Who could have known there are tangible, physical benefits to commuting to an office for work every day?

Back in the first weeks of the state of emergency, working from home may have initially seemed like a dream come true. However, recent reports on websites such as My Navi and Suits Women suggest that sitting in front of a computer surrounded by all the comforts of home more than likely didn’t help workers’ waistlines, with women putting on an average of 2.6 kilograms in April and May and men an average of 3.3 kilograms.

This might not sound excessive but, as people have continued to work from home during summer, shedding the extra weight seems to be proving a little more difficult.

With some companies now asking their employees to return to their offices, many are beginning to realize the folly of their ways.

“I went to see a client for the first time since the state of emergency was declared,” one Twitter user recalled. “The client didn’t hold back from telling me that I had put on weight. I replied that it was because of COVID-19.”

In another tweet accompanying a photo of two bowls of ramen, another Twitter user admits to putting on 3 kilograms since the virus had emerged.

“I will never forgive COVID-19 for this,” they wrote.

The decline in physical health of the country’s workforce concerns health professionals nationwide.

Koji Sato, a doctor who works at a health care center in Niigata Prefecture, told Nikkei.com that working remotely has negatively affected workers who might otherwise be healthy.

Of the 130 or so patients who visit the center each day, many say they are putting on weight, not getting enough exercise and drinking excessively.

Sato warns that the above factors can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and liver failure.

“It’s the best time to take your annual health test, so that you can find out what’s going on with your body and make some changes to your lifestyle,” Sato says.

“James” Shuichi Nakano, a professional trainer, is more blunt in his assessment of the situation.

“Staying inside and not exercising are just about the worst things you can do to your body,” Nakano tells Tokyo Keizai, adding that the longer a person remains sedentary, the more they risk losing muscle mass. “When muscle mass decreases, there’s more pressure on internal organs. Metabolism rates stall, immunity levels go down. When that happens, viruses and illness find a way to get into the system.”

Would going on a strict diet reverse this? Nakano doesn’t think so.

“When the body doesn’t get proper nourishment, there’s no energy to burn fat,” he says. “By not eating, your weight may go down temporarily but an undernourished body will try to right itself fast, which leads to a rebound.”

Nakano says the best solution is to keep moving — especially in your own home. Exercising to maintain muscle mass, he says, will keep most ailments at bay. He outlines a home fitness program, recommending it to those who spend all day at their computers.

Online health and fitness company Finc.com offers an easy way of maintaining fitness levels without going to excessive lengths that is based around three simple steps: weighing yourself on a daily basis, controlling food intake and taking regular walks.

Indeed, people have started to wake up to the wonders of walking since the pandemic emerged, with one online publication saying the activity can alleviate stress, generate feelings of happiness and help stimulate the brain.

With this in mind, it’s time to quit reading articles like this, put on a pair of trainers and take a quick walk around the block. Your waistline will certainly thank you for it.

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