How to Get Enough Exercise When Working From Home

Being a full-time freelance copywriter means that you work mostly from home. This sounds like heaven to many employees, who must leave their homes and go to their office for eight hours every day. When freelancing from home, you keep to your own schedule, and do most of the work in your jammies. What’s not to love?

But there are pros and cons to every situation, and one major pitfall to working from home is lack and loss of exercise. Experts believe in the 10.000 steps-per-day magic to keep you fit and healthy. Whether you’re an advocate of this approach or not, everybody will agree that the more physically active you are, the healthier you will be and the fitter you will feel. Our sedentary office routines aren’t doing us any favors.

So now you transition to working from home. Not only do you miss out on the physcial exertion of getting to and from the office, as well as whatever walking you’d be doing at work. For me, that amounts to approximately 5.000 steps, which is already half of those recommended 10.000. Start working from home, and I lose that automatic daily step count. Which means I’ll have to make up for them at some other time during the day. And not to forget the missing 5.000. I usually try to get those in after getting home from work.

„Try“ being the operative word here. Once my butt hits the couch after a long day at the office, I have a hard time motivating myself to get it back in gear. I doubt that will be different just because I’m working from home, and I’m guessing you feel the same way.

But what can you do to make up for these „lost“ steps, and add more to them in the process? How do you make sure you get enough exercise?

Schedule Your Workouts

If you don’t make time for it in your busy schedule, you’ll never end up actually changing into your sports gear and getting your fit on. It just won’t happen (unless you’re a natural superjock, in which case I tip my hat to you, but why in the world are you reading this article in the first place?). There’s always work to be done, groceries to be bought, kids to be raised, and spouses to be spent time with. You’ll put it off all day long, until it’s 9pm and too late to do anything anymore. Unless, two or three times a week, you include it in your schedule. And by this I mean actually write it down in your calendar. With a pen! None of this pencilling it in business. Make it permanent.

Schedule at least Two 60 Minute Workouts per Week

Obviously, the more sessions you put in your calendar, the better for your overall health and fitness, but try to make it at least two hourly sessions per week. Kudos if you manage 1,5 hours, or maybe even 2!

Include Small Daily Workout Units (30 Minutes)

Whether you stretch in the morning, go for a walk after lunch, or relax with yoga in the evening – exercise at least once a day for 30 minutes. Make it part of your daily routine, and after a while you’ll start to miss it when you skip it.


If you’re easily bored, getting your fit on in the same way every day or at every session can quickly become tedious. Ignoring those scheduled time slots for exercising in favor of taking a nap becomes more and more enticing.

Therefore, mix it up. Don’t always go running. Don’t only do Pilates. Instead, take your bike for a spin one day, and your nordic walking sticks the next. Go for a swim in session one, then ride your home-based exercise machine in session two. Switch between yoga, pilates and tai chi exercises. Do whatever you can to make your routine, scheduled workout sessions not routine.

Leave the Car in the Garage

When you do leave the house to go grocery shopping or run other errands, take your own two feet instead of the car. Obviously, if you live out in the sticks, that’s easier said than done. Or if you have kids and have to buy up half the grocery store to last the week. But for single city folk, leaving the car at home is definitely an option worth exploring.

Partner Up

Working out becomes easier if you find others to do it with. Not only can you cheer each other on to new levels of exertion, you also hold each other accountable. You’re more likely not to skip your scheduled workout if someone else is waiting for and counting on your participation. So find other work-from-home colleagues, and schedule your exercise sessions together.

Exercise While Working

Nowadays, there are ways to keep moving even if you’re sitting or standing at your desk, typing away on your computer. Treadmill desks have you walking at slow speeds while writing, or pedaling beneath your desk from your perch on your comfortable and ergonomic office chair with a desk peddler. Prices on both vary, but if you already have a home training machine of some sort, maybe you can build a makeshift desk on top of it – like I did. I call it my Write Bike. The goal in exercising while working isn’t necessarily to break a sweat, but to not be quite as sedentary as a desk job usually entails.

Exercise During Mini Breaks

Take only five minutes out of every hour to go through a handful of stretching exercises or yoga positions, just to get the blood flowing and your muscles moving again. Or go for a short but brisk walk around the block. That might get your creative juices flowing again while you’re at it, and you’ll return to your work refreshed and with new ideas.


So you see, there are enough ways to keep yourself moving and motivated to work out, even when you don’t actually have to change out of your jim-jams to earn your living. So in the spirit of this post: write on and keep moving!


Got any other ideas for keeping fit and staying active while working from home? Tell us about them in the comments. 


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