Ways to Stay Fit When You Work From Home
Should work-at-home fitness be a challenge? All remote workers want to know how to stay active when working from home. Here are our tips for a work-from-home exercise routine.
Are you wondering how to avoid turning into a lazy blob while working from home? You’re for sure not alone in wanting to tackle the conundrum of wanting to slide over to your couch for some Netflix after the workday is done, but also wanting to get in shape.
In addition to things like the challenges of how to stay connected socially and navigating video interviews, there’s the challenge of your own health. Every professional has to balance the working-from-home tips for success with how to feel great in both mind and body.
When you work from home, it’s nearly easy to let work consume you, if your home office is actually in your living room, and your living room is close to your kitchen, and your couch… we could go on and on about how easy it is to stay home when you work from home. Pajamas are so comfy, right?
The fact of the matter is that your health will falter if you don’t make an effort to either get out and exercise or get fit within the confines of your home. Both are completely possible (although one is certainly preferred over the other if it’s raining, too hot or too cold outside).
With a range of classes you can take online (for free!), to working out by yourself or with a partner/roommate, your work-from-home exercise routine is about to begin, and we hope you’re excited.
As a preview of what we’re outlining below, here are a few totally simple things you can get to keep in your home to stay more fitness-focused. All of these recommendations, which we detail in the following list, can become a part of your home office area or can be easily stowed away.
- YOGO ultralight yoga mat
- Pair of simple free weights Affiliate link
- Resistance bands Affiliate link (wait until you see how to use them!)
- A standing desk Affiliate link
- And a fresh pair of running shoes! Affiliate link
- Bluetooth headphones like Airpods Affiliate link or Jaybirds
Join us as we share with you how to stay active when working from home, to start your very own work-from-home workout plan.
Do online yoga from your home.
Home is a great place for yoga, and it’s one of the best exercises for home workers.
If you’ve read our work-at-home tips, you know that one of my favorite work-at-home fitness tips is to leave a yoga mat near your home office. When you walk by it on your way back from the kitchen, you may feel invited to do some lunges or a push-up plank.
If your yoga mat isn’t automatically inviting you to sit down and do crow pose, get in the healthy habit of a home yoga routine on YouTube.
Here are a few of my favorite (free!) YouTube yoga instructor channels:
What I like about doing yoga at home and with free online videos on YouTube is that I can pick a short class for the morning before I sit down to work, and can wind down with a 30-minute or 45-minute online class when I’m done.
Tip: our recommendation for a yoga mat is the YOGO ultralight yoga mat, which is made of vegan plant-based materials, and it folds up nicely so that you can fit it into a backpack or tote bag! As a bonus, YOGO provides a food-bearing tree and agriculture training for a disadvantaged family for every mat purchased.
Take an online pilates class.
Now that we’ve discussed my love for online at-home yoga while I’m working from home, we get to discuss how Dan does pilates either in the morning before starting work, or after his evening runs.
What’s pilates? Pilates is a series of concise movements that promote core strength, muscle control and stability. While it sounds pleasant, it is certainly very hard work.
There are lots of pilates classes on YouTube that you can watch for free, ranging from classes to tone your abs, to beginner-level classes, to full-body workouts. You won’t believe what kind of fitness you can get into, all within the comfort of your home as a home worker.
Start the day with a stretch.
Remember that yoga mat we mentioned above? Keep it set out on the floor either in your bedroom or in your home office area. Begin the workday by doing any type of stretch, whether ones you learned in high school gym class, or from a dance class or from online yoga.
Stretching gives your joints and muscles some movement before you settle into your home office chair and take a two-hour meeting. Stretching also helps relieve joints and aches that you might get during sitting for that long. We tend to stretch throughout the day and we’ve made it a habit for at-home fitness.
Try a high-intensity workout from your living room.
What’s cool about HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts is that you need very little equipment and can do them from home as part of your work-from-home workout plan.
The typical HIIT workout fan will confirm that HIIT workouts make you sweat like crazy and will keep you involved and far from bored. Next, remote workers who regularly do HIIT workouts say that they can see results quickly.
You can find lots of HIIT workouts on YouTube, where you can choose from 15-minute or 30-minute videos (free!). Try it out to see if you like the HIIT style, if you’re new to the idea.
Install a pull-up bar in a doorway.
Quickly installing a doorway pull-up bar Affiliate link is like having a piece of a gym in your home that you can easily walk by and start a workout with.
If your home (and family members or roommates) permits, find a doorway that supports this type of at-home fitness equipment and start a habit of doing pull-ups as part of your work from home schedule.
Have an accountability buddy? Have a pull-up competition over Zoom as a way of staying connected.
Try calisthenics coaching on YouTube.
Calisthenics is synonymous with body weight training, meaning using one’s body as the means of gaining strength. If you don’t have space in your home office or in your home to create a home gym, consider learning about calisthenics.
Calisthenics is typically performed with movements that repeat rhythmically, including push-ups, squats, dips, leg raises and pull-ups. You can find lots of free expert calisthenics videos on YouTube!
Keep a pair of weights near your desk.
If you want to have weights on hand, consider some starter weights for making a home gym. Or, once again, if you are short on space, get yourself a pair of basic weights that you can use to do repeated arm movements during calls or while you’re waiting for files to upload.
- For a starter weight set, this set of neoprene weights Affiliate link that comes in an A-rack. They range from 1 to 10 lbs.
- For someone who wants wrist weights, these 0.5 lb wrist weights Affiliate link that have a soft neoprene covering
- For any remote worker with a fear of commitment to a home gym, these cute pink 1-lb free weights Affiliate link that can sit next to your desk and brighten your mood.
Tip: If you have limited space, you can store a set of free weights under a bed or beneath a table, or even under the bathroom sink, so that they stay out of sight when not being used.
Try body balances while you’re on a conference call.
You don’t have to necessarily be sitting during a call. A way to beat the sedentary lifestyle or sedentary workday is to get up during your calls if you don’t have to type anything, and do some standing balances or arm movements. It gets blood flowing, and you don’t have to break a sweat.
Tip: Try standing on one leg, and then the other, to test your balance, but don’t let it take your mind off the content in your conference call.
Get a standing desk to avoid staying sedentary for too long.
If you want to avoid sitting for too long while working from home, consider a standing desk Affiliate link. Having a standing desk lends itself to fitness because you’ll already be on your feet while you’re at work, if you’re using one.
While a standing desk won’t literally burn calories for you, it can put you in the mood for how to stay active when working from home. It also is one of the most widely-suggested working-from-home tips for professionals who don’t want to be married to sitting in a chair for 8 hours and getting minimal steps during most of the day.
Tip: Did you run out of space in your home office nook or room? Try a mini desk riser Affiliate link for the effect of a standing desk. Small ones can support a laptop, and larger desk risers Affiliate link can support an external monitor as well.
Make sure you get steps during your lunch break.
This tip is a simple one. Go for a walk on your lunch break!
You can feel free to count your steps, or walk as far as you have time for, and pat yourself on the back for having gotten in some movement rather than none.
Or, go for a walk, run or bike ride before you sit down to work for the day.
Are you a morning person? Take your morning coffee in a thermos (we like the Yeti Rambler Affiliate link and go for a walk around the block or down the street.
Or, if you’re a morning runner, use the time during which you used to commute and use it for an a.m. jog.
If you have a bike at home, take your bike out for a spin and set an alarm for when you should start heading back home.
Tip: Whether you are a speed-walker, hobby biker or leisure runner, consider that you can use ‘commute time’ to get a workout in, all before you have to be online for work.
Take a post-work run or jog around the neighborhood or a park.
Here’s an easy idea: go running. It takes absolutely zero equipment, and all you have to do is move your feet quickly.
I used to not like running at all, but now I enjoy it as a challenge. Dan, on the other hand, loves running and has even run several marathons and half-marathons, in places like Argentina and the Czech Republic.
If you’re not yet into running, consider that it’s the type of hobby you can take up, get used to and then you can do it literally anywhere. Make sure you have some good running shoes Affiliate link though, or your feet will start to hurt.
Tip: If you do love running, you’re in luck because it’s the perfect post-work fitness activity during which you can run off all the workday stresses.
Get outside with a pet.
Do you have a dog (or other type of outdoor pet? Maybe a rabbit on a leash?) that wants to get out and run with you? Playing with a dog, especially if throwing a ball or bone around will leave you both panting, is definitely a home workout for working from home!
Use a jump rope to get your heart rate up between meetings.
Dan really likes jumping rope with his speed rope Affiliate link as a way of getting some cardio in before or after a run.
Having a jump rope or speed rope Affiliate link is a great way you can get your jumps in and get your heart rate up with this minimal type of at-home gym equipment that stows away in any drawer and can come with you on a trip.
Take some time to meditate with an app.
While you may not consider meditation a type of fitness, consider that meditation is a way of ‘getting ready’ for exercise or activity. Lucky for you, when you are a ‘home worker’ or remote worker, you likely have a quiet space in which you can meditate freely.
Many experts are now claiming that meditation is in fact important for workouts, being that meditation can be a mood booster, can keep you being mindful (and therefore less prone to injury or overstepping your own boundaries) and is even a type of ‘mental fitness.’
Even if you don’t engage in meditation regularly, or if you don’t think it will help your at-home fitness routine, meditation is a way in which you can learn how to work from home comfortably and mindfully.
Tip: Lots of apps can help you meditate, and many people will recommend Headspace or Calm for app meditation at home or on the go.
Vacuum the floor, or scrub your bathtub (seriously).
Have you considered that chores can be ways to work out? While they may not constitute the calories burned in an entire Crossfit class like the ones Dan would take while we were traveling and working remotely, doing chores gets you off your chair and engaging in moving around.
The last time I cleaned our bathroom, I remember commenting that I got winded while repeatedly scrubbing the sides of the tub and the walls. This type of chore isn’t for the faint of heart!
Similarly, vacuuming various rooms in a house is also physical activity, and if you’re working from home for the day, don’t discount that this could be your work-from-home exercise while you’re taking a break.
Fun fact: you could actually burn around 100 calories if you’re vacuuming carpets non-stop for 30 minutes. And, bring your phone in your pocket or wear a FitBit Affiliate link, because you may be surprised how many steps you were able to clock in.
Climb steps, whether in your house, apartment building or local park.
If you miss your stair-climber at your gym, there’s good news (unless you live in a one-floor home, I suppose): you can find stairs in lots of places, and all you have to do is climb them.
If you live in an apartment building or multiple-story house, plug in a podcast and see how many flights you can climb, while running, for a fast-paced raise-your-heart-rate home workout.
Then, get your heart-rate back down by taking a breather so that you’re not panting by the time your next meeting rolls around.
Try on-demand workouts like Beachbody, with world-class trainers, all from home.
For anyone who wants an on-demand work-from-home fitness routine, you can consider a Beachbody workout, without leaving your living room or basement.
The pros of an on-demand workout like Beachbody are a lost list of benefits, according to our fitness coach friends Alex and Ryan of Duo Life, who told us a Beachbody on-demand workout is totally worth it, especially if you work from home or remotely.
Alex and Ryan calculated that Beachbody comes out to $8.25 per month (if you buy a $99 annual plan), and this equates to $0.41 per workout, if you’re working out from home five times a week.
For more about Beachbody as your work-from-home fitness routine of choice, see Alex and Ryan’s Beachbody guide.
Try a resistance bands workout routine and find resources to start.
Resistance bands Affiliate link can be part of your home gym, or can stand alone as your work-at-home workout plan. What’s great is that they take up barely any space and provide tons of flexibility in how to use them for working out from home.
Adopt a partner workout routine, complete with push-ups, planks and squats.
Did you know that you can do an entire workout routine when you work from home, and you can even have it down pat with a partner?
Alex and Ryan developed this awesome at-home workout routine for couples or roommates, and dare we say it is “home workout goals?”
Involve every part of the body by taking this recommended routine of squats, dips, planks and burpee push-ups. This could be a crucial fitness component of working from home with a partner or roommate.
Learn partner yoga poses for strength and balance.
For anyone who works from home with a partner or spouse, or any couple who tends to work out at the same time, consider partner yoga poses.
If you want a dose of ‘wow,’ you’ve got to see our friends Alex and Ryan’s guide to at-home couples yoga poses.
For couples or roommates who work from home, this is the perfect way to require very little equipment, if any, and to grow closer while working on core strength and balance.
You don’t have to be a professional yogi or even past beginner level to enjoy at-home yoga with a partner or buddy after a long day of working from home.
Some of the suggested poses in Alex and Ryan’s guide consist of individual poses that link each partner by hand for stability. The more advanced poses involve more challenging aspects like partner planking, the partner throne pose and the partner crow pose.
These are great goals to have!
It seems like you may be on a healthy lifestyle binge. Have you seen our tips for how to eat healthy when you work from home?
See the rest of our remote work tips, like how to stay connected to other real humans during work from home, and you’ll be golden.