Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
Looking to get fit while working from home? In reality, there are a ton of benefits to living healthy as a freelancer or remote employee. But who has the space under their desks for miniature bicycles or other extravagant home office workout equipment?
I know I don’t. I barely have enough room under the desk for my legs let alone some $300 piece of home desk exercise equipment.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the office workout equipment on the market is interesting and may seem cool. But between the price and practicality, many of them just miss the mark for me.
Not everyone has a huge office space or is capable of keeping the area clean to use the equipment efficiently.
Let’s take a look at what I think are realistic pieces of home office workout equipment.
Keep in mind, this is purely my opinion. Some of these things I use every day and are easy for myself to store in my office space.
Why Home Office Workout Equipment?
Personally, I prefer to buy my own pieces of exercise equipment instead of paying for a gym membership. This way, I get exactly what I want for a lower cost that better fits my daily routine.
Eventually, I wouldn’t mind finding time to go to something like Planet Fitness. But until then, I need home office workout equipment that I can easily store and use without unpacking a lot or spending too much time preparing.
For instance, I can take two steps to the left of my desk to pick up my pair of dumbbells and whip out a quick set of 20 reps. Then, I can move back to my desk and continue working.
So, what are some realistic pieces of home office workout equipment to help you stay focused and ready for work?
You don’t have to go for huge, muscle-bound arms to benefit from dumbbells. With a lighter weight and higher repetitions, you can burn fat and tone up with a quick break here and there throughout the day.
One of the reasons why I like adding dumbbells to my home office workout equipment is because they are easy to store out of the way. They’re not obtrusive and provide flexibility in various exercises.
For example, I’ll use my dumbbells in my 5-minute desk jockey workout to get the blood pumping and add definition to my arms. It’s a great way to break up the day when working from home.
Grippers are often inexpensive and can literally fit in most desk drawers in the home office. While you might not break out into a sweat with these grip-training tools, they still do well to add definition to your forearms and hands.
And as a freelance writer, they’ve helped me address all kinds of issues when typing. For one thing, it seems I suffer less from carpal tunnel than I had in the past.
At the moment, I also have squeezable stress balls of various resistance types. A few reps with any of my grippers periodically throughout the day have been greatly beneficial for the work I do.
3. Resistance Bands
One of the great things about resistance bands is that you can store them almost anywhere. Since they can be rolled up pretty small, you can easily fit the bands in a drawer, backpack, or piled in a small heap in the corner.
I like resistance bands because you can increase how much they simulate in terms of weight. Right now, mine are set to 45 lbs. And if I want more weight, I can just buy another size and add it.
However, you can use lighter weights and go for more repetitions. This will increase the heart rate and help you burn off some extra calories while working from home.
4. Stay Ball – or Swiss Exercise Ball
Part of my home office exercise equipment includes a Spri Stability Ball. This unit has sand inside it to help stabilize where it sits and prevents it from rolling.
Lately, I’ve used it for the Swiss ball jackknife exercise. It’s an incredible core workout and is somewhat difficult to do from a beginner’s perspective.
Many of my house guests use the exercise ball as a chair while talking to me in my office space. And everyone bounces on it at one point or another.
5. Yoga Mat
I have a dark purple yoga mat rolled in the corner of my home office. I use it when doing certain exercises as it provides more comfort than a hardwood or cement floor. And it adds softness to the carpet in my office.
Yoga mats are a great part of any home office exercise equipment especially since you can take them anywhere. For instance, I often take mine outside during the summer so I can use it on my cement patio.
These mats are usually quite inexpensive and easy to find. In fact, you can do a bit of looking online to find mats that are fitting to your likes. I’ve seen everything from sporting team logos to cartoon characters.
6. A High-Quality Chair
Never underestimate the quality of the chair you’re sitting on for extended periods of time. A crappy or cheap chair from Walmart can hurt your lower back, deliver stress headaches and reduce your productivity.
I’ve noticed a huge difference between a cheap, generic chair and a $200 unit from Costco.
But you don’t have to get a traditional office chair, either. As I said, a lot of people use my exercise ball to sit. In fact, there are a lot of people out there who’ve replaced their desk chairs with exercise balls.
You can also get post-improving stools, workout chairs with resistance bands attached, and much more.
Personally, I’d rather do workouts that get me up and moving and not try to lift weights and such while sitting. One of the reasons I get up is because my knee will start to hurt if I sit for too long.
7. Ankle Weights
One of my favorite ways to play the Xbox Kinect is by adding ankle weights. They contribute to core and leg development as you walk throughout the house. And they’re not that expensive to pick up at places like Walmart.
These units come in a variety of styles and range widely in terms of weight. In fact, the 2.5 lbs. units I have are far too easy to move nowadays. I’m in the process of getting something heavier.
However, they don’t really do much good if you sit for extended periods of time. Ankle weights only help when you’re actually moving.
8. Biking Pedals for Under the Desk
Unfortunately, I don’t have a pedal machine under my desk. The fact is that I simply don’t have the room to do a pedal motion with how my desk and chair are set up.
However, I can see a bit of the quality behind something like a biking machine at your feet.
But like other pieces of home office equipment that focus on simply sitting, it’s something I probably wouldn’t really get into. Remember, I need to get up and stretch a bit every 90 minutes or so.
Frankly, I’d rather just take a five to 10-minute break and ride my bike around the neighborhood.
9. Fitness Tracker
I love my Fitbit Charge 3. It’s a great fitness tracker which sends data to MyFitnessPal and other systems to help me lose 80 pounds so far. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other units out there but worth the investment for me.
Fitness trackers are great as they give you an idea about where you stand throughout the day in terms of physical movement. They’re awesome as a way to remind yourself to be more active and get your heart rate up.
I’ve seen some trackers range between $10 and $50 depending on the features and brand. But in any case, they are a great tool to help you focus on a better lifestyle and improve overall health.
10. Xbox Kinect
My ultimate piece of home office workout equipment is my Xbox Kinect. I have a range of games with varying difficulties that help me melt through calories during breaks or lunch.
In reality, I’ll play between 20 and 30 minutes every morning to start the day. Then, I’ll play again during my lunch hour.
The reason I love playing the Xbox Kinect so much is that I have games that keep me engaged and wanting to play more. And that’s the real trick to finding any quality home office exercise equipment.
It’s all about finding something that can keep your attention on a regular basis. For me, the Kinect games I own do just that.
11. Standing Desks
Although I’m not personally a fan of standing desks, I know a lot of people who absolutely love them. It’s one of the more common comments I get from readers and viewers regarding exercise while working from home.
Standing is actually a great deal more beneficial than sitting. Not only will your legs and core remain active while working, but some desks will allow for small treadmills underneath.
According to some sources, you can burn close to twice the calories while standing compared to sitting. Of course, this also depends on a lot of physical factors, such as age, sex, and weight.
While standing, the average burn is between 40 and 70 calories more than sitting. Now, that may not sound like a lot. However, it adds up rather quickly.
After just 5.5 hours, you’ll burn the equivalent of a medium-sized slice of pepperoni pizza.
Why is Fitness Important for Working at Home?
Exercise does more than just burn fat for a slimmer ‘you.’ In fact, it’s found that exercise is great for cognitive abilities. And as someone working from home, any brain boost only works to improve your abilities and productivity.
This is especially true for creative careers, such as freelance writing or graphic design.
One of the biggest problems I’ve found while working from home since 2012 is a lack of physical activity. This was partially responsible for why my heart stopped in 2016.
When working from home, you miss out on lots of different ways to elevate the heart.
Instead of walking out to the truck, driving to work, walking into the office, and then walking around the school district, I sit at my desk at home nowadays.
This means I, as well as many others out there, simply do not get enough natural exercise. Which is why I put so much effort into doing some of the things that are on this list.
As a result, my heart problems declined and I’ve lost more than 80 pounds.
Find What Works for You
The bottom line is you need to find home office exercise equipment that works for you. Practicing better health when working from home adds to your physical and mental abilities.
It’s in your best interest to find quality workout gear to stash at your desk.