Working from home

How to sneak in exercise when you work from home

If you work from home a lot or all the time, you may find you’re not able to fit in exercise as easily as first hoped. Some find it gives them more time to exercise and plan their day easily. But for others who work long hours, it may feel like another thing you need to squeeze in, while multi-tasking to your max already.

exercise when work from home

Perhaps you used to be disciplined about exercising on your work from home days, but with time, it’s fallen down your priorities. If you are keen to get back into the rhythm of a daily exercise routine, you need to find realistic methods you can stick to. Here are five ways you can sneak in exercise when you work from home.

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1. Get up and out early

The most effective way for me to squeeze exercise in, is to commit first thing. If I even hesitate and start scrolling on my phone or watching the news, I’m likely to miss the window. We all know how easily you can lose time on your phone or through other distractions. I’m half asleep when I put my workout gear on, but it’s the only way.

So before you sit down at your laptop and get pulled into other things, head out for a run or start your home workout. If it helps, lay your gear out the night before so it’s ready and waiting. I love how it feels to be done with exercise early in the morning and have the whole day ahead.

2. Use your lunch break

If you are not able to get moving fast in the morning, then you should make the most of your lunchtime. I’m actually not a morning person myself but my toddler forces me up! If you like a slower start in the morning, then a workout later on may work better for you. Like all things, you need to find your own personal best times for activities and work with that so you’ll stick with the habit. Sometimes toddler drama or an early morning meeting interfere with my plans, so I have to reluctantly postpone my workout.

Check out your local gym for lunchtime classes or to take a swim. If pushed for time on a busy day, at least take a brisk, scenic walk to the shops or park to squeeze in a little exercise. If you find you are at your optimum at lunchtime, you might find that’s a perfect regular slot for something more energetic. And if you’d like to start a running habit, read the post on starting or restarting running. If you prefer to work out at home, see the next tip.

3. Mix up your workouts for variety and challenge

There are so many amazing and free workout classes online, it’s almost overwhelming. There is something for everyone! If you are a beginner then try Grow with Jo. Jo shows you can workout in even a small space and I love her little dog! If you can handle something more challenging then try Caroline Girvan’s workouts. I can’t even match half the effort she puts in, but I love using weights and just modify as needed. If you’d prefer yoga then Yoga with Adriene has a varied selection of classes by length and ability.

I used to belong to a gym near my work and never used to like working out at home. When my office shut for good and there were no decent or affordable gyms near home, I had to open up to it. I can’t believe the quality and variety of free classes online. It does take more discipline to workout at home (no-one can see if you aren’t giving even close to 100%!). I make it more interesting with weights and accessories and use dumbbells or a kettlebell and a balance board.

You may prefer to go to a gym and work out among others. There is no replacing the spirit of a fun group class, or having a professional check you are performing the moves correctly and safely. However, if you find you are pushed for time (factoring in travel to the gym and back) it can be handy. Or if you want to experiment with different types classes or levels, go online from the comfort of your own home.

exercise when work from home

4. Keep moving during long meetings, if possible!

This may be a no-go for some of you and or slightly risky for others. But if you find yourself in lengthy all-staff meetings or sessions where you only have to listen rather than speak up, then consider multi-tasking. If you are on a zoom/teams call and can have your microphone and camera off, then it could be a good time to keep moving. But double check that mic and camera are off! It might not be the time to do anything too intensive. Simply walking or jogging on the spot would still be good exercise.

This will only work if you definitely don’t need to participate actively though. And make sure you have dressed appropriately. There’s a chance you might need to unexpectedly turn on your camera or speak up, so don’t be caught off guard. The other option would be to listen to the meeting/briefing via your phone and head out for a walk. This works well for informal catch ups with colleagues too, if you know you won’t need to take notes.

5. Find creative, alternative exercise when you work from home

Be creative around the home, as there are plenty of other ways to get moving. Gardening, vacuuming, cleaning etc. all count! If you use a step tracker like a fitbit, set the alert to remind you to move frequently. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see my steps or fat burning minutes achieved at home. And it can be just from doing the housework or clearing out leaves and weeds around my back patio.

There are other ways you can squeeze in exercise while you are working from home. Try sitting on a stability ball or balance board to work the abdominals as you type away. Remember to stretch while sat or standing. Set yourself a challenge of five minutes of yoga at a set time each day. There are lots of apps for your phone that promote quick bursts of exercise when it suits you.

So keep moving and finding different ways to fit in exercise when you work from home, so it doesn’t feel like a burden. Once you get into the groove, you’ll make it a daily habit. Read more about setting new habits and goals here and how to stay productive when working from home.

The information provided is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. This site is not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information.

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