How to Stay Active While Working from Home During COVID-19

Working from home can be comfortable, but unless you exercise, it may not be healthy.

Being sedentary, and especially sitting for extended periods can compromise metabolic health, lead to high blood pressure, promote unhealthy weight gain, and increase the risk for life-threatening illnesses.

But even if your work requires you to spend many hours in front of the computer every day, you can still stay healthy at home. The key is having a home workout that you enjoy doing.

Why It's Important to Exercise

Our bodies look and feel at their best and are healthiest when we move.

A recent study that used data from 90,211 accelerometer users shows that the more physically active we are, the lower our risk of cardiovascular disease. The least active participants had a higher body mass index, smoked more, and were more likely to develop hypertension during the average 5.2 years follow-up.

Meanwhile, participants who exercised moderately were 71% less likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. This number further dropped to 59% for those who exercised vigorously, and 46% for those who exercised the most.

According to the World Health Organization, to stay healthy you should perform at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise every week. Ideally, you want to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Even if you can’t go to the gym or run through your favorite park, you can still stay active with a home workout.

Benefits of Exercise

Having a home workout can reduce your mortality risk from preventable causes. More than that, it can improve the quality of your life. Let’s zoom in on the benefits of exercise according to the Mayo Clinic.

Reduce Stress

A home workout can trigger the release of brain chemicals that reduce stress and anxiety and boost your mood. Regular exercise can also improve confidence.

Better Manage Weight

Whether you want to avoid putting on unwanted pounds or are trying to lose some, exercise can help. When you’re active, you burn more calories.

Intense workouts burn the most calories. Coupled with a healthy diet, a home workout makes it easier to keep your weight under control.

Sleep Better

Not getting to spend time in the sun and not being active during the day may affect your sleep. Facing a screen for hours every day and into the evening can make the problem worse.

According to this study, the COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on sleep health. More than a third of participants reported sleep disturbances. Also, more than a half went to bed later than before, and woke up later, too.

When you exercise at home during the day, you’re more likely to fall asleep. Your sleep quality can improve, too.

Improve Your Cardiovascular System

Home workouts can help improve your heart and lung health. By boosting your cardiovascular system’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues, workouts increase your energy. You’ll feel livelier and have more energy for doing the things you enjoy doing.

Improve Cognitive Function

In addition to helping prevent and better manage depression or anxiety, home workouts can increase your cognitive function. In other words, exercising regularly could enable you to perform your work-related tasks better and faster.

Work from Home Exercises You Should Try

So, home workouts are great for the body and mind, that much is clear. But how exactly do you get started?

home exercise equipment on red yoga mat

Doing exercises you enjoy is important since you’ll be more likely to stick with them. An exercise will only be effective if it’s enjoyable enough for you to want to keep doing it. It has to be challenging but not exhaustingly hard.

Combine these exercises with other activities to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Marching

Work your whole body with this simple exercise that requires no equipment.

  1. Stand tall. Your feet should be spaced so that they are placed on the floor under your shoulders.
  2. Lift one knee as high as you can. Don’t lean back.
  3. Lift the opposite arm straight in front.
  4. March in place, switching your legs and alternating arms.

Repetitions: 10 or more on each side.

Single-Leg Squats

Work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core muscles with this popular exercise. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Stand up and place one foot on your chair. The front heel of your other foot should be 2 feet away from your chair.
  2. Lower yourself to the ground. Your back knee should almost touch the ground.
  3. Return to the initial position.

Repetitions: 10 on each side.

Jumping Jacks

Here’s another effective full-body workout exercise you want to try.

  1. Stand with your arms at your sides. Your feet should be under your shoulders.
  2. Jump up, landing with your hands over your head and feet wider.
  3. Jump once more to return to the initial position.

Repetitions: At least 10 times.

Calf Raises

This simple exercise works your calves. It can get your blood flowing through your lower legs if you’ve been sitting down for more than half an hour.

  1. Stand up and hold your desk.
  2. Rise on your toes so that your heels don’t touch the floor.
  3. Maintain the position for a moment.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Repetitions: At least 10.

Desk Pushups

Is your desk getting in the way of space? Try some desk pushups to work your chest and triceps.

  1. Lean against your desk. Your arms should be straight and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Lower your body over the desk so that your chest almost touches it.
  3. Return to the initial position and repeat.

Repetitions: At least 10.

Seated Leg Extensions

This exercise works your quads or thigh muscles. They are some of the most powerful muscles in your body.

  1. Sit with your feet flat.
  2. Lift one leg straight in front so that it’s parallel with the floor.
  3. Hold the position for a second.
  4. Lower your leg back to the floor and repeat.

Repetitions: 10 for each leg.

How to Stay Active During Quarantine

Some exercises are good for strengthening your muscles and getting your blood flowing. But remember that to stay healthy, you need to keep moving. Here’s how to stay active while working from home.

  • Stand up regularly for a total of at least 2 hours every day. Using a standing desk can make this easier and helps with losing weight and boosts cognitive performance.
  • Don’t sit statically but alter your position frequently.
  • Engage in light activity around the house. Whether you take a break to vacuum, climb some steps, or simply walk around checking your inbox, it matters.
  • Make it a habit to stand up to write emails or answer the phone.
  • Place things on your desk or nearby shelves in such a way that you have to get up to reach them.
  • Get a treadmill or stationary bike and use it for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Track your daily steps. Set a goal and make sure you reach it every day by getting up from your desk.
  • Replace your desk chair with a bounce ball to encourage more seated movements and make getting up more easily. A bounce ball can also improve your back posture by making you sit straight.

In the end, remember that every movement counts. Making a conscious effort not to sit all day in front of a computer can keep you healthy.