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ACTIVE OFFICE, HOW TO 5 Minutes

5 Ways to Move More When Working From Home

by Rebekah Bell

With many brick-and-mortar businesses closed for the foreseeable future because of COVID-19, many employees are experiencing a steep learning curve as they adjust to working remotely. Between avoiding distractions, remaining connected to coworkers from afar, and caring for young children who are no longer in daycare or school, working from home in the current environment has a unique set of challenges. And, because many states have implemented shelter-in-place orders, most individuals can no longer go to the gym to keep up with their exercise routines or let off some much-needed steam. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get enough movement in when you’re working from home. Here are five ways to stay active—even when you’re cooped up in your home or apartment.

1. Walk and Talk

If you’re on a work phone call, walk back and forth in your apartment or house instead of just sitting down at your desk. If you have a backyard, schedule regular intervals throughout the day to pop outside. (Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can still soak up the sunshine on your patio or balcony.) You might also want to take a quick walk around your neighborhood during your lunch break to get some extra steps in. Getting some fresh air and enjoying a change of scenery can lift your mood and change your outlook on the day, so try to spend some time outside every day. 

2. Do Some Standing Exercises

When you pass through a doorway, make it a priority to stretch your arms above your head on the doorframe and rest in that position for a few seconds. Stretch your calves by getting into a half-kneeling pose and stretching your hips for at least 30 to 60 seconds. Once you’re ready to get your heart rate up, do two rounds of 30-second squats, pushups or jumping jacks. Remember to reframe your mindset: Movement doesn’t have to be limited to an hour-long class; it can and should happen throughout the day in a variety of ways.

3. Watch a Fitness Class

With many gyms and yoga studios across the U.S. closed, fitness instructors are starting to move their practices online with donation-based classes. Do some quick research online to find out if your local gym or studio is live streaming fitness classes or posting workout videos on YouTube. Participating in one of the classes is a great way to maintain your normal routine while supporting local businesses in the process.

4. Get the Whole Family Involved

If you have kids, help them stay active and let out their steam by having a dance party, building a fort, or playing sports. A quick walk around the block during your lunch break can give you and your kids some much-needed fresh air. You can even have the whole family participate in daily stretching exercises. Make it a priority to incorporate sitting stretches into your daily routine. Start with a neck stretch by bending your head toward your right shoulder while keeping your shoulders level. Next, reach up and over to place your right hand on the left side of your head and apply light pressure until you feel the stretch going down your neck and left shoulder. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch sides. Next, roll your shoulder blades back and forth in a circular motion for 20 to 30 seconds. Finally, stretch your spine by placing your left hand on your left knee and your right hand behind you. Twist your torso to the right, keeping your hips forward and shoulders down. Turn your head to look behind you and hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

5. Invest in a Standing Desk

If you’re going to invest in one piece of furniture to create a better home office, go for a standing desk. Health studies have repeatedly shown that those who sit for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity experience similar health risks as caused by obesity and smoking. However, an hour of moderately intense physical activity a day—as well as standing for regular periods throughout the day—can decrease those risks. So consider purchasing a standing desk converter (and a seat if you need a new one) so you can easily go back and forth between standing and sitting.

Although being home for extended periods of time can be mentally exhausting, staying mobile throughout the day will help keep you in good spirits and feeling better physically—so follow these simple steps to stay on the right track.