When working from home, it is vital that business travellers maintain as much of a normal routine as possible to ensure mental and physical well-being is nurtured and to promote productivity. Exercise is proven to increase happiness with the production of endorphins it stimulates, as well as improve energy levels and promote a better night’s sleep. Furthermore, exercise is a great excuse to get up from your desk and move your body; all of which are imperative to successfully working from home.
Are you tired of seeing ‘at home workouts’ that involve gym equipment? Read on for some effective exercises that only need you and can be done anywhere.
1. Get outdoors
Cardio may not be for everyone, but the feeling of getting outdoors and getting your heart rate up certainly should be. When you’ve been working from home all day, sometimes all you need is a bit of fresh air to boost your mood; so even if you aren’t into running, there are plenty of other ways to increase your daily step count.
Interval sprints, for example, are a treadmill classic but can easily be modified for the great outdoors. Set yourself a timer and sprint – not to your exhaustive top speed – for 20 seconds, then stop or walk slowly for 10 seconds. Repeat this 30-second interval for around 10-15 minutes for a great, and quick, cardio session.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are a great way to work up a quick sweat: perfect for when you’re working from home on a tight schedule, but still want to fit in some effective exercise. All you need is a bit of space, so the private living area in your home or serviced apartment is ideal, otherwise, head to a nearby park or take advantage of those apart-hotels that feature on-site gardens.
The formula of a HIIT workout involves work periods and rest periods – how long these periods are is down to what works best for you, but 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest tends to be a good starting point. Choose 4-8 different movements and perform them back-to-back with your rests to create a circuit. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times with an approximate 60-90 second rest in between. Check out our examples of some good movements to try, but as you get a feel for what works and doesn’t work for you, get creative and make up some of your own.
Lower body focus:
- Jumping lunges
- Squat jump curtsey lunge complex
- Glute bridges
Upper body focus:
- Press up variations – wide-arm press up, diamond press up, pike push-ups
- Plank shoulder taps
- Spider crunches
- Chest to floor burpees
- Explosive star jumps
- Lateral lunge oblique crunch
3. High rep bodyweight exercises
It can be easy to feel like working out at home with no equipment means you aren’t working your muscles hard enough, but the simple solution is to incorporate higher rep workouts. If you would ordinarily perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with a weight or machine at the gym, at home you would perform 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps with minimal rest in between sets. This way, you can still work your muscles intensely using just your bodyweight at home.
To feel the burn, try the following with little to no rest:
5x 20 sumo squats
5x 20 frog pumps
5x 30 reverse lunges (15 each leg)
5x 20 squat hold calf raises
Burnout, to be completed back to back with no rest immediately after final set of workout:
1x 25 squat jumps
1x 25 jumping lunges
4. Get creative with your equipment
Whether you’re working from home or a serviced apartment, all you need to do is look around and you’ll find a great number of alternatives to gym equipment. Use a sturdy dining table, chair or park bench in place of a gym bench, try a tea towel on hard flooring to act as a slider, or utilise your staircase as a step box. There are many ways to get inventive with your workouts whilst working from home, which, in turn, will keep your mind sharp and creative.
Exercises using a chair:
- Tricep dips
- Bulgarian split squat
- Bodyweight box squat
Exercises using a tea towel slider:
- Lateral lunge
- Hamstring curl
- Plank knee tuck
Exercises using stairs:
- Single leg pistol squat (from sitting)
- Elevated curtsey lunge
- Incline push up
5. Don’t go it alone
Working from home can feel isolating enough for business travellers, so it can be hard to find and maintain the motivation to do a workout on your own at home. A great way to promote motivation, as well as build and strengthen social relationships with colleagues, is to start a home workout group, where you can share workout ideas, progress and tips. Modern technology also makes it so easy to workout together, even if you may be miles apart. Have a group video call while you workout to give each other words of encouragement and allow the presence of others to spur you on to do those extra reps when you otherwise might have stopped.
6. Stretching is key
Stretching can feel like an unnecessary add-on to your workout and many people can likely admit to not stretching as much as they should. Proven to enhance both your physical and mental well-being, stretching should never be overlooked. When working from home, it is even easier to find time to stretch as you can add it into your evening ritual by stretching while you watch your favourite TV show or listen to your favourite podcast and not worry about needing to travel home from the gym.
Stretching before a workout is a great way to prepare your body for activity, get your mind out of work mode and into exercise zone and to, most importantly, prevent injury. Stretching after a workout enhances flexibility which will, in turn, improve your form for an exercise, reduces muscle tension and soreness often experienced in the days following a strenuous workout, and allows your body a cool-down period where you can relax and recover.
As a business traveller, working from home needn’t cause too much disruption to your routines. Try to incorporate these quick and easy at-home workout tips into your day to boost mental and physical health and enhance productivity, adding them to your list of tips for staying mentally healthy in business travel. For a nutritious meal to refuel your body following exercise, explore our handpicked list of the best recipes for serviced apartment guests.