How to Stay Fit When You Work from Home

Without the daily commute to get you moving and a refrigerator only a few steps from your workstation, staying fit can be a real challenge when working from home – but with a bit of diligence it doesn’t have to be.

Get moving

For many of us the daily commute is one of our main sources of physical activity. Walking to and from the train station or taking the stairs when you get to the office can add up to a decent number of steps over the course of the day. But how do you get more exercise when your commute is only the ten steps from the bed to your desk?

Start by planning exercise breaks into your day. They don’t have to be long – even just a few minutes can get your blood flowing and help you burn calories. Here are a few great ways to get exercise during your day when you’re working from home:

  • Take a good old-fashioned walk around the block or a nearby park – if you’ve got a dog and can take them for a walk with you even better.

  • Don’t forget to stretch as sitting at a desk for too long can cause musculoskeletal problems – check out these 12 exercises you can do from your desk.

  • Get a rebounder – feel like a kid again while you get fit on these mini-trampolines. Either follow a set workout, or come up with your own short sessions.

  • Download the Daily Yoga app – there are plenty of poses to choose from whether you are a beginner or advanced practitioner.

  • Try this 5-minute circuit or one of dozens of other quick workouts from Fitness magazine.

  • Find it difficult to get motivated to exercise? Find a buddy who works from home too and plan a Skype workout session together.

Eat a nutritious lunch

When we work from home it can be easy to forget to take a proper lunch break. But just as you would when you are working in an office you should give yourself time to stop working and focus on your midday meal.

Make it a habit to have a good lunch – one that is rich in nutrients and gives your body the fuel it needs to make it through the afternoon. Avoid foods with a high glycaemic index such as white bread or candy bars; sure you’ll get a burst of energy, but crash later on. Instead, eat foods that release sugar gradually into your bloodstream, such as combination of whole grains, protein, healthy fat and vegetables. This will keep you feeling energised and full throughout the rest of the workday. A good list of foods to keep around for healthy lunches (and snacks) include:

  • Eggs

  • Cooked chicken or meat

  • Tofu

  • Smoked or canned fish

  • Fruit

  • Salad

  • Avocado

  • Veggies

  • Wholegrain breads or crackers

  • Hummus

  • Yoghurt

  • Nuts and seeds (also nut butters to spread on crackers or apple slices)

  • Cheese

  • Microwaveable packets of cooked lentils or brown rice

Snack wisely and stay hydrated

Just as you plan your lunch make sure to plan coffee/tea/snack breaks as well. It’s easy for people who work from home to graze mindlessly throughout the day, especially if you work in your kitchen. Distracted eaters consume more calories, so step away from your work while you take a break for a coffee or snack. Placing your workstation as far away from the kitchen as possible will give you both a reason to get up and get moving as well as lower your temptation to snack outside your set breaks. Be mindful of your eating both during your lunch and snack breaks. Also, don’t overdo it on the caffeinated beverages – include water or herbal teas during the day to make sure you are getting enough hydration without overdoing the caffeine.

Natasha Staples is a certified personal trainer available for private sessions via Skype. You can reach her by email at

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