10 Ways to Workout at Home—Without Breaking Something

For your mind, as much as your body.

March 25, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past week or so of social distancing, it’s that I can get pretty lackadaisical when it comes to keeping my body in motion. Before COVID-19 closed down thousands of gyms, boutique studios, and personal training sessions nationwide, I was regularly taking classes at my local barre studio down the street. Last week, the owners made the tough—but necessary—decision to close down their studios temporarily. Instead, they’ve been offering classes via Facebook Live and Instagram.

I’ve tried my best to keep up with my barre routine while stuck inside, but some days are more difficult than others. I’ve learned to become a bit more forgiving with myself during this tumultuous time, and have urged my friends and family to do the same. I’ve forgiven myself for waking up a bit later than usual, for not getting as many stories written in a day as I normally would, for not having the sudden urge to clean out my closet—something I’ve put off doing for maybe too long.

While I struggle to give myself grace during this time of anxiety, I believe one of the best ways to alleviate stress is to move your body, even if for just a moment within the walls of your home. Your local gym might have turned off their lights for the time being, but there are still ways to release some exercise endorphins inside your home.

Virtual Classes:

If you’re the type that needs an instructor to get motivated, these are for you.

1. Do some Yoga

The beauty of yoga is that it’s all about staying relaxed and grounded—ideal for super stressful times like these. Try out live-streaming services like Glo, Alo Moves, or Bulldog Online, or the wildly popular Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene, for solid, stress-free workouts.

2. Join a Group Class

We are fortunate enough to live in an era where virtual communities are endless, including online fitness communities. Even before the coronavirus hit, I’ve been a huge fan of the Obé Fitness live-streaming workouts because of the incredible variety of classes they offer—plus, most classes are only 28 minutes.

Some other great options include The Sculpt Society, Daily Burn or Pure Barre On Demand.

DIY Exercise:

Not everything has to be a regimented class or training circuit—be easy on yourself and know that regular tasks in the house can be enough for the time being.

3. Schedule reminders to stretch

If you’ve been working from home, you might be so absorbed in your work that you forget to move around and take a break. Do your best to schedule reminders or alarms on your phone (apps like BreakTime or Stand Up! The Work Break Timer can help) so you can remember to move around after hours of sitting.

4. Clean your space

Not only can cleaning and organizing be an effective de-stressor for many people, it’s also a great way to keep your body moving. Need a little boost to your biceps? Plug in your vacuum. Want to work on those quads? Crouching down to pick up those toys could count as a great squatting session. Here are some projects we’re tackling at home this week.

5. Climb the stairs a few times

Whether you’re stepping down to the basement to do yet another load of laundry, or heading up the stairs to take yet another nap (hey, it’s okay!), keep on climbing—stair-stepping is a great way to increase your heart rate, even just for a minute or two.

6. Dance!

Before you say it’s cheesy—dancing is a great stress reliever for lots of people, so crank up your favorite Beyoncé song and dance around for five to ten minutes. It might surprise you how much joy it’ll bring during this less-than-joyful situation.

7. Rearrange the furniture

If you’ve been thinking about rearranging some of your furniture, now might be a great time to do it. Not only will it help feng shui your space, but it will also activate your muscles and offer a mini-workout. Just remember to lift with your knees, not your back.

8. Play around with your kiddos or pets

For those with a child or pet, consider engaging them in some active motion around the house. Whether it’s playing fetch with your dog in the backyard or competing in a playful game with your kids in the living room, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone by keeping your family entertained and getting in some steps, too.

Keep it Moving All Day Long:

If you're feeling particularly restless, it may be time to incorporate movement into your WFH sitch as well.

9. Opt for a standing desk

If you feel like you’ve been sitting too much while working from home, consider purchasing a standing desk converter to place on top of your current workspace situation. Most are adjustable and can be used on many types of surfaces. If you’re iffy on the investment, stack some books up on your desk or counter, and try it out first.

10. Replace your chair with a stability ball

If you don’t want to bother with a standing desk converter, consider purchasing a stability ball and using that as your desk chair. Using a stability ball can help you burn calories without even realizing (you’re going to want to bounce around!), encourage better posture, and tone core muscles, too.

What are you doing to keep moving while quarantined? Let us know below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Flyeyez
  • Maira Salman
    Maira Salman
Daley Quinn

Written by: Daley Quinn

Daley is a beauty and wellness journalist living in Boston.


Flyeyez May 22, 2021
I enjoy using a vibration machine everyday. It's been the best thing for my stress, my core, and tightening up my body.
Maira S. February 16, 2021
This is a great piece of content you've shared. I love reading such articles especially those that carry magical strategies like these to lose 3 pounds a week.