Most people consider the primary perks of working from home to be comfort and convenience. No hiking up numerous flights of stairs, walking from a parking structure to your workspace, walking across the campus for a meeting or long stints at a desk.
The ease of working from home allows for a more relaxed environment, but with ease and comfort comes poor health if we’re not careful. If you find yourself working from home full or part-time, you’ll want to make sure your space is conducive to wakefulness, frequent movement and a healthy lifestyle.
In this article, we’ll help you to evaluate your own work-from-home routine and offer suggestions for at-home exercises to keep you engaged and responsive during the work day.
Conduct a self-evaluation
If you’re working from home and haven’t yet assessed your workspace situation, consider the following questions so you can set yourself up for success.
Where is your computer set up? On your lap? On a table? At a desk?
Do you work lounging on a couch or in a chair designed for extended periods of sitting?
Do you work on a chair that feels too hard or too soft, affecting your posture?
Do you use a standing desk, desk treadmill, ergonomic chair or another device to promote movement while you work?
Do you take frequent breaks (at least one five-minute break per hour)?
Do you have water to drink at your workstation?
Do you give your eyes a rest and avoid screens during breaks (like lunchtime and bathroom breaks)?
Do you make an effort to get outside on days you don’t need to leave the house for work?
If your self-evaluation was alarming or disappointing to you, there are plenty of easy exercises and adaptations to your daily routine that can help you prioritize your health again. Here are the best at-home exercises.
Cardio exercises at home
Staying fit at home means balancing the types of workouts you do. It’s just as important to do cardio exercises at home as strength-building ones. Use the following aerobic exercises to burn calories and boost metabolism.
Jump rope: If you have a ceiling high enough or the weather’s nice, try jumping rope to quickly boost your heart rate and burn calories. If you don’t have the space to jump rope, mimic the motion with an invisible jump rope.
Walk, jog or run: Depending on your experience and ability, choose a type of movement that works for you. Once you get used to this type of cardio, you’ll find it gets easier and more relaxing every time.
Leg exercises at home
Incorporating leg exercises at home into your normal schedule can help you feel strong and build muscle mass.
Squats: One of the best leg exercises at home is repetitive sets of squats. If you’ve never done squats before, use a chair to help you establish form. Slowly lower yourself until you’re seated on the edge of the chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your legs at a 90-degree angle. Bring yourself slowly back up to standing. Use a band or weights to increase intensity.
Lunges: A lunge feels like a giant step, and can really work your leg muscles. Take a wide step forward, bending your knees until your back knee almost touches the ground, then return to standing.
Elevated lunges: repeat the same motion as a normal lunge, but elevate your back leg while placing your foot top-down on a chair or couch.
Back exercises at home
Try out these back exercises at home to reverse the damage sitting all day does to your posture.
Reverse crunches: Laying flat on your stomach with your legs out straight, lift your chest, arms and head as high as you are able without touching the ground with your arms or hands. Lower down slowly and repeat.
Deadlifts: Standing up and leaning forward, use small weights in each hand and lift your chest until you’re in a standing position. Lower back down and repeat.
Chest exercises at home
It can seem like there are few chest exercises at home to try without a full bench-press setup, but many chest exercises can be done with minimal equipment or body weight only. Try these exercises to build muscle in your chest.
Mountain climbers: While mountain climbers are well-known as an ab exercise, due to the body’s positioning they also work shoulder and chest muscles. Get into a plank position with your toes on the ground and alternate legs, bringing your knee towards your chest. Add a bouncing motion and increase speed to increase intensity.
Push-ups: From a plank position, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the ground without touching it. Then, push yourself back up to a plank position. For beginners, try placing your knees on the ground or even do push-ups against a wall when you’re standing up.
Arm exercises at home
Keeping your arms toned is important for daily tasks. You’ll find that when you do arm exercises at home regularly that tasks like cooking, cleaning and even doing your hair won’t leave your arms exhausted.
Arm circles: Hold both arms out parallel to the ground, starting with small forward rotations. Then, switch to small backward rotations. Slowly make larger circles, and switch to big forward rotations.
Bicep dips: Sit on the edge of a chair and place your arms nearly under your butt, gripping the edge of the chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Lift yourself off the chair, and hover forwards towards your feet. Slowly bring your elbows backward, lowering yourself a few inches. Push yourself back up and continue the motion.
When you’re ready to commit to exercising at home throughout the day, you’ll want to make sure you first consult your doctor, especially if you’re feeling any pain or have any pre-existing condition that may interfere with these exercises. Remember to include stretching, healthy eating, rest and hydration in any workout routine, regardless of your level of athleticism.
Employee health is an overlooked topic, often by both businesses and employees. If you’re eager to invest in your own health or that of your company, check out Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP. Our employee assistance program can help you prioritize your personal well-being so you can give the best of yourself when it matters. Get in touch today.