Gym closings, social distancing guidelines, and the combined stress of managing both work and child care responsibilities can make it more difficult than ever to make time during the week to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise.
Physical fitness is a pillar of health and a key part of any successful wellness program. Regular exercise can protect your health by lowering the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and depression. It also provides mental health benefits that can boost well-being.
Here are some tips for getting small doses of exercise while you work from home:
- Exercise is better with friends. Even though practicing social distancing means that we can’t get together with a group of friends in person, our smartphones provide a way for us to connect. Set up a workout appointment with friends and colleagues.
- Make your next break a walking break. Take a walk outside or climb your stairs. You can make this social by setting up a friendly challenge with colleagues, friends, or family members, and see who can take the most steps a day.
- Strengthen your core. You can strengthen your core right at your desk by doing this simple exercise: take a deep breath and exhale; as you exhale, tighten your abs; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 8-10 times, and you’re on your way to a stronger core.
- Tone your legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly raise yourself up onto your toes. Then lower yourself back down. Try doing 10 right now!
- Consider standing for part of your workday. Why sit when you can stand and burn more calories? Standing helps you stay alert and gives you a chance to stretch.
- Squats are a great full-body exercise. They help you increase balance and strengthen muscles. Mini-challenge: Push your chair back, bend at the knees into a squat position and hold it while you write an entire email. Ready, set, go!
- Don’t forget to stretch! It helps relieve muscle tension, increases your range of motion and flexibility, and can even improve muscle coordination, blood flow, and energy levels. The National Institutes for Health has developed this guide on healthy stretches you can do while working.
Remember, starting a new exercise routine doesn’t have to be daunting. By incorporating a few, short exercises into the day, you can improve your mood and overall well-being.