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Even the most extroverted of us can become homebodies (thanks, COVID-19). With many of our personal and work lives now happening in the comfort of our homes, it’s easy to find ourselves succumbing to the couch’s call. So, what are the best ways to stay active at home all day long?
Fret not! Whether you’re working from home or simply living your best quarantine life, we’ve got you covered with a variety of fun and easy ways to keep yourself up and at ‘em when you’re homebound.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should get in a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That may seem like a daunting number, but if you break it down, it comes out to an easy 30 minutes a day over 5 days each week.
It’s important to stay active, especially when a big chunk of your day may be spent sitting at a desk (or kitchen table…or couch…). Besides keeping fit, regular physical activity can benefit you in a bunch of ways, including:
- improving brain health
- maintaining or losing weight
- strengthening muscles
- boosting your immune system
1. Walk it out
Whether outside or around the house, walking is a great way to get your body moving. You’ve likely heard of (or you already participate in!) counting daily steps, which is a great way to track that you’re walking (or running, or moving around) enough each day.
How many steps do you need? According to a 2011 study, healthy adults took between 4,000 and 18,000 daily steps. Using these findings, you should aim for the sweet spot of 10,000 steps each day (or about 5 miles).
Set a timer on your phone to get moving a few times a day, or schedule a morning or afternoon walk to break up the day.
2. Get a dog
We’re not saying just go out and get a dog RN, but if you’ve already been thinking about getting a dog, it can really help your activity level.
Being active is essential for any pooch, and having a dog ensures that you’re active, too.
Whether you’re taking them for a walk, chasing them around the yard, or simply trying to dodge them when they’ve got the zoomies, dog ownership can help you be accountable for you and your furry friend’s activity time.
3. Clean it all up
Activities like scrubbing the tub or vacuuming the living room are great for working out your arms, and doing the dishes or dusting your house keeps you upright and on the move.
4. Cook up some moves
Whip yourself into a physical frenzy in the kitchen as you make your meals! Let yourself flit around the room as you gather ingredients, hold your stretch as you reach for items on higher shelves, or do simple squats or stretches as you wait for water to boil on the stove.
To make it even more fun, turn up the tunes to inspire your movements as you cook.
5. Dance, dance
Whether you’re shaking it off or shaking it like a polaroid picture, getting in a groove sesh is great for your body AND your mind. Dancing gives you an endorphin boost, making you feel happier and healthier.
So, crank up the volume and unleash your inner dancing queen (or king)! Not a dancer? Try these simple moves to get started.
6. Make the most of TV time
Let’s face it: we live in an age of endless TV content, all available with the simple click of a remote or swipe of a finger. Rather than being a couch potato as you wait for Netflix to ask if you’re still watching, workout as you watch.
If you’ve got some sort of exercise machine (like a spin bike, a treadmill, or an elliptical), park it in front of the telly and hop on as you start the latest episode. Or set up a mat in your living room and get your stretch on or do some resistance or bodyweight exercises as you binge.
7. Get moving with a podcast or audiobook
Love listening to a good podcast or audiobook? Exercise or do some kind of physical activity while you listen!
Why not take a walk or run around the block as you crack the case with your fave true crime podcasters, or do some gentle stretching or yoga while you listen to the latest book of the month selection.
8. Resistance exercises
Resistance exercises pack a great punch with a simple piece of equipment: a resistance band. There are a variety of moves you can do with a resistance band that can help work the muscles in different key parts of your body.
9. Sneak in some cardio
At-home cardio workouts can help get your heart pumping and oxygen flowing, helping you stay healthy and get moving.
Take the stairs. An easy way to sneak in cardio is going up and down the stairs.
Pilates isn’t just for the studio, it’s a great bodyweight exercise you can do at home. And, you actually don’t need fancy gym equipment to get in a good pilates workout right in your own home. Pilates is a great way to improve your posture and flexibility, build strength, and work on your balance.
If you’re already in your yoga pants, why not do some yoga. Yoga is great for both your mind and your body. Not only can it help relieve stress and anxiety, but yoga can also help improve flexibility and ease back pain from sitting all day erry day.
12. Stretch it out
Stretching is helpful in keeping your body feeling good, especially if you’re hunched over a computer for hours on end each day.
Incorporating some simple stretches into both your wake-up and wind down routines can help you avoid sore, stiff muscles and joints, as well as improve flexibility.
13. Laundry squats
If you have a top-loading washing machine, set your laundry basket on the floor and squat down as you pick an item out of it and go back up to put the time into the washer. For a front-loader, put the basket on top of the machine and squat down with every item you put in.
14. Stand up while folding laundry
Once the laundry’s done, don’t plop yourself down on the couch, bed, or cozy chair to fold it all up. Instead, do your folding and sorting while standing up. This will help your posture and keep you from becoming too sedentary (while you sneak in a few steps).
15. Garden on the move
Unleash your inner green thumb and plant a garden. Whether you decide to plant flowers or food, tending to your garden takes a lot of physical effort. From bending, stooping, digging, and upkeep, you’re sure to work up a sweat as you make your garden grow.
16. Bang it out
Not only is sex a great workout, but it can also help relieve stress, banish headaches, ward off illness, and help you get better sleep.
17. Workout in bed
We’ve all had those moments when the alarm goes off and getting out of bed is the last thing we want to do… especially when we’re facing an early a.m. workout.
So, why not stay nestled under the covers a little longer and do good for your body and mind by exercising in bed? That’s right, you heard us right: there are many exercises you can do without having to leave your bed or change from your PJs.
18. Work it while you read
Wall sits may sound easy, but they’re anything but, and you’ll feel the burn long before you finish that next chapter.
Or, hop on a stationary bike or treadmill while you read!
When you’re living that work from home life, it’s easy to get hung up in front of your computer long after the typical 9 to 5 grind is done. Try some of these tips and tricks to keep yourself active specifically while you work:
1. Walk during calls
Unlike those in-person meetings when you’re seated, a conference call or phone one-on-one (where you don’t have to be on camera) gives you the opportunity to be up and about. Use your call time to work toward those 10,000 daily steps.
Feeling like a rebel? Turn off your camera during that next Zoom meeting (if you can), pop in some wireless headphones, and get on your feet as you connect with your colleagues.
2. Don’t sit, stand!
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to poor posture, back pain, and even a flat butt. Standing at your desk is a great way to combat these negative effects. You can invest in one of the many standing desks available or DIY your own with cleverly stacked boxes or crates.
3. Feel free to fidget
While shifting in your seat too often at the office may disturb your office mates, fidgeting as you work at home is A-OK (trust us, your dog won’t mind). Tap your feet, swing your legs, fidget to your hearts desire.
You can also get your fit on by doing a simple workout right at your desk.
The more you move around, even in your seat, the closer you get to your active #Goals.
4. Lunch and lunge
Make lunchtime about more than just food (though the food is always the best part, amiright?). Eat while standing or do some squats or lunges between bites.
Use that extra time between finishing your meal and having to log back in to get in some quick cardio: do some jumping jacks, get in a stair workout, or jump rope in the driveway or yard.
5. Set reminder alarms
It’s easy to get caught up in your work for hours on end. Before you know it, 5 p.m. rolls around and you haven’t moved from your computer screen all day. To break up the monotony and ensure you don’t become too sedentary, set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to get up and move around.
Create a block schedule of times you need to focus on work or meetings, and then set an alarm at least once every 2 hours to get up and move.
The alarm can go off as often as you want based on your work schedule (you don’t want your alarm to go off during an important Zoom conference!).
6. Under desk mini pedal machines
Tiny things are all the rage: tiny homes, tiny dogs, and even tiny workout machines. Miniature versions of ellipticals, cycle pedals, and steppers are available that all conveniently fit under a desk.
If you’re able to invest in one of these mini movement marvels, they’re an easy way to keep your legs active while the rest of you focuses on spreadsheets and video calls.
7. Try an exercise ball chair
Yoga ball chairs are another trend that can help add a little bounce to your WFH time. While not recommended for everyone, it’s a great alternative for those moments when you need to be seated.
These chairs are especially great for those who are pregnant, who are postpartum, or who have hemorrhoids.
Falling into the trap of an inactive lifestyle can lead to a slew of negative side effects.
Signs that you’re not moving enough (and should start moving more asap!) include:
- pain in your back, shoulders, or legs
- feeling fatigued
- experiencing increased stress
- trouble sleeping
- digestive issues
We’re all in our homes a bit more these days, which makes it easy to fall into a more physically relaxed lifestyle. To combat the negative effects of becoming too sedentary, it’s important to incorporate physical activities into our daily routines.
There are a wide variety of easy ways to do this, whether you’re in the middle of your WFH day or enjoying personal time.
Not only is it important to keep moving for your physical health, but staying active can also help curb anxiety and stress.