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But household items also make perfectly adequate workout gear. Yoga doesn’t actually require a yoga mat, or fancy leggings. Towels make good resistance bands. Those emergency soup cans you stockpiled? Perfect for bicep curls. “You could just tape a line of masking tape on the ground and hop back and forth over it—one minute on, one minute off—and do that for 20 minutes and you’d get a great cardiovascular workout,” says Brad Stulberg, an executive coach in Oakland and the author of two books on performance and well-being.
Kozak suggests parents use their babies or toddlers—very carefully—as weights during workouts. “The child thinks you are just playing and spending time together, while you’re sneakily getting your workout in,” he said. Or let young kids join you: “They can safely do all the same body-weight moves as you. Maybe add their favorite music or have them put on their favorite costume before beginning.”
The trickier part might be finding the motivation. “If you’re just relying on getting a sudden spark of inspiration throughout the day to exercise, it’s probably not going to happen,” Kozak said. Remote workers have fewer prompts to get up and move, in order to walk to a meeting or grab coffee in the break room. Home arrangements are unlikely to be exact replicas of their office setups, with their ergonomic chairs and monitors lined up just so. (When I asked Kozak whether he thought my neck hurt because I did one of his HASfit videos or because I’ve been slouching all day, he said it’s probably because I’ve been slouching all day.)
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If you have the space, work out in a different room than the one you sleep or work in. Setting the mood can help. “Turn off that overhead light if you can, light a candle if you have one or some incense,” says Adriene Mishler, the yoga instructor behind Yoga With Adriene. “Things that kind of say, ‘I’m doing this, I’m doing this, I’m doing this,’ even if you’re like, ‘I’m probably gonna not do this.’”
Depending on your living situation, working out at home might mean going easy on hitting the floor. “I used to live in an apartment and I was on the bottom floor, and anytime my neighbors would just walk, it would sound like an earthquake,” says Cassey Ho, the fitness instructor of the YouTube channel Blogilates. For apartment dwellers who want to be mindful of their neighbors, Ho suggests low-impact cardio moves that don’t involve a lot of jumping and stomping.
Without the fear of cancellation fees or the guilt of bailing on a workout buddy, it might be easier to get away with skipping workouts. Stulberg, the Oakland-based health coach, suggests texting friends to say you’re starting a workout so you’re less likely to back out, or videochatting during exercise.
One of Stulberg’s friends, an emergency-room doctor, has Stulberg FaceTime him while he exercises during short breaks. “If he wasn’t an emergency-room doctor, I’d be like, ‘Get over yourself,’” Stulberg says. “But right now, he’s a hero, so I’m like, ‘All right Justin, I will watch you do push-ups.’”