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Move your own way: How to stick to a workout routine at home or the office

April 21, 2022

It’s no surprise that the mental and physical benefits of regular exercise are practically endless — it’s one of the most important things you can do for your whole health. If you find that exercise sometimes slips to the bottom of a long to-do list, you’re not alone — but help is here. With many convenient and creative ways to work out at home or in the office these days, you don’t need a gym membership or any special equipment to squeeze in time to sweat. Set yourself up for success sticking to a home or office workout routine with these useful tips.

Build a routine

Like your morning shower or afternoon lunch break, exercise can become a part of your day that feels like second nature. Find where workouts fit in best: Are you a morning person? Consider heading to bed a bit sooner so you can start your day 30 minutes earlier with an at-home workout. If you’re looking to build exercise into the workday, block it off on your calendar ahead of time to avoid distractions. You could try taking a longer lunch break, or if short breaks work better, book a few 10-minute time slots. Committing to a routine is the first and most important step in making fitness a priority, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best with your schedule.

Dress the part

One of the simplest ways to find extra motivation to move is probably already in your closet: your workout clothes. If you work from home or have a flexible dress code at the office, starting the day with the right gear can have big benefits. When you put on comfortable gym shoes or walking pants first thing in the morning, you’re kicking things off with the mindset that you’re ready to work out — and you’ll be geared up to go anytime. 

Embrace multitasking

It’s no secret that a great playlist can keep you motivated during a workout, but you don’t have to stick to only music. Try combining your sweat sessions with work or entertainment to make you productive or keep you focused:

-   Go mobile at work: If your workday is full of meetings, try taking any that don’t require you to be in front of a computer on a wireless headset. Use the time away from the screen to do some simple stretches or take a walk around the block or the office. Combining two tasks will give you more free time later.
-   Dive into a new podcast or TV series: Set aside a good show to stream only while you’re exercising. When you have something to look forward to besides the workout itself, the time might fly by. 

Find a workout buddy

Chances are you have a neighbor or colleague who is interested in finding creative ways to exercise, too. Ask around! Finding the right workout buddy can be a powerful motivator. You can take turns picking walking routes or exercise types, which can be a healthy way to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Look for someone who makes you feel positive and uplifted, and has a similar schedule, commitment, and goals.

Set realistic goals

Everyone’s workout habits and goals look different, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself and start by reaching for small, achievable goals, like exercising a certain number of times a week or walking an extra block instead of watching numbers on the scale. As long as you’re consistently moving your body, know you’re doing your physical and mental health a huge favor. Chances are, you’ll start noticing the benefits before you know it, and you might find a new favorite hobby along the way.

Do something you enjoy

It’s much easier to make exercise a regular part of your life when it doesn’t feel like a chore. Don’t be discouraged if you try a few different types of exercise before you land on something you truly like. Whether you’re looking for at-home workouts or exercises you can do at the office, there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping:

-   Bike or walk around your workplace or neighborhood
-   Do simple strength and stretching exercises (see below for examples)
-   Stream online workout classes, like yoga, kickboxing, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
-   Dance to your favorite music
-   Take a few trips up and down the stairs

Whatever you choose, you should aim for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five days a week, for a total of around two and a half hours of exercise a week.   

Four simple exercises you can do at work or home

You can do these straightforward exercises anywhere you have a little extra space — no special equipment required. For each exercise you choose, aim to repeat it at least 10 times

Workout at Home Office Simple exercises

For more ideas, refer to the American Heart Association’s 7-Minute Workout Anywhere guide.

Always talk to your doctor before starting any new kind of exercise regimen.

American Heart Association:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Cleveland Clinic:
National Academy of Sports Medicine: