Couple exercising in their apartment.

Tips from a cardiologist for staying healthy while staying home

For people working from home, establishing and maintaining a routine can be very important. Even something like setting aside time to “commute” or transition from home to work can be helpful. It allows your brain a chance to adjust, and it’s helpful to set aside transition time at the end of the work day, too.

I’ve previously discussed exercise snacking to help people improve their health by mixing in brief exercises throughout their day at the office. It is “a simple-to-do, snack-sized exercise regimen that just about anyone can fit into their day, no matter how busy their schedule.”

A core value of exercise snacking is that we intentionally incorporate activity into our daily routine, which means we can apply the concept to our life at home during quarantine. It’s about taking the time every day to do things to raise your heart rate a bit, even just a little bit. Here are some tips to help manage your health while isolating at home.

Woman exercising while watching instructional video on laptop.

  • Limit time sitting. Consume less alcohol, food, television and news.
  • Remember to breathe. I have a friend who sets his watch to periodically remind him to breathe. It actually helps relieve stress. Breathe slowly and try to concentrate on your breath as it goes in and out.
  • A wide variety of online fitness classes for every fitness level are out there. Some exercise apps are free or reduced price right now. The Peloton app is free this month, for example.
  • Avoid social isolation. We say “social distancing” but I prefer the phrase “socialize at a distance.” Consider logging in via Skype or Zoom to an exercise class with a friend.  You’re more likely to do it if you have made a commitment, and you can discuss the class later as you and your friend socialize at a distance.

Exercises to do at home regardless of your fitness level

High knees: Standing upright, raise your right knee up toward your chest as high as you can. Return your right foot to the ground and repeat with the left knee. For more intensity, increase the pace so that you are running in place with high knees. Do 20 repetitions.

Mountain climbers: From a plank or push-up position, pull in one knee toward your chest as close you can, then extend back to starting positing. Repeat with opposite leg and continue alternating for 20 repetitions. Increase the pace for a more intense workout.

Lunges: Standing upright, lift your right foot off the ground and take a big step backward. Bend both legs, lowering the back knee toward the ground. Be careful that your front knee doesn’t extend beyond your toes. Maintain a good upright posture and press up through your left heel to the starting position. Perform 6 to 10 lunges before switching to the other side.