Tips to fit a workout into your work-from-home routine.
Fitness expert Kelly Zanczewski has advice to keep you moving and motivated.
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With coronavirus pushing more and more of us to work from home, it can interfere with our everyday routines - including our workouts. Thankfully, there are plenty of at-home exercises that can help you stay fit and boost your energy on work days and off days alike.
Kelly Zanczewski, a Senior Manager for Health & Wellness at our headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ, is sharing her expertise about at-home workouts, many of which can be achieved without equipment.
“I think the most important thing is for us to do healthy things for ourselves, small things throughout the day,” she says. “Every day, challenge yourself to at least do one healthy behavior, whether that comes in the form of nutrition or exercise or overall well-being. Everybody should just try to do at least one thing every day to take care of themselves.”
Kelly shares the following tips for at-home fitness novices, experts and everyone in between.
How should I warm up before exercising?
Kelly says proper stretching and movement preparation — mimicking the motions you’ll make in your actual workout — are great ways to prepare for whatever workout you have in mind.
“That includes marching in place,” she adds. “You can do jumping jacks. You can do some mountain climbers. You can do some warm-up lunges and squats. Basically just getting the blood flowing and warming up the muscle groups.”
I want to do cardio from home. How can I do that without a bike?
Remember: You don’t need an expensive indoor or outdoor bike to get your blood pumping.
“You definitely can just put on a pair of sneakers and go outside for a walk or run,” Kelly says. “You can walk around the house. Anything that’s going to get your heart rate elevated is considered cardio, so, climbing the steps. Doing jumping jacks. Doing mountain-climbers. High knees. … Think about gym class from years ago: Do any of those activities that we used to do as kids to get the heart rate elevated.”
How can I do weight training at home, with or without equipment?
There’s a reason traditional weights have never gone out of style. “If you have your dumbbells and kettlebells, if you have a home gym, you could continue to do that,” Kelly adds.
But while a home gym is nice, it’s not necessary for weight training. For overhead presses, she says her own two-year-old daughter has been an adorable stand-in for gym weights.
“If you don’t have any kind of equipment, think of things that you could utilize around the house,” Kelly says. “Your gallon of milk? You could do an overhead press; that’s a weight. You can stand up with it over your head. You can do a row. A sack of potatoes, a big bag of rice, anything that has weight to it, you can use.”
What advice do you have for fitness novices who are getting into workouts (at home or otherwise) for the first time in a while?
Slow and steady wins the race, Kelly says. There’s no need to overexert yourself, especially if your body hasn’t built up the stamina and strength you’ll need for more strenuous workouts.
“You want to do a warm-up, always, and then think about timed exercises,” she adds. “For maybe 30 seconds, do a push-up set, do a lunge set, do a squat set, a plank hold, a wall-sit against a weight-stabilizing wall. Do it for 30 seconds. See how many repetitions you can get, and then build up from there.”
What can fitness fanatics who are used to gyms, studios and other external workout venues do at home to stay motivated and on track?
Staying fit when gyms and studios close can take an emotional hit, but it shouldn’t stop anyone from keeping themselves in shape. As Kelly notes, “Keep it all in perspective, and just do what you can.” There’s a silver lining, too: It forces creatures of habit to shake up their routine, and perhaps work out new muscle groups in new ways.
“You’re fine as long as you’re doing something every day,” she says. “And duration can vary, too. If you’re used to doing your 30-minute workout and you have to break it up into 10-minute segments, perfectly fine. You’re going to get the same kind of benefits. But the important thing is just to keep up that routine. So if you’re used to working out three days a week, continue. We don’t want you to stop; we just want you to modify your routine a little.”
What are some of your favorite fitness apps?
“For exercise workouts, Nike Training Club has awesome videos, and FitBod does as well. When we’re thinking about being outside, Strava is awesome. So are AllTrails and Map My Run. And then for your mind/body [needs], I’d say Calm and HeadSpace.”
What’s your favorite time of day to work out, and should I adjust my schedule if mine’s different?
When it comes to workouts, Kelly is a morning person, but that doesn’t mean you have to be, too.
“Exercise whenever you have the time and whenever you can get the best benefit, the best workout,” she says. “Perhaps you might have to adjust, based on your schedule. Be flexible. If you used to love the morning, and it doesn’t work for you, maybe you shift it to the afternoon and take that well-deserved afternoon break to recharge.”
Working from home can be tough on nutrition with all those snacks, just waiting to be eaten. (One moment, while I return this block of cheddar to the fridge. Ahem. Now then.) What tips do you have for curbing unhealthy eating habits?
For the first of Kelly's top nutrition tips, you actually can apply a rule often associated with real estate: Location, location, location.
- Try to keep your workstation away from the kitchen. “We want to be away from the fridge, away from the pantry and those temptations. So, remove yourself from the area where the food is.”
- Pack your lunches and snacks as if you were going to a workplace outside of your home. “That way, you have portion control, and you keep yourself on a regimented plan.”
- Hydrate. “A lot of times, our body confuses hunger with thirst, so, grab the water bottle first. If you truly are hungry, have a healthy meal or snack, but just make sure you do hydrate throughout the day.”
Why does stretching matter, and what stretches can I do throughout the work day?
Daily stretching can help improve mental acuity, boost relaxation and reduce the risk of injury. Plus, most stretches are so easy, you can do them at or next to your desk.
“Definitely stand up throughout the day,” Kelly says. “And definitely think about opening up your shoulders, like doing shoulder rolls throughout the day, doing some neck stretches throughout the day. Definitely do a chest opener if you’re tending to sit and are hunching over: Arms behind you, press [the air away from your body to] open up the chest and open up the shoulders. Also think about [stretching] your legs, your hips, your hamstrings. … Embrace any movement you can: Take those calls and walk around the house. Get outside and get some fresh air. Just move the body.”
If you’re a V Teamer, check out even more resources on Verizon’s national Health and Wellness website, including the updated Health & Wellness Work from Home Resources section, as well as exercises, warm-ups and stretches on the fitness and work/life balance pages.