Work-from-home orders from employers across the globe have recently turned many people into remote workers. And with parks, beaches, and gyms closed in many areas due to the risk of COVID-19 spread, people need safe options to stay fit and healthy through solo workouts to avoid the risk of putting themselves in harm’s way.
Check out these creative indoor exercise ideas for when you’re working from home—no treadmill or other exercise machines required.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you’re uncertain if an injury or other health condition would limit your ability to safely complete the following exercises.
Indoor Exercises You Can Do While Working from Home
The go-to for indoor cardiovascular workouts like walking, jogging, or running is generally a treadmill or elliptical machine. But when the gym is closed and you need to get in a cardio workout at home without equipment, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your goals with a simple approach: walking or jogging across the floor—incorporating flights of stairs if available—in your house or apartment building.
This type of workout is admittedly easier to do in a large residence than a small apartment or studio. But as long as you are able to move your body in a walking or running motion from room to room, you’ll get your heart rate up—and get your exercise in—without stepping out of your front door.
Whether you live in a one-room studio or a three-story family home, all you really need to do to get a walk or run in is to begin to walk or jog in your living space. Then keep it going for a set amount of time, just like you would when exercising on an outdoor course or treadmill. It may feel funny at first to pace back and forth across your studio apartment or jog laps around your loveseat. But really, if your exercise options are limited, your body is still reaping the benefits of exercise (minus the bonus of sunshine) when you do a walk and/or jog indoors.
Simply set your watch or timer for the amount of time you plan to work out—20-30 minutes is a good place to start. The name of the game is to simply keep moving by walking, jogging, or alternating a walk with a jog until you’ve completed the amount of time allotted. If you’re not up for jogging or running, then it’s perfectly fine and very healthy to make this a gentle, sustained walking workout.
Utilize Exercise Stations
If you already have a base of fitness from a regular gym habit or running routine and are looking for some additional challenge on an indoor workout, consider building in some “exercise stations” into your routine. This can be as basic as adding in five pushups every time you’ve jogged for five minutes, doing some calf raises on your staircase or front porch as you complete a circuit of your house, or if you have free weights, adding in a set of repetitions.
Indoor Obstacle Course
If you’ve got kids in the mix (or even a spouse or roommate who is eager to do some exercise with you), set up a makeshift obstacle course in your home to add some fun to everyone’s efforts. Just move pieces of furniture or other objects (safely) into your indoor walk or jog path, and have family members weave around them as they traverse the course.
If children are in the mix, have them take turns being the “leader” of the workout, deciding which room the group should run to or which obstacle to navigate around next.
Stair Heart-Rate Workout
It can be challenging to go fast when running indoors, especially in tight quarters. So, to boost the cardiovascular challenge, add in some treks up and down staircases if you have them in your house or on the property. Whether you have a flight of stairs down to a basement, connecting the floors of your house, or even an outdoor stairwell to enter your apartment or building, you’ve got a built-in opportunity for a more intense workout.
Just adding in periodic walks or jogs up and down stairs will boost your heart rate—and if you happen to have a heart-rate monitor, then you’ll have the right tool to prove it. Strap on your monitor before you start your indoor workout, and check this chart of target heart rates from the American Heart Association to gauge your target and maximum heart rate by age.
Yoga Stretch Breaks
In addition to your cardio workout, think about integrating some yoga and stretching into your work-from-home routine. Not only will this help unwind tense muscles, but you can pair the following stretches with the walk/jogs above as part of your exercise stations, and you can also try these out during your work day if you’ve spent too much time at your desk and feel sore or stiff from sitting too long.
Verywell Fit offers a number of stretches that you can do right from your desk to relieve tension:
Simply let your chin drop gently to your chest, then circle your neck slowly in one direction, and then the other.
An adaptation from yoga, this is a desk version of a pose that’s usually done on hands and knees. While seated in your desk chair, alternate between arching your back and looking up, then rounding your spine as your head drops forward.
Seated forward bend
Another converted yoga pose this is traditionally done while seated on the floor. In the desk version, you can interlace your fingers, push your chair back from your desk, and bend at your waist while bringing your hands up toward the ceiling.
Perfect to loosen tight arm, wrist, and hand muscles, bring your arms forward while crossing your left arm over your right. Work toward having your palms touch, lifting your elbows while moving your shoulders down. Then reverse, with your right arm crossing your left.
Maintaining an Exercise Routine While Working from Home
While an indoor walk or jog may not be your first choice for a blood-pumping workout, the fact is that some exercise is better than nothing. By being flexible about how you get your laps or miles in, you can achieve your fitness goals even during times when your choices for exercise are more limited.
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A version of this article was originally published October 15, 2016.
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Robin Madell has spent over two decades as a corporate writer, journalist, and communications consultant on business, leadership, career, health, finance, technology, and public-interest issues. She is a contributor to the On Careers section of U.S. News & World Report…Read More >
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