Due to the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, life looks very different for most of us than it did in the past. This is especially true for office workers, who are no longer reporting to the office from 9–5, attending in-person meetings, or even going down the block for a quick coffee break with a coworker. Instead, we’re attending Zoom meetings in our pajamas, hoping our WiFi doesn’t crash, and maybe leaving the house for a quick coffee run during a slow day. That’s why it’s essential to stay healthy while working from home.
All of this change is also affecting our exercise and fitness levels, which experts warn could lead to a rise in sedentary behavior. This comes with its own variety of health risks.
Stay healthy while working from home
Never fear: there’s a way to get in your daily stretches and physical activity without having to leave your desk. There are a number of different resistance training, aerobic, and stretching exercises you can do while you work or during a meeting to help keep you healthy and even increase your productivity on a day where you need an extra kick of motivation.
This type of exercise is generally associated with kettlebells, resistance bands, or dumbbells, but most types of resistance training can be completed using just your body weight without the need for fancy equipment. To help you build muscle while you work on a spreadsheet or attend a presentation by a coworker, try leg raises under your desk. SImply sit straight up, then extend your legs so they are parallel to the floor. Hold that pose for 10 seconds, then lower your legs. Repeat this up to 15 times for a good workout that you can complete from anywhere.
If you don’t have time during the day to go for a quick walk or jog, there are other ways to get in a cardio or aerobic workout from the comfort of your home office. One easy favorite is jumping jacks, which you can do during a cameras-off meeting or when you need a quick way to get your blood pumping. Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides, then jump your feet out to form an inverted-V shape and raise your arms over your head. Jump back into the starting pose, then repeat up to 30 times for a great workout that will energize you when a midday cup of coffee fails to do the job.
Many office workers complain of the same ailments — “tech neck” from hunching over a computer all day, sore hands and fingers from typing for 8 hours, and a cramped behind from sitting all day. Incorporating stretches into your workday can help alleviate some of these symptoms, and you don’t even need to turn yourself on mute to complete most of them. Try a neck stretch if you find your neck and upper back muscles contracting after a long day of staring at your laptop. Sit straight up, facing forward, then slowly turn your neck (but not your torso) to look over your shoulder. Hold for anywhere between 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Repeat as many times as necessary to help your neck feel better.
While working from home has changed many parts of our day-to-day routine, it doesn’t have to affect our fitness and productivity levels when there are so many healthy desk exercises you can complete. This visual from Everlywell lists 5 more exercises you can do from your desk, as well as the health and productivity benefits of caring for your body on a day-to-day basis.
This infographic was created by Everlywell.