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Keep moving: How to stay active when parked at home

Woman doing yoga at home

Doing yoga at home can be an effective way to stay active indoors.

While there is a definite feeling of confinement as most of the nation’s workforce is in some way strapped to a home office during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, it doesn’t mean you can’t get up and get moving to stay physically active. There are simple ways all around the house—inside and out—to be mobile.

Director of Health Promotion and Wellness Nikki Brauer ’90, M.S. ’93, said now is an important time to stay healthy, active, and pain free. “Remember,” Brauer said, “the body is meant to move.”

She advises that it’s a good idea to take regular breaks, just as you should during less extraordinary times when working in a traditional office setting. “Get up every 15 minutes, change your posture, and take a set of stairs every hour if you’re able to do that physically,” Brauer said. “Schedule your breaks, and stick to them no matter where you’re working.”

Even when sitting, it’s effective to move your upper body by stretching and doing yoga. If yoga is already incorporated into your regular routine, keep it up. She suggests people use helpful resources such as high-quality online content.

“You can find some really great yoga and Pilates instructors and physical therapists on YouTube,” Brauer said, who has her own favorites that she will happily share via email. Reach her at nbgegel@IllionisState.edu.

Redbirds can also tune into campus offerings. “We will have Zoom Bellies and Backs at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday beginning the week of March 30,” she said. Classes typically run 45 minutes. Join the sessions by going to https://wellness.illinoisstate.edu/faculty/lifestyle. Campus Recreation is working on some short videos as well that will be made available online.

Beyond the reminder to move, Brauer has words of caution about the set-up of home workspaces.

“Laptops are not ergonomic by design, but there are ways to use them more safely,” she said. “If you’re working from home on a laptop, try standing at a kitchen island and propping your laptop up on a stack of books. It’s a good way to change your posture. And remember that you should sit for a little bit and stand for a little bit.”

She gives the green light for working while sitting on a chair, a couch, or a bench and recommends that regardless of which option is used, put a rolled-up towel behind your back for extra support. And don’t stay in the position for too long because being active is a form of self-care.

“The movement piece is so crucial,” she said, offering the reminder to listen to your body when doing physical activity to find the right level of intensity. She also provides the reassurance that staying healthy with activity does not need to be complicated.

“Go outside,” she said. “Just move.”