Spinning, wobbling and bottom wiggling: Fitness in the home office
There are many positives in working from home. But it can also pose a challenge – especially when it comes to fitness. Having the right furniture can help.
Occupational health specialists recommend working more frequently in a standing position. With a height-adjustable desk, this is easy to do. Photo: Vitra
The “commute” is over in a flash, we can take care of tasks here and there and often enjoy a quieter working environment – a home office has many advantages. On the other hand, it can also be a real challenge – especially for our health. Constant sitting, lack of movement, easy access to regular snacks. And endlessly checking e-mails can be an additional source of stress. Sooner or later, all of this can have a negative effect on our physical and mental well-being – and even weaken the immune system.
Training as an online service
However, there are also plenty of opportunities to keep fit at home. More flexible working hours mean we can complete our fitness programmes during the day when we take breaks – with the added convenience of taking a shower in our own bathroom. Anyone needing a little bit more of a push from the outside can turn to online platforms like Catapult, a service offering group classes or one-to-one sessions to help users battle excess pounds – with an individual training and nutrition plan and a personal contact.
With its combination of stylish spinning bikes and live classes, Peloton is introducing a fitness craze from America to German living rooms and home offices. The luxury fitness bike is fitted with a touchscreen on which 48 classes with a range of options are broadcast live from New York and London every day. The Peloton system even allows the instructor to interact with the participants and speak to users individually to motivate them.
With the right equipment, we can also stick to a fitness programme while working from home. For example, the stool from Ongo aims to stimulate us to move more. Photo: Ongo
Furniture that promotes fitness
The good news is that not all home fitness options require a virtual personal trainer – the right furniture can also help. Height-adjustable desks can encourage us to stand up regularly and change position frequently. In any case, occupational health specialists say we should work standing up more often. Thanks to its cable guide and PC holder, everything on the desk from String Furniture’s Works series remains in place.
There are even things that can be done to promote movement while seated using a good old fitness ball. Constantly rebalancing your sitting position supports spinal mobility. Office chairs with flexible seats have also become established on the market and provide users with additional back support. The stool from Ongo uses a particularly fun approach to push its owner to do more exercise: its convex base more or less demands that you wobble and wiggle your bottom. Sitting still at your desk is almost impossible with this office chair.
Manufacturers of exercise equipment now also exhibit at the Interior Business Event imm cologne or – as in the case of Technogym – at ORGATEC. Photo: Koelnmesse
Fitness as a component of interior design
Thanks to its design concept, the Ciclotte Bike is both a workout device and a home accessory. Photo: Ciclotte
Good design is an important factor for manufacturers of fitness equipment to consider if they want to look the part in the home environment. Take the example of Italian manufacturer Ciclotte, which knows how to combine ergonomic aspects with attractive design. The aim of Italian designer Luca Schieppati was to use the Ciclotte range to establish the place of a fitness device within contemporary life, where work and relaxation, exercise and leisure are given equal importance.
The importance of fitness for interior design (or vice versa) is also evident from the fact that manufacturers of exercise equipment now participate in interiors trade fairs like imm cologne and ORGATEC. This is also due to the fact that more and more property developers and businesses are planning to include gyms within their buildings and offices. Living, working, keeping fit – it’s become an effective combination. And having a private wellness corner in your own home can definitely look stylish.
Working on the move
Ole Schmidt Sørensen went one step further when he wondered how working and keeping fit could be combined. That was back in 1997, when the then export manager of a large Danish furniture manufacturer was forced to spend a lot of time at home following an operation on a spinal disc. His fellow countryman Bjarne Riis had won the Tour de France the previous year, and as a result cycling was experiencing a boom in Denmark.
Watching the Tour on television, Schmidt Sørensen came up with the innovative idea of combining a bicycle with a desk. The curious hybrid of exercise bike and office furniture quickly took shape and was presented by SIS as the iDesk at ORGATEC in the early 2000s. However, the distinctly sporty approach to furniture didn’t really catch on – but maybe it was just ahead of its time.