Now that many of us have been working from home, or simply staying at home, for over 6 weeks, it has sort of become our new normal. Honestly I think it is going to feel really weird to go out again and start doing things. In some ways, falling into this new routine is good if it means we are settling in and adjusting. For the first few weeks we didn’t necessarily know how long this would go on, so I think many people were not really thinking about creating sustainable routines. Now that we are further in, it’s become more important to create some good habits that will help us to stay mentally and physically healthy. That may include getting in your workout while working from home.
While everyone’s situation is different, I get the sense that many people will continue working from home even as stay at home orders are lifted. Especially if jobs can be done remotely. If you expect to continue working from home for a substantial period of time you may want to consider if and how you are getting your workouts in.
Challenges of Working Out While Working From Home
Working from home sounds nice until you think about all the logistics that are truly involved. Especially if you are adding kids and lack of childcare to the mix. It feels like everyone is a little extra stressed right now making communicating with coworkers virtually more challenging. Plus we are feeling trapped and uncertain. When I worked from home before COVID-19 it was a much different experience. It was only 1 day a week so I could plan out my weekly tasks so meetings could be done in person. Everyone was pretty much following a normal work schedule of 8:00-5:00 or so, other than the occasional late night E-mails. Now, we are all working from home and we are all working all hours of the day and night.
Other challenges may include not having access to a gym, no longer having a schedule or real routine, the walk to your “office” is likely just a few steps, and there may be a lack of motivation. It’s hard to care about fitness when you can (in some cases) wear your pajamas all day!
Ways to Get in a Workout While Working From Home
1. Create a schedule or routine
When working from home it’s easy to think “I’m home all day, I’ll find time to work out later”, but it likely won’t happen if you put it off. It can be very difficult to set boundaries while working from home so try to create a schedule or at least a routine. Try to go into the day with a clear plan of when you will start and stop working and when you will make time for your workout.
2. Get it done first thing in the morning
Ideally, try to get your workout done first thing in the morning. This should be easier to do without a commute to work. You will feel more energized and productive throughout the day, and you can check it off your “to-do” list before you even sit down to start working!
3. Take small movement breaks throughout the day
Getting in your scheduled workout is great, but it’s even better to continue moving throughout the day. While working in an office you are probably walking around to go to meetings or to talk to coworkers. At home you can be more creative because no one can see you (unless you are on a video call!) so find ways to move throughout the day. I end up sitting on the floor to work quite a bit (due to watching/playing with a toddler at the same time). It’s a good way to change up my position rather than sitting in a chair all day, and encourages a little bit of stretching as well.
4. Get out for a walk
If it was difficult to make time for a lunch break while at work, doing so at home is even harder. You are likely checking your E-mails or doing some sort of work while you are eating lunch, so try to take a few minutes at some point in the day to go outside for walk. You could even talk on the phone while you are walking, but better yet- try to put the electronics away for a few minutes and enjoy the fresh air.
5. Add it to your calendar
Once you decide when and how you will work out, add it to your work calendar. There are ways to make appointments “private” so your coworkers can’t see it, or you can just label it as something like “personal appointment”. However, you might as well allow them to see that you are making time to work out. Maybe you will inspire someone else to do the same!
6. Create a fitness area where you work
I’m not suggesting you create a home gym in your office (or wherever you work) but can you add a few things that will allow you to do some exercises when you have a few minutes? For example, a foam roller, an exercise ball, or a resistance band. You can even sit on the ball while you work for a core workout!
8. Try something different
Right now many workout apps are free, and many trainers are offering classes online. This is a great opportunity to try something that you have never done before. If you usually go to the gym and use the elliptical, this a great time to try a strength training class.
9. Find a way to hold yourself accountable
We don’t have races to train for, we’re not seeing anyone, and we don’t even need to wear real clothes most days. So it’s important to find ways to hold yourself accountable. This could be as simple as putting a check mark on your calendar each day that you work out. You could also decide to work towards another type of fitness goal.
10. Wear clothes you can exercise in
If you have the flexibility, you might as well wear comfortable clothes that are conducive to exercising in! This way whenever you have a chance you can get in your workout, or a least a few exercises. If you decide to work out first thing in the morning then get dressed in your workout clothes right when you wake up.
11. Walk around barefoot
This one seems weird, right? Well, think about all the strength you will get in your feet if you spend more time barefoot! Personally I am loving less time in shoes. To give your feet a little extra love you can roll them on a tennis ball while you work.
12. Stretch or walk during calls
If you don’t need to have your camera turned on, try to move around while you are on calls. Maybe you still need to be at your computer, but you could do a few stretches here and there to wake up your body.
13. Make it fun
If you are struggling to get in workouts while working from home, think of it as “playtime” for adults! Or better yet, get your kids involved. Sometimes a shift in our mindset can make a huge difference. Think of it as something you get to do, not something you have to do.
I’m sure there are lots of other ideas for workouts to do while working from home. Hopefully this list will get you on the right track if this is something you are struggling with!
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If you are working from home now, are you having a harder time fitting in your workouts?
Any other tips you would add to this list?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, Running on Happy and Organic Runner Mom to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.