How To Exercise While Working From Home

Anyone who doesn’t work from home would probably think that it’s really easy to fit exercise into your day. But the truth is, figuring out how to exercise while working from home is not as simple as it sounds.

Since 2020, there’s been a bunch of studies about working from home productivity. Apollo Technical shares a great roundup of all the stats but the main one that stands out to me here is that our productivity is up by 47% working from home.

Ultimately, this means we are working harder when we work from home. We take fewer breaks and we are more likely to put in overtime to get out work finished.

All of this means that we actually give ourselves less time in our working day to do anything apart from, well, work.

And this is why some of us struggle to stay active while working from home. Maybe we feel guilty taking longer breaks or maybe we want to start early and finish early, whatever it is, we’re not making the time.

So in this blog post, I want to share a few tips on you can fit exercise into your working day so you can increase your physical activity and your mental health. Yep, that’s right, the more you get your blood pumping the better your mental health will be, so there are multiple benefits here!

Set up a standing desk and under-desk treadmill

If you’ve read any of my other posts, this first tip will come as no surprise to you! This is how I exercise while working from home and it helped me lose 6lbs in the first 4 weeks I switched to this setup!

A lot of people advise standing desks to increase activity but actually, a standing desk alone doesn’t burn many more calories than a sitting desk. Although there are some health benefits of switching from sitting to standing while you work, it doesn’t elevate your heart rate or improve your cardiovascular health.

But when you add an under-desk treadmill into the mix, then you’re burning some serious calories while you work! Walking for increased lengths of time counts as cardio so this powerful combination will get your heart rate pumping and ensure you’re exercising as you work.

You can invest in a fancy treadmill desk (like Walkolution) if you want to go the whole hog or put together a simple and budget-friendly DIY treadmill desk like I have.

Try a high-intensity workout (HIIT) on your lunch break

The best HIIT workouts range from 15 to 30 minutes which makes them ideal for your lunch break or even before you start your working day.

HIIT workouts are high-intensity interval training workouts that typically don’t require too much equipment. They’re mostly cardio-based moves with occasional body weight exercises thrown in there to really increase the intensity.

You WILL sweat a lot from a HIIT workout so I recommend having a quick shower after if you’ve got any afternoon Zoom calls! Or if you decide to work out before you start work, do it before your shower in the morning so you’re fresh for your working day.

Even if you are working from home on your own, you’ll feel better for washing off that sweat!

You could choose to take online classes, or maybe take a longer break and go to an in-person class, or you can find plenty of free HIIT workouts on Youtube. Here are a few of my favorite Youtube channels that post HIIT workouts:

Start your day by stretching your body

Yoga is an amazing way to start your day. I urge you to give it a try for yourself to see the benefits because the way you feel after a good morning stretch just can’t be explained properly with words!

Now it’s worth noting that if you’re looking to lose weight while working from home, yoga won’t give you as immediate results as HIIT or walking while you work. Yoga is more about strength training and over time, as your strength improves, you will notice a big difference in your body’s shape.

You’ll also improve your flexibility and be able to take on more advanced yoga moves which will increase your calories burned from yoga.

There’s only one Youtube channel I would ever recommend for yoga and it’s Yogs With Adriene. I followed Adriene’s video when we had to stay home in 2020 and the combination of yoga and Adriene’s calming tone was exactly what I needed in my practice!

Schedule a run into your work diary

It’s really easy to look at your working day and think “I don’t have any time today” but what if you treated your workouts like they were an important task in your working day?

By prioritizing exercise while working from home you are way more likely to succeed.

You could technically do this with any workouts mentioned in this list but going for a run is one of the best ways to raise your heart rate, boost endorphins and burn calories. It’s the ultimate cardio exercise routine and one of the simplest to do. No fancy equipment is needed, just your sneakers and 15-20 minutes out of your day.

In 2020, I used to bring forward my working day so I started an hour earlier. The first thing I would do is go for a 30-minute run. Then I could come home, shower, and get ready for my “real working day” to start at the usual time. It’s all about doing what works for you to fit in that exercise!

Mop the floor or scrub your tub

Maybe it’s just me but I am always balancing my time between housework and my actual work. To combat this, whenever I go downstairs for a coffee I take the time to complete a couple of chores.

This is pretty low effort on my part and not part of my own fitness routine but imagine if you scheduled out 30 minutes every day to take on the physical chores that you usually do once they are well overdue?

Using this method, you can forget spending every weekend cleaning the house and instead fit your cleaning into short 30 minute bursts throughout the week, meaning your house is cleaner and you’ve moved your body more. A win-win at it’s best!

Set a “move!” timer

You can set this up on most phones from the system clock settings, or if you’ve got a smart watch it may already do this for you (if you’re like me, you ignore it).

If you decide to set your own then all you have to do is a set a timer to go off at regular intervals and encourage you to get moving. You might decide to do some chores in that time, do a few squats or press-ups, or just go for a short walk around your neighborhood. Whatever you decide to do, the goal of the timer is to get you off your chair and moving your body at regular intervals throughout your working day.

Walk during phone calls

This one is harder to do if you have to take part in lots of Zoom calls but if your company are happy to let you take regular phone calls instead then you can use every phone call as an opportunity to move your feet.

Even if you are just pacing the house, you will be amazed at how many steps you can rack up if you are walking for the entire phone call. You’ll also feel a lot more energised when you return to your desk!

The goal here is to be realistic. If you don’t take multiple phone calls every day then this won’t be a good strategy for you. But if you find you spend half your working day on the phone with your team or clients then this is a great way to add light cardio into your day without giving it too much thought.

Working From Home Workouts Roundup

I feel like we’ve covered a lot of ground here! With these tips, I’ve tried to vary them as much as possible to suit your own home and work setup so that you can find at least one to fit into your daily routine.

You and I both know it’s hard to stay active when working and there’s no quick fix or hack here but I am confident you can find the right solution to lose weight, build strength, improve your cardiovascular health or whatever else you may have on your goals list!

As long as you are moving, you will be having a positive impact on your body!