With millions of Americans continuing to work from home during the pandemic, daily routines have changed. But getting exercise has never been more important — it’s a great way to increase energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep, as well as strengthen your immune system.
Creating a structure for your day while working from your office or spare room helps keep you motivated and ensures your mental performance stays high. Regular exercise is a key to making this happen. Whether it’s a run first thing in the morning, a high-intensity lunchtime workout or an evening class online, getting your heart rate going will benefit not only your health, but also your output. Here are 10 ways to get moving.
1. Schedule your exercise
Planning your training or workout and making it part of your daily routine is crucial to sticking to it. People who put their fitness activities on the same calendar as their regular appointments tend to stick to their plan. Because motivation comes and goes, having a set plan in place at the beginning of the week gives you the focus to follow through — checking off your accomplishments at the end always feels good.
2. Add in some extras
Keeping mobile while you’re working from home is easier than you think. If you work upstairs, make regular trips down to the kitchen for a drink or healthy snack. Put your printer in a different room. Walking around the room while on work calls for an hour each day will burn nearly 200 calories.1
3. Get a tracker
Fitness trackers are a great way to keep track of how much exercise you do each day and can be superb motivators. You don’t need an expensive one — just a basic step counter is perfect for setting a daily goal for the number of steps you want to reach.
4. Train online
If visiting the gym is not currently an option, you may still be able to do your exercise class with your favorite instructor. Online classes are an easy way of getting your body moving while working from home. Whether live or recorded, with online classes, you’ll feel just like you’re back in the exercise studio.
5. Challenge your friends and family
Training as a group is also a great motivator and can help you keep in touch with old friends or build team spirit with work colleagues. Using a video conferencing app such as Zoom, set up a workout group, agree to the time and format of the session, and workout “together” from your own homes.
6. Tidy house, tidy mind
Cleaning the house isn’t many people’s idea of fun, but it has dual benefits. A clean, calm work environment will benefit your productivity and performance, while housework increases your heart rate. Doing half an hour’s cleaning burns around the same number of calories as a brisk walk!2
7. Think outside the box
You don’t need expensive equipment to work out at home. Use canned food or a sack of potatoes for weights and lifts, while a living room footstool could be perfect for push ups. Another idea is to swap your usual desk chair for an exercise ball, which works your core muscles to keep you upright. And if you have a kid’s trampoline in your backyard, hop on for 15 minutes at lunchtime.
8. A good stretch
Don’t forget the importance of stretching. Take 5 minutes every hour to stand up and stretch your entire body. This improves blood flow, helps prevent back pain, relieves stress and calms your mind. Stretching is so important for your muscles; dedicate 10 minutes before and after your workouts to help keep them strong and flexible with a good stretching routine.
9. Get outside
While working from home, it’s all too easy to end up not leaving the house. Fresh air makes you feel happier and helps clear your mind, so step out at lunchtime for a quick walk in your local park. If a park isn’t close by, then just do a couple of laps of around your block. Also, many studios nationwide are offering outdoor socially distanced classes that bring back that old feeling of group classes.
10. Even chained to your desk, take advantage
It might seem awkward, but even 1-minute spurts of activity throughout the day can be beneficial. So, try subtle exercises at your desk like flexing and tightening your abs, squeezing your glutes and calf raises.
Exercise really does feed the brain, which is essential if you’re going to be more effective and efficient in your job. You’ll focus better, concentrate more and make smarter decisions. While you’re working from home, bursts of activity will help you push through the rest of the tasks on your to-do list, so think of daily exercise as a positive lifestyle choice rather than a chore and you’ll soon notice the benefits both in your personal and professional life.