We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.
Of all the changes that came about in 2020, perhaps the most significant change was the shift towards remote work. Initially, many of us assumed that there would be a brief, few-week period in which we all worked from home while we tried to quell the COVID-19 virus. But a few weeks turned into a few months, and now, over a year after the pandemic first entered our lives, many employees are planning on working from home indefinitely. How are remote work and pulmonary health related?
While working from home provides many benefits such as more time spent with family, less money spent on gas, and a generally flexible schedule; there are downsides to the trend as well. One major consequence of long-term remote work on pulmonary health has been its detrimental effects.
To understand the impact of remote working on pulmonary health, think about the typical workday. Barring unusual circumstances, the average worker will generally walk:
As minor as these movements may seem, these short walks add up to at least a few minutes of exercise throughout the day, forcing the cardiorespiratory system to kick into gear.
Compared with the average day of working from home, where the employee will typically:
So, the office doesn’t provide us with as much physical activity as health experts would recommend for optimal pulmonary health. However, the movement achieved through just being present at the office forces our hearts and lungs to move oxygen throughout our body and our muscles to work harder than they generally do while we’re at home. So, what about the impacts of remote working on pulmonary health?
In general, those who exercise or are physically active tend to have healthier respiratory systems than those who are sedentary.
Some specific information from published studies:
As you can hopefully see from just a sampling of the many studies in the published literature: exercise and physical activity are VERY good for lung health.
It seems obvious, right? If we’re moving less at home, all we need to do to counteract the problem is get up and move! Unfortunately, it is not that easy. If it were, we’d have the healthiest society ever, and we are very far from that reality.
According to the experts, there are a number of ways to increase daily physical activity and pulmonary health, specifically:
No matter how healthy our diets or how perfect our exercise routines; sometimes we just can’t help getting sick.
Recently, intense scrutiny has been recently placed on our health. Thus we are now acutely aware of what to do throughout the entire process of contracting a disease and recovering from it.
Working from home may be the norm for many employees for the foreseeable future. But just because we aren’t going into the office, this does not mean we have to become sedentary. On the contrary, there are many ways to keep active while at home. Also, should you become sick while working from home, there are plenty of science-backed methods for combating disease.
If you only take one thing from this article, just get up and MOVE every chance you get!
Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He treats a variety of conditions and writes about a number of topics in the health field. In his free time, Bennett enjoys exercising, reading, and philosophizing with anyone he can trick into having a conversation with him.