Work From Home Exercises
Photo: Unsplash/ bruce mars
Lifestyle

6 Easy Exercises to Do While You Work From Home

When quarantine first started we (mostly) embraced the idea of working from home. There was a certain appeal to rolling out of bed, grabbing your laptop, and working from your couch. However, we didn’t think we’d be in quarantine for this long. It’s been about a year now and the good, bad, and ugly of being in quarantine are apparent but there’s no real end in sight so prioritizing mental and physical health is so important. The reality is sitting on the couch on your laptop for eight hours a day leads to major aches and pains in your neck and lower back. But the good news is there are ways to stay healthy and active while stuck inside and we’ve compiled some ideas to help keep moving.

Benefits of Movement

GIF via Giphy

Sitting at your desk or on your couch for long periods of time can obviously cause long term complications for your back and neck. The lack of physical activity doesn’t just affect your health, but it can also affects your work performance. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more than 50 percent of employees said their work performance and ability to deal with stress increased with exercise. It’s always a good idea to take a break and clear your mind.

Schedule Physical Activity Into Your Day

GIF via Giphy

How many of us are guilty of making plans to workout but never actually do it? Just as you would schedule your workload and meetings, you should schedule a time for movement. Blocking out time away from your desk means that you are more likely to do it. Play around with different times of the day and see what works best for you. A few exercises coupled with a couple of laps around your living room every hour are enough to prevent those negative affects of sitting all day. Some advice? Set a timer to dedicate four minutes (yes, four minutes) of every hour to getting out of that chair and moving. By the end of your work day, you’ll have done thirty minutes of exercise.

Take A Walk

GIF via Giphy

One of the easiest moves to put on your list is a walk. Try a lap around your living room, up and down your stairs, or stroll around the block. Arrange an active meeting via Zoom in between regular meetings to make it a group effort. Instead of sitting down and listening to your coworkers complain, do it while you’re walking. A study found that walking boosts creative inspiration, so get up, take a walk, and show your supervisor how creative you can really be.

Squats

GIF via Giphy

Squats are great for opening up your hips, strengthening your core, and working your glutes. Before you start your squats, you should get in proper squat position. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart with your feet turned out slightly. Keep your chest up as you start to lower down. Once the back of your thighs are parallel to the floor begin to move back to standing, driving right through your heels. This will fire up your hamstrings and booty. If you do ten squats every hour, you’ll have completed eighty squats in one work day!

Planks

GIF via Giphy

Planks aren’t just for your abs, they actually work the entire body. Most importantly, they improve your posture, something we all need from sitting all day. To hold a proper plank, make sure your hands are directly below your shoulders and your feet are hip-width apart. Your back should be flat and your head and neck in a neutral position. Once you are in the hold, squeeze your quads, glutes, and core.

Cat/Cow

GIF via Giphy

Cat/Cows aren’t just for yogis and you can do them anywhere, seated, standing, or on the floor. There are multiple benefits to cat/cows: improves posture, strengthens and stretches your spine and neck, and relieves stress and calms the mind. If you want to do the classic cat cow start on your hands and knees in tabletop position. Align your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Curl your toes under and inhale as you arch your back and gaze up for cow pose. Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin in towards your chest for cat pose. Repeat this movement for about ten seconds. If you are seated or standing it would be the same movement of the upper body but keeping your hands on your hips and feet hip-width distance apart.

Relieving Neck Tension

GIF via Giphy

Getting rid of some of that tension that has accumulated in your neck from hours of sitting down has got to be one of the best feelings in the world. Stretching out your neck will also allow you to avoid any headaches or neck pain later in the evening. All you have to do is drop your chin toward your chest to start then roll your head around, bringing your ear to your shoulder. Make sure to roll in both directions. Now don’t be alarmed when you hear cracking sounds coming from your neck. Your neck joint has little capsules and when they bubble up with oxygen molecules, they are somewhat constrained. So when you do your head rolls these bubbles are released and make a popping or cracking sound.

Wrist Stretches

GIF via Giphy

Wrist stretches are particularly useful for people who use a computer a lot. Stretching the wrists will help you relieve and avoid wrist pain and other more serious conditions, such as arthritis, in the future. Some ideas would be to lift your palms, stretch your arms, roll out your wrists, wiggle your fingers, press your palms together, and even use water bottles as weights.

It’s Not Just About Exercise

GIF via Giphy

Although it’s sort of a plus that you don’t have office snacks tempting you at your desk, you still have your kitchen right at your fingertips. Avoiding unhealthy snacks at home starts at the grocery store. Make a list of healthy snacks and lunches for the week, that way you’ll have no other choice than to eat healthy. Also, drinking plenty of water is a must. Buy one of those water bottles that comes with a hydration tracker on the bottle itself or get a regular 20 oz. one and slap on a motivation sticker. Leaving that bottle near your workspace is a visual way to keep you on top of your water intake.