14 September 2007

More on 101 Reasons - health

Yesterday, I mentioned the 101 Reasons Freelancers do it Better list.

This morning, while I was pounding away red-faced on the treadmill at the gym (at 6.30am!) I was thinking that something important missing off that list is health. Actually, both physical and mental health have sections on that list but because the list is so relentlessly upbeat about why freelancing is so fantastic, it fails to mention any downsides at all.

Don't get me wrong, I love freelancing and have never regretted making the switch. But there is one very big negative to sitting at home in front of a PC all day. You don't get any exercise. And that is definitely A Bad Thing. In 1 year of sitting at the computer and making only the most feeble, half-hearted attempts to pop into the gym occasionally, I put on more kilos than I'm willing to admit. No, I haven't blobbed out like Michelle McManus. But I'm still 2 sizes bigger than I ought to be. Which is why I get up at 5.30 am these days and start working out an hour later.

It's really important to take care of yourself when you're self-employed as there's no company doctor to haul you in for the occasional check-up. There's no office stairs to climb instead of taking the lift or deciding to walk down the corridor to speak to someone instead of emailing or phoning. The opportunities for built-in exercise shrink drastically when you work at home.

I reached the point where I could barely do up my jeans, which is why I now haul my carcass off the mattress so early - I know I'll be too tired in the evening but the gym at 6.30am suits me fine. The pounds are gradually starting to shift.

It doesn't have to be the gym, but if you're thinking of working for yourself and it's going to be largely sedentary, I'd strongly advise you to think of how best to ensure you exercise and stay fit.

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