How To Stay Active While Working From Home [Part 1]

[Improve your health and overall performance]

Challenge – Article 11

“You don’t have to be fit and healthy to start, but you do have to start to be fit and healthy.”


This is Article 11 and is the second of three articles designed to get you excited and motivated for our 30 Day Moving Challenge which starts next week.

You know by now that the primary focus of the 30 Day Moving Challenge is physical activity though you can also build a personal secondary objective such as nutrition, weight or smoking into your challenge, if you want to.

One question we have been asked a lot over the past few months is how do you stay active while working from home and in doing so produce results which will improve your health and overall performance?

This is a big question and deserves a comprehensive answer. Accordingly we have divided our answer into 2 parts as follows:

Part 1 – This Article 11

  1. Defining Physical Activity
  2. Are You An Active Couch Potato?
  3. Benefits of Exercise & Moving
  4. Mindset About Moving & Exercise
  5. Your Motivation To Succeed

Part 2 – Next Article 12

  1. Six Key Actions For Success
  2. Results You Can Expect

1. Defining Physical Activity

Physical activity is defined as all exercise and moving that you do, during the day.

  • Exercise is usually planned activity or time spent doing activities such as walking, running, cycling, maybe 3/4 times a week.
  • Moving is unplanned activity and includes everything else you do from the time you get up to when you go to bed.

Sitting is the new smoking!

Unfortunately our unplanned activity has been decimated over the past thirty or forty years with the development of our culture of convenience. You’ve probably heard the term “sitting is the new smoking” and while this may exaggerate to make the point, it’s beyond debate that many of us have a relatively sedentary lifestyle.

  • In Ireland, research done before many of us started working from home shows that, on average we spend seven hours a day sitting. There’s no reason to believe this is any less now that so many are working from home.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests it could actually be worse, because our daily commutes and breaks have been all but eliminated.

This should serve as a warning to us all, while at the same time demonstrate just how important it is for our physical activity, both moving and exercise, to be a daily priority.

2. Are You An Active Couch Potato?

An active couch potato is someone who’s usually very good at the planned exercise and often does quite a lot of it, but is terrible at moving at other times during the day.

I used to be an active couch potato when I was younger but thankfully have changed my habits and behaviour and now my activity, both exercise and moving, is more balanced.

You Need To Know!

You really need to know if you’re an active couch potato or not, especially when you are working at home.

It’s very easy to lapse into a sedentary state, sometimes for hours on end, especially if you are very busy and have some pressing deadlines. Get into the “bad habit” of doing this and health problems will follow.

You can easily find the answer to this question by checking your daily steps in the steps section of your smart phone, health app. You can calculate the amount of moving you do each day using this simple formula:


[Moving Steps = Total Steps – Exercise]

If your exercise makes up a high proportion [80% or more] of your total steps you’re probably an “Active Couch Potato. This is going to be a key element of our forthcoming 30 Day Moving Challenge.

3. Benefits of Exercise & Moving

We all know that physical activity is important for improving our health and wellbeing. We also know, whether we participate or not, that exercise is beneficial but we are less informed about the benefits of moving.

There’s compelling evidence that getting up from your desk and moving on a regular basis also provides many benefits to both our physical and mental health. There are long term benefits, but also immediate benefits from getting up and moving, right now.

Both exercise and moving during our working day, also helps our immune system, by protecting us against disease which is critical, living in our C***d world. This is a very helpful bonus.

4. Mindset About Moving & Exercise

The most common excuse given for not exercising is “I don’t have time”. While it may be reasonable as a short term excuse for exercise, it’s not a legitimate excuse for moving during your working day, especially when working at home.

Accordingly, we all need to develop a “moving mindset” to overcome our increasing sedentary lifestyle. Armed with good knowledge about the benefits of moving we can relatively quickly change our behaviour.

However, while knowledge about the benefits of moving and exercise is important and gives us power, knowledge alone is not enough. If you want to succeed and stay active, while working at home, you need to believe to achieve. You need to really want to do this.

5. Your Motivation To Succeed

With regard to planned activities such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, dancing, you need to find something you really want to do. It has to be sustainable; you have to be able to and enjoy doing this indefinitely; ideally for many years. Most of us will have to switch to less intensive activity as we get older and that’s okay.

With regard to moving when working at home, there are many opportunities during your day, to get up from your desk and move. Improving your health is important but also think about the benefits this bring for your work performance, productivity and indeed everything else you do during your day.

So how exactly do you do this? How do you change some well established habits and behaviours? Look out for Part 2 – Article 12 tomorrow when I will give you the six key actions for success and the results you can expect to achieve if you implement these actions.

Your Comments

Your comments and questions are very important to us. If you have any questions about the 30 Day Moving Challenge, in particular, let us know as we plan to discuss these in our next podcast.


  1. Can I echo Daithi’s request above for a spreadsheet. The printed version definately won’t last me the 30 days!
    Tried copy&paste with transpose but got the formatting all muddled.
    Otherwise – great to have a plan done out like that for us, many thanks.

  2. Hi Boys, are you going to share excel or google sheets templates for your 30 day challenge workbooks / schedules? That would be useful and save each of us recreating them or filling them in manually.

    • Daithi the templates are manual at this point; will look into the spreadsheet idea!!


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