COVID-19 has interrupted many parts of our everyday life, especially for office workers. Instead of working in an office with your coworkers from 9–5, you’re attending Zoom calls in your pajamas and hoping your WiFi doesn’t crash. Many aspects of life have changed for those used to going into work every day, including our exercise and fitness routines.
Considering we’re leaving our houses less and not getting up to race to a meeting or down the street for a quick coffee break, it’s no secret that we’re getting less and less exercise than ever. Experts warn that these effects of the pandemic could lead to a rise in sedentary behavior, which can have some serious side effects — including heart disease and other health risks.
Luckily, there are a number of exercises you can do from your work-from-home desk to stay active and alert throughout the day, especially if your day is too busy to sneak in a quick walk or jog around the block.
Though it may seem like the only exercises you can do from home or your desk are simple ones, there are a number of ways to get creative with exercising as you work or attending a meeting that, let’s face it, could have been an email.
This type of strength training is typically associated with lots of fancy equipment like kettlebells or resistance bands, but you an build up strength using just your body weight — like leg lifts, which are easy to do from your desk. Sit straight up in a chair and extend your legs forward so they are parallel to the ground, then hold that pose for 10 seconds. Repeat up to 15 times for an easy way to get some movement in throughout the work day!
Aerobic exercises are a type of cardio conditioning that aim to get your heart rate up.The most popular forms of this are dancing, running, or walking, though you can also add in some jumping jacks to get you up from your desk chair on a slow day and get your blood pumping. Start by standing with your feet together and arms by your sides, then quickly raise your arms above your head while jumping your feet out to form an inverted-V shape with your legs. Jump back into the starting position and repeat 15–30 times for a quick cardio workout to break up a long assignment.
Working over a computer all day likely means your neck and back hurt and fingers cramp, though they don’t have to. Stretching throughout the day can help keep you agile and improve your flexibility all over. One easy stretch that can be completed from your desk chair is the neck stretch, which is as easy as it sounds — simply sit straight up, turn your head to look over your shoulder without moving your torso, and hold for 20–30 seconds. Repeat 6–8 times on both sides for a quick stretch that will make even the 3 pm to 5 pm lag go by quickly.
No matter what kind of exercise or desk stretch you choose, there’s any number of ways you can stay healthy while at home. This visual from Everlywell explains the benefits of heart-healthy exercise and an explanation of resistance training, aerobic, and stretching exercises you can do while you work!
Graphic courtesy of everlywell.com