Ask a Wellness Coach: How can I move more when working from home?


Rachel Walking

Rachel Otwinowski 1
Rachel Otwinowski, also pictured above taking a
break from work by walking in her neighborhood.

Wellness Coaches Martha Vanderheyden and Mary Shafer and are happy to answer your questions. Submit them to or, for a private consultation, call  631-2366. Benefits Program Manager Rachel Otwinowski, pictured above, submitted this question to “Ask a Wellness Coach.”

RO: Now that I’m working from home, I find that I’m not getting as much movement during the day. Turns out, those steps I would take to and from my car, up and down the stairs and back and forth from meetings mattered. Any suggestions?

WC: Consider developing a daily rhythm/routine that includes activity:

  • Schedule movement breaks throughout the day (set alarms to make this happen)
  • Take the longer route to a bathroom or kitchen
  • Take stretching breaks during the workday
  • Walk in place during meetings 
  • Set up a standing desk to decrease sitting all day (Here’s a 30-minute formula to follow: Sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight and move for two.) 
  • Utilize household tasks as a way to be more active (cleaning, laundry, getting the newspaper)
  • Set aside time during the day to engage in a 10-minute physical activity, like walking the dog
  • Keep exercise equipment out and close to your work space to encourage an active break (resistance bands, free weights or bottles of water or canned goods that can be used as weights)
  • Block out a stop-and-drop minute of exercise (squats, calf raises, lunges, high knees, walking in place, shoulder press, bicep curls, etc.)
  • Utilize free online exercise resources to increase activity through exercise (Wellbeats)
Wellness Coaches
Martha Vanderheyden and Mary Shafer

More from the the Wellness Coaches: 

As we continue to adapt to our working-from-home lives, we may realize we're experiencing a decrease in workday activity. Many of our former work days involved built in activity that we didn't have to think about. Now we have to be mindful and intentional to maintain activity throughout the workdays at home. Small and simple changes to our day can have a big impact on movement and improving wellness. Not only does increasing activity serve our physical wellbeing, it also serves our brains! Increasing movement can give a boost to our mental health and improve focus/productivity for work. We have a great opportunity to have some fun and be creative with activity. Get your kids, family, team members and friends involved too. Make it a fun challenge or encourage others to walk with you during that meeting. By simply remembering to get up and move once an hour we can activate our motivation to move even more. Let your friends and coworkers in on what you are doing to increase movement. 

Please note...

People’s circumstances may differ and involve various challenges. If you find that the above suggestions may not work for you, that’s OK! You are welcome to reach out to a Wellness Coach for a coaching conversation. The Wellness Center offers wellness coaching opportunities to faculty and staff free of charge. If you are interested in making a (virtual) appointment please call 631-2366.