With so many people spending more time in their houses, we decided it’s time to tackle the topic of how people can stay active while working from home.
Often, people just starting to work from home get excited thinking about how much they’ll be able to accomplish and all the great personal habits they’ll be able to build now that they’re not wasting time on a commute or eating out all the time for lunch.
But then reality steps in.
All their favorite snacks are just a room away, there’s no walk to and from the office, there’s no water cooler or lunch room to go to or physical conference rooms to visit. Also no gym to hit on the way home.
And then, the time that was supposed to go towards staying active can be forgotten or eaten up by screen time, laundry time, family time or a host of other distractions that come with spending all day within their own four walls.
Many people working from home could literally spend the entire day at their desk without moving more than a few feet here and there for bathroom and lunch breaks! And that can leave them feeling unhealthy and low energy.
Health, productivity and job satisfaction are all tied to fitness and wellness habits.
Staying physically active keeps the mind sharp and alert. Exercise helps the brain to grow. It is a stress buster and the list of both physical and emotional perks goes on from miles.
Luckily, even for people working from home all day, there are plenty of opportunities to stay active and even sneak in a workout. Let’s cover some power tips to help people get moving!
1. Dress Up Casual and Get Ready to Sweat
No one expects you to be in a suit and tie when working from home. Wearing sportswear while working at home not only feels comfortable, but it can psychologically prime you to get in a workout on your break or after the end of the day. So, put on your sneakers and ditch the sharpshooters.
2. Use Your Breaks
Use your breaks to run up or down the stairs. Or get down and do a set of pushups or situps (even 10 repetitions of each a couple times a day is fine to start). Pushups, especially, will build your upper body strength and help you rectify those round shoulders that you get from working at a computer every day. And, you can knock out a set in less than a minute.
3. Create Healthy Habits as Part of Your Wake Up Routine
Now is not the time to snooze the alarm and use the time you would spend in traffic to sleep! Definitely don’t do that. Instead, invest that time into some serious workout business at home before the workday begins.
Start your day on a high note with an active morning routine. The extra energy you get from morning routines like running or lifting weights will spill over into your day – helping to increase your productivity.
Start with dynamic stretching when you wake up to get your body warmed up. Then maybe power up into a jog or a run to build stronger bones and joints. Jumping jacks are also a great way to manage your weight and improve your heart health.
If circumstances allow, getting outside for your morning exercise can be a great way to change your environment and get some fresh air before settling in for the day.
4. Don't Get Glued to Your Desk
You can probably accomplish many of your work goals while standing.
Get a standing desk that you can use at home. It will save you from the health dangers associated with all-day sitting. At the office, it may have been impossible to do your work while standing, but now that you are the boss at home, you can design your workspace as you see fit. Some people even stand at their kitchen counter for a couple hours a day as a substitute for a standing desk.
Standing also strengthens your leg muscles. And, as Healthline reports, using a standing desk allows you to burn a higher number of calories than you do while sitting.
5. You Are At Home, Be the Boss
There is no better time to get a work-life balance than this. You have extra pockets of time added to your day. Gone is the morning and evening commute, the client meetings that would often last longer than necessary and so many other daily time eaters. Use these windows of opportunity to go after your fitness goals.
Remember, your fitness is as essential as your work goals. Get a mission, a vision and even a workout ethic that you can live by.
Itemize what you want to achieve in the next week, month and even year, then schedule the time you have towards attaining these goals. Get your diet in line as well by stocking up on healthy foods.
You have an amazing opportunity now to take charge of your space.
6. Walk Around When You Work
Some lines of work involve a ton of phone time. Luckily, you are in your own space now. You don’t have to have all your phone conversations while seated.
Walk around and use that 20, 30 or even 60 minutes of phone consultation, customer service or client meetings to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Yes, walking does wonders for the heart. Specialists say that you need just 30 minutes of walking every day to improve your cardiovascular fitness. So, if you know that next call coming in is going to be a lengthy one, put on your earpiece and walk like you mean business.
7. Take Micro-Breaks
Set the alarm if you have to, to remind you of when you need to take a break from work. This could be a water break or an eye-resting break for your visual health. Whatever you decide to call it, there are many ways to utilize those few minutes for physical activity.
It could be a quick HIIT routine or whatever else works for you. These routines don’t need you to have equipment nearby. They just need you to be motivated and go all in. For example, they say that 50 squats a day can keep the doctor away and it’s possible to do that many repetitions in less than 2 minutes.
8. Buy Some Workout Gear
Maybe you are going to be working from home for a long time. Or perhaps your busy schedule or tight budget might keep you from going to the gym. In all these cases, having a few workout types of equipment at home can be the motivator you need to keep going after your fitness goals.
Workout gear that you might want at home includes jumping ropes, a workout bench and mat, a stability ball or resistance bands. You can do some incredible workouts with this simple equipment, from strength training to cardio.
Using different types of equipment will also help you improve the variety of your routines so that every day you work your muscles in a new way. Mixing up your workout routines helps to keep the weight loss or muscle gains going and prevents a plateau.
9. Leverage Your Body Weight for Cost Efficiency
You don’t necessarily have to splurge on work out gear to gain muscles or lose weight when working from home. And you definitely don’t need special equipment to add a simple baseline of activity to your day.
Sometimes it also doesn’t make sense to spend the extra money on equipment. One way to save significantly and still attain those fitness goals is by utilizing your body weight.
Pushups, pull-ups, planks and squats are some of the bodyweight exercises that build serious muscle. And these routines don’t need much space either. Whether you live in a studio apartment or have a house all to yourself, you still get to stay in tip-top shape.
You can also find dozens of great, no-equipment workout routines on sites like Youtube or other video platforms.
10. Have Fun, Improvise and Experiment
Find ways to use your bags of rice or gallons of water for strength training. Find ways to make your cardio more exciting by experimenting with dancing and or martial arts. You can follow instructions on YouTube or a workout show on TV.
Switching up your workout elevates your fitness levels. It also helps to prevent injuries from overusing the same muscle groups and can make exercise an exciting thing to look forward to.
Working from home is already boring for many people, so let your workouts be something you can enjoy.
11. Working From Home Stretches
Stretching improves flexibility and agility. It warms up your muscles and gets you ready for cardio or weight lifting. Sometimes, stretching is even the primary workout in routines, like with Pilates and yoga.
Arming yourself with a few remote working stretching routines now can help you attain your fitness goals faster. Some routines to try to include backward and forward shoulder rolls, leg lunges, hamstring stretches and seated back twists.
If you follow Evolve Chiropractic on Facebook, we post many stretching and fitness ideas from our doctors there. Or you can take a look at our other blog articles, many of which will give you great ideas for healthy ways to stay active.
12. Break Your Activity Down Into Short Sessions
Working from home does not automatically leave you with extra time. Sometimes the calls don’t stop even after five (or they start before 8). And then there are family responsibilities to handle. Your kids may need your attention and there could be home chores that you cannot ignore.
So, if time is a scarce commodity, break down your workout schedule into small bits. Go for 10, 20, or 30 minutes sessions a few times a day. If you put your breaks to good use, by day end, you would have accomplished the 40 minutes of workout time recommended by health experts.
13. Substitute your other stress busters for exercise.
We all have days when a boss gets on our nerves. Now that you are working from home, chances are you have a comedy series bookmarked somewhere for stress relief. Or maybe stress relief for you entails taking to social media or gaming. You can replace all these habits with a workout routine.
Working out relieves stress by activating the release of feel-good hormones. You get to sweat out all your negative feelings and relax your mind and body. The stress-relieving function of workouts works even better when you do those routines that you love or workout with music.
Bonus Tip: Get Outdoors Every Day
We adding one more bonus tip because it’s so incredibly valuable:
For most people, working from home means staying indoors all day long.
You deserve a break. Being in the outdoors can significantly improve your energy levels. According to research, spending 20 minutes in the outdoors gives you the same level of energy boost that you would get from a cup of coffee. Not to mention, Vitamin D from the sun can increase your mood, increase important hormone production and help with quality sleep.
So, go shopping when it makes sense or take some of your workouts outside. It is much easier to exercise outside than in your living room.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to stay active while working from home. None of them involves going to the gym or neglecting your work duties. Plan your time well, use your body weight and improvise with the equipment you have at hand.
You just might find you’re getting healthier and fitter than ever, even within your own four walls.