10 Ways to Stay Physically Active While Working Remotely

Woman stretching with computer

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) became a global pandemic, more people than ever are working remotely to stop the spread of infection. While social distancing and self-isolation present their own challenges, so does working remotely. If you’re working from home, chances are you’re struggling to find and maintain a routine in your household, especially when it comes to exercise.

Working from home can quickly lead to a sedentary lifestyle. To get at least 1 hour of exercise per day while working remotely takes some creative thinking and self-discipline. But exercise can be a real lifesaver for your physical and mental health during these stressful times.

Are you working remotely? Try these 10 at-home fitness ideas to help you get moving.

  1. Set a timer to get up, stretch, or move around every hour. Even if you’ve already exercised for the day or plan to exercise later, sitting at a desk all day can put you at an increased risk for heart disease. Use your smartphone or kitchen timer to remind yourself to take small breaks.
  2. Add 1 hour for exercise into your planner like you would any other meeting or appointment. Building exercise into your daily schedule—and staying accountable—is key to meeting your goals and staying on track.
  3. Invest in an adjustable sit/stand desk riser—or get crafty and create your own! Studies suggest that standing while you work can lower your risk of weight gain and obesity, lower your blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease, and improve mood, energy, and back pain. If you can’t afford a standing desk, create your own at the kitchen counter, find DIY tutorials like these online, or repurpose a sturdy box that otherwise serves as office supply storage.
  4. Establish a morning (or evening) workout routine. If you’re no longer commuting 30 minutes or so to work every day, use that time instead for fitness. Whether you prefer working out in the morning or evening, exercising during your would-be commute is a great way to seize the time you’d normally spend getting to or from the office each day and do something good for your health.
  5. Coordinate Skype or Zoom exercise dates or lunchtime walks with coworkers. Just pick a time, dial in, and workout “together.” Additionally, while the gyms and fitness and recreational centers are closed, many are offering free live streams or app-based workouts, including the YMCA of Frederick County. Scope what’s available online and try something new with your crew.
  6. Go digital and download a new fitness app. From yoga to kickboxing, there’s a fitness app for everything. There are plenty of free or cost-effective apps available, and many are offering free trials or subscriptions during the COVID-19 crisis—we love My Fitness Pal, Endomondo, and 7 Minute Workout.
  7. Have pets? Take advantage of potty breaks with extra walks around the block. While gathering in large groups is prohibited, you can still go for walks around your neighborhood. Next time the dog needs to go outside, take a 5-minute stroll around the block. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is good for your sanity and creativity, too.
  8. Try small exercises at your desk. Stretching your neck is important to reduce back pain. Wrist and lower arm stretches are great for carpal tunnel syndrome. Seated leg raises and chair dips build strength and stamina. Whether you’re sitting or standing, there are plenty of exercises you can do while you work.
  9. Get resourceful and use what you have available. Staying fit and active doesn’t require a ton of money, a gym membership, or expensive fitness equipment. Push-ups, yoga, sit-ups, and other forms of exercise can be done without any equipment. Walking or running only requires a pair of tennis shoes, and strength training can be done with everyday household items like cans of soup or bottles of laundry detergent. Do you have an exercise ball? Use it in place of your desk chair. Now is the time to get creative and reuse and repurpose what you already have.
  10. Don’t forget to practice good habits, like hand washing, getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy, in addition to fitness. Like 5-2-1-0 suggests, getting 1 hour or more of physical activity each day is only one part of maintaining good health. It’s important to continue to eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables each day, reduce your screen time to 2 hours or less (if you are able), drink 0 sugary drinks, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Looking for more ideas like these? Check out the Physical Activity Resources on our website.

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