April 13, 2020

How to Stay Motivated to Workout While Working From Home

Let’s face it, staying motivated to workout can be hard for even the best of us under normal circumstances. Under these extraordinary circumstances though, we could all use some fresh ideas on how to exercise consistently, while staying home.

Working out, even though we all know the physical and mental benefits, can seem like more stress added to your day. For some, it just doesn’t sound as appealing as binge-watching television; perhaps for others it’s just challenge to find the motivation to workout alone, in a small space. If you’re like many people in the MIT Recreation community, being at the gym, playing sports, or taking a group exercise class was a needed cure. And the people, the facilities, and the equipment helped make accessing recreation much easier.

Now, your workout space is also your home. You might have other people you live with, like your family, roommates, kids, and even your pets. Everything and everyone seems to be getting in your way, and focusing feels harder than it really ought to be. Well, here are a few tips and tricks to help make it a little easier to participate in fitness, wellness, and recreation, while working from home and social distancing:

Break it up!

It’s okay that you might not have the time, space, or mental focus to do a longer, more prolonged workout. Many studies show that making movement more periodic, can be really beneficial. Part of making a less than ideal situation better, is finding the advantages. This, is one of those advantages! You’re at home working, studying, or taking care of family? Use this as an opportunity you might not ordinarily have — schedule mini workouts in between tasks. Consider inviting the other people join you (virtually) in a mini workout break.

Air squats and other body-weight exercises can be done pretty much anywhere, and at any time. Plan a short brisk walk. The American College of Sports Medicine recommendation is for most adults to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. While that can seem like a lot, breaking it up is generally recommended and encouraged. Trying a variety of exercises, that together equal 150 minutes, can definitely make it easier to manage.

Try Virtual Workouts

MIT Recreation has launched a Virtual Group Ex Schedule, with a variety of classes taught by some familiar faces. Seeing a few of our energetic instructors, could be the motivation you need to complete a few workouts a week. And, every class is adapted for small spaces, with no equipment. Perfect, right?

For those in need of workout options for the visually impaired, we’ve found some great workouts here.

A Team Effort

Who can you add to your social distancing team? You don’t have to go at this alone, and in fact, having at least one workout partner is more likely to keep you motivated. You may already be stuck indoors with a spouse, partner, roommate, or your kids. All you need is one, to keep you accountable and make working out more fun and interactive. However, if you are social distancing alone, a virtual workout partner is just as helpful. Ask a friend, classmate, or colleague.

Together with your workout partner, you can find creative ways to exercise. Challenge them to 10 pushups in 1 minute; or turn on some music and dance together. Whatever you do, be safe and stay positive!