Easy ways to stay active while working from home

For many years, Americans have gotten more and more screen time and less physical activity. The COVID-19 pandemic brought more of the same, with many of us spending what feels like days on end in a string of virtual meetings. But the good news is: You can still find ways to stay active!

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most Americans didn’t get the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Experts recommend that most adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly, or a little over 20 minutes per day.

With many of us working jobs that require sitting in a chair in front of a computer for a good portion of the day, it can be difficult in the best of times to fit in enough physical activity.

These days, it can feel even more challenging—but if you’re struggling to keep fit or stay motivated to exercise, remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult! Sneak in little bits of movement throughout the day with these suggestions for working from home exercise:

  • Alternate between sitting and standing while you work. If you’re able to do so, try setting up your workspace in a way that allows you to work while standing. You’re more likely to be moving and active, at least slightly, while standing.
  • Set an hourly “movement” alarm. When the alarm sounds, leave your workspace for five minutes and get moving! Dancing, walking, or going up and down the stairs a few times are all easy exercises in quarantine. (This mini-break can serve an added purpose—letting your eyes rest and reset from so much time looking at the computer.)
  • Trade your chair for an exercise ball. Sitting on a large, inflated ball rather than a chair causes you to engage your core muscles while seated. You can also fit in more movement by lightly bouncing up and down while you work.
  • Try out a few chair exercises. Looking for stay at home exercises? You can do many easy moves from your desk! Arm circles, tricep dips, hip thrusts, and leg lifts can all be done from a chair—and you can even get in squats by standing up and then sitting almost back down in the chair, then returning to a standing position.
  • Take a walk. Your mind and body will benefit from a stroll around the neighborhood, but on days you can’t head outdoors, you can still get a walk in. Create a walking path in your house or apartment. Up and down the hallway and around the kitchen island may not feel like much, but you’ll be surprised by how many steps you’ll take.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what type of activity you choose, as long as it involves movement. Staying active while working from home doesn’t have to feel impossible—it’s as easy as finding small ways to fit movement into your days.