Keeping your physical health game on point is critical when you work from home. Let’s face it, it can get really easy to just… not leave your house, ever, especially now with the everything that’s happening.
Walking and running, though great, may not be sustainable fitness plans. Improving your physical health also has a huge impact on your mental health, which we could all use a boost for right now. Luckily, whether you are a languishing gym rat whose fitness routine has fallen to pieces or just getting into getting in shape, it is very easy to work out at home.
Make a Plan
The government-recommended minimum amount of exercise time for healthy adults is 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” physical activity a week. That’s two and a half hours, which people with free time and great stamina seem to typically break into 30-minute chunks five days a week.
If you think that seems like a lot of exercise at once, you’ll be happy to know that doing a few 10-15 minute workout sessions a day have equal (if not greater!) health benefits to doing it all in one go. You’re also much more likely to keep up with working out if you do shorter sessions 2-5 times a day, especially if you are not already a working-out type of person.
If you’re super busy or, like me, lose track of time easily, schedule your workouts into your day like you would a business meeting or a livestream sesh. Another great way to make sure you stick to your exercise plan is the good ol’-fashioned buddy system — when you have a friend to help keep you accountable it’s harder to brush off your workouts.
The first and most important step in planning a workout routine is determining your fitness goals. Are you trying to gain muscle, increase flexibility or stamina, or just maintain overall health? (Or shed fat — you really don’t need to, I promise, but if you want to, you should make sure you’re clear on your goals for that, too.) Do some research and determine what the best kinds if exercises are for accomplishing your goals, and figure out how you want to incorporate them into your exercise plan.
Do the Thing
With all that set-up out of the way, now we can finally get into the actual exercising part!
First and foremost, make sure you research and then use good form for each exercise when you work out. It’s always better to do fewer reps better than cram more into the same amount of time but damage your body. Please be aware of your own limits, too. Pushing yourself too far too fast will hurt, not help.
Incorporate a variety of types of exercise into your routine. Aerobic exercises (anything that increases heart rate) strengthen your heart and lungs, improves symptoms of some chronic illnesses, and boosts fat loss. Balance exercises are low impact, and help strengthen your core, legs and your money-making glutes. Strength training includes weightlifting and bodyweight exercises. Both increase strength and muscle mass, especially for the upper body, and bodyweight also improves flexibility.
Here are some specific, basic, no-equipment exercises to start with:
- climbing stairs
- jumping jacks
- walk-run-walk intervals
- static wall-sits
- horse stance
- single-leg balance
- tai chi
- biceps curls
- triceps dips
- push-ups (arms & shoulders, chest)
- mountain climbers (arms & shoulders, core)
- planks (core)
- flutter kicks (core)
- squats (legs, pelvis zone)
- burpees (full body)
Even just standing instead of sitting when working at the computer and maintaining good posture when you do sit, burns calories and strengthens your body. If you’re not used to a lot of physical activity, start slow. Most exercises can be adapted to be easier on your body if your muscles aren’t strong enough yet, and you can add more reps to each set to increase stamina and keep progressing while you build that strength.
Wear good shoes when you do high-impact workouts. Have fun. Eat well, stay hydrated. Rest when your body needs it. Remember that fitness is very personal and you know your own body and needs best, so — as always — do your research, and make sure your workout works for you.
Monday Lovelace is a queer Black writer and graphic designer out of the Pacific Northwest. They’re out here to live their best life and help others do the same. Contact Lovelace via firstname.lastname@example.org.