Okay, so let’s go ahead and start with the truth bomb that all of us are already thinking. There are tons of things we should be doing to improve our health, like limiting our caffeine intake and hitting the gym for a couple hours every day. But let’s just be honest with ourselves: many of these probably aren’t going to happen for most of us, at least not on a consistent basis. If you have the time and discipline to keep up a solid exercise routine, all the more power to you.
For the rest of us, it’s much more about making a series of smaller, more manageable changes to our lives in an effort to move the needle on our health. I’ll just drink two cups of coffee a day instead of two carafes. And when it comes to finding the time to exercise, I know that I should be more active. Way more active. But I’m not. But I can choose to make smaller changes, endeavoring to integrate some micro exercises into my everyday routine as I work from home.
And so can you. Here are a few ideas.
Calf Raises While Brushing Your Teeth
It’s all about the little things, right? It would be unreasonable to perform any big motions while brushing your teeth; most of us don’t have that kind of coordination. So, start with something small, especially as you might still be a little groggy first thing in the morning (and/or last thing at night).
A good place to start is with calf raises. Basically, this just means standing in place, going on your tippy-toes, and then going back down again. Decide on a rep count that works best for you, but you can also decide on a pace that matches your desired tooth-brushing duration. Calf raises exercise several of the muscles in your lower leg.
Stair Climbs During Pomodoro Breaks
I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique, and it’s something I’ve stuck to using for a few years now. The basic premise, in case you’re not familiar, is that you take a 5-minute break every 25 minutes (on a timer). And then, you get a longer break (15 minutes, typically) after about four of these cycles. The forced break schedule helps you be more productive in the long run.
The idea is that during those breaks, you’re supposed to stop working. You can use one of several web apps to keep track of this for you. Instead of staying at your desk for those breaks, get up and walk around. A great choice would be to walk up and down the flight of stairs in your house (if you have stairs). Otherwise, you can choose to walk (speedwalk?) a lap to the kitchen and back or something.
Push-ups Before Your Shower
Just as you can get in a little bit of exercise as part of your daily dental hygiene routine, you can also sneak in a workout before you hop in the shower too. The added bonus here is that if you get a little sweaty, you’re getting in the shower anyway. Push-ups are a good option to consider here, but you could just as easily replace it with any other exercise you want to do.
Pull-ups by Your Office Door
Do you have a home office? Consider installing a pull-up bar on the doorway into your home office. Then, every time you walk through that doorway, get in a few reps. Again, the number of reps will purely be a matter of personal preference and fitness level. Maybe you just do one. Maybe you do five. That’s up to you.
This is beneficial both when coming into your office and when leaving it. When you leave, the pull-ups act as a sort of “toll” you have to “pay” for the privilege of leaving work, if only temporarily. When you come into your office, the pull-ups help to elevate your heart-rate just a little, enough to get you pumped and focused on the task at hand.
Planks to Earn YouTube Views
Here’s another take on incentivizing your mini exercises. To help encourage you to stay on task and avoid distractions, make a deal with yourself. If you want to watch YouTube, play casual games, or enjoy some other sort of incentive, you have to earn it by performing a plank. Maybe you have to maintain a plank for X number of seconds before you can watch a YouTube video that is Y minutes long.
This is also a good time to mention that sit-ups are hard on your back, and that’s why planks and other exercises are recommended for building up your core strength and abdominal muscles instead.
Keep Fit and Have Fun
If you’re looking for more ideas for how you can incorporate little exercises into your everyday routine, check out this Reddit thread. The conversation is geared more toward gamers — like doing push-ups every time they die in a game — but you could just as easily adapt the suggestions to life as a work-from-home online entrepreneur too.
And no, micro exercises don’t include jumping to conclusions, pushing your luck, and carrying things too far.