Alexa plays Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That, and I do my transition dance break (I dare you not to move when you hear this song).

There are a lot of things I'm worried about with the pandemic besides general health and the economy. I”m concerned about our bodies because not everyone lives somewhere that they can be safe outside or have room for a home gym. I'm worried about our eyes from looking at screens without a break. I'm afraid for our mental health from being isolated. I'm concerned about our kids (OMG the kids) because parents aren't thinking about their ergonomics, eyes, or breathing (we breathe more shallow when we are staring at a screen).

Be mindful of how much you move. Think of the triggers you can use and create a behavior before, during, or after = Movement Opportunity.

You don't have to be a remote couch potato just because you work from home.

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects