It can be hard to establish an exercise routine when working from home – well, one we actually stick to, anyways. Working from home has given us extra time to complete chores, take on side projects, and enhance our skills. People are spending less time commuting every day, which has given us a new kind of flexibility in our schedules. But one part of our day hasn’t changed – and that’s our need to practice an everyday fitness routine.

We all know that regular physical activity keeps us fit. With more time to individualize our schedules, we may be under the impression that it gets easier to move around. But the reality for many of us is that finding the motivation to stay active is proving to be more difficult than we expected.

One of the biggest problems when working from home is sitting for long hours at your desk. According to research conducted by the WHO, 31% of individuals who are 15 years of age or older are physically inactive, and approximately 3.2 million deaths per year are attributed to this unhealthy behavior. The result of sitting all day poses a risk factor for cardio-metabolic disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and coronary artery disease. Exercise also improves mental health by reducing anxiety and elevating your mood. Here are some exercises that you can do while you’re sitting on your workstation or when you’re taking a break from work.

Chair exercises

1. Torso stretch

When sitting at your workstation, you can easily do torso stretches to energize yourself. It also helps you to maintain the correct posture. While sitting on the chair, intertwine your fingers and spread them upwards and backward repetitively. Repeat 5 – 10 times.

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2. Spinal twist

The spinal twist is a perfect stretch to soothe your tired back muscles from constantly sitting on the chair. First, sit straight with your feet flat on the floor and gently twist your torso on the axis. Stretch only to a comfortable point, making sure you don’t overstretch. Then repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Repeat for a minute or two.

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3. Chest opener

You need to slide a little on the edge of the chair and hold the backrest’s sides with your arms. Stretch your body as you clasp the backrest. Hold for a minute to feel a little looser and more open.

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4. Neck stretch

A neck stretch requires a combination of breathing and stretching at the same time. Keeping your back straight and feet flat on the floor, gently rotate your neck. Breathe in and out in sync as you move your neck. Continue for a minute or two to feel refreshed.

Indoor exercises

1. Squats

The best way to start a squat is to stand straight, keeping your legs facing forward with feet slightly turned out, and cross your arms. Now try and sit down without your hands’ support and stand up once you reach a full bend in your legs. Go for at least 10 reps, but keep at it if your stamina allows. Your aching muscles might be screaming at you in the first few days, but keep going and you’ll soon get used to it! You might even find it fun…

2. Pushups

For beginners, pushups might seem a little difficult, but with continuous practice, you can get it right. Pushups are a bit like a plank without the lumbar support of your forearm. Push down with your palms on the floor to move upwards and then downwards, in sync with both hands. Go for 5-7 repetitions, and you can slowly increase on the number once you get comfortable. Pushups are useful for building your core strength, but if you’re struggling to get one, start on your knees and build up to straight legs.

3. Jump rope

Skipping is fun and involves motor skills, concentration, and body strength. In a way, it is an entire package for your body, mind, and soul. 10 -15 minutes is sufficient for a beginner (though it gets us sweating after just one minute!)

4. Dancing

Apart from rejuvenating your senses, dance helps you maintain good health when you’re not heading out. It’s time to turn up the volume and get your groove on!