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Feeling tired while working from home? 5 easy exercises to boost your energy

Working remotely can ironically drain your energy levels. If that’s the case, try one of these 15-minute workouts that require no fancy equipment – just two water bottles and a vacuum cleaner or mop.

Feeling tired while working from home? 5 easy exercises to boost your energy

Here's another way to use your stick vacuum cleaner or mop: Working out with it. (Model: Marvin Soh)

The new work-from-home arrangement means there’s no need to commute to work, jostle with the rest of the office building for lift space, or put up with long lunch queues. Trips to the bathroom or pantry are just mere steps away instead of walking from one corner of the office to the other.

But with all the energy you think you’re saving, why do you feel more tired? Physically, moving less affects your mobility and increases tightness in the muscles, said Cris Chong, Fitness First Singapore’s national personal training manager.

01:54 Min
Working remotely can drain your energy levels. If that’s the case, try one of these 15-minute workouts that require no fancy equipment – just water bottles and a mop.

Working in isolation, which many of us are doing during the circuit-breaker month, also impacts you mentally and emotionally, which then drains your energy levels. 

“Work is fundamentally social, and human connection is an important part of the work experience,” Chong explained. “Working remotely, or in isolation, reduces our network and we get exhausted because we’re not energised by the regular connections that we are used to – for both introverts and extroverts alike.”

For parents whose children are home with them, they can also be a source of distraction that may cause the adults to work even longer hours. “This may then increase our stress hormones – such as cortisol – and we are more likely to have excess abdominal fat as a result,” said Chong.


But working from home isn’t an excuse to become even more sedentary. On the contrary, it is a great way to weave in short sessions of activity throughout the day. 

And there are quite a few benefits. You don’t have to change into sports attire (but if you want to, why not?), it takes only 15 minutes of your time (that report can wait a bit), and you’ll feel refreshed after each session. You don't need fancy equipment (just a stick and water bottles or dumbbells will do). Best of all, you’re less likely to emerge from the circuit breaker month with extra kilos.

Chong’s five home workouts are based on helping you burn more calories, improve intramuscular coordination, boost cardiovascular fitness, and improve flexibility and strength. “All the exercises involve multiple joints and big muscle groups in our bodies,” he said.

“The exercises are suitable for people of all fitness levels, and can be done at least once a day. We would recommend performing three sets for each exercise, and 15 to 20 repetitions per exercise, with a 30-second rest in between,” he said.

For beginners, perform the same number of recommended sets and repetitions, but increase the rest time between sets to 45 seconds or a minute.


Targets: Core muscles

Equipment: Sofa

Bicycle crunches on sofa. (Model: Marvin Soh)
  • Sit close to the edge of the sofa and place your hands behind your head. Tighten your core to stabilise yourself, extend your legs and lift your feet off the floor. Keep feet lifted throughout this exercise.
  • Lean back slightly. Start rotating your torso to bring left elbow to right knee. Then, bring your right elbow to your left knee. This is one repetition. 
  • Keep going as if you're pedalling on a bicycle with your feet up.
  • Repeat 20 repetitions, 3 or 4 sets.


Targets: Shoulders

Equipment: A stick vacuum cleaner, broom or mop

Shoulder mobility exercise. (Model: Marvin Soh)
  • Hold the stick with both hands in an overhand grip, and slightly wider than your shoulders. Rest the stick on the front of your hips. 
  • Draw your shoulders up like a shrug and raise the stick. Keep your arms straight as you raise the stick up above your head.
  • Retract your shoulder blades and bend your elbows. Lower the stick behind your head.
  • Reverse the motion to the starting position. This is one repetition.
  • Repeat 15 to 20 repetitions, 3 or 4 sets.


Targets: Shoulders, thighs and core muscles

Equipment: Sofa and two filled water bottles or dumbbells

Squat and press. (Model: Marvin Soh)
  • Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Hold the water bottles above your shoulders with palms facing inwards.
  • Keep your core braced and lower your butt down into a squat on the sofa.
  • Focus on pushing off with your heels back to the starting position. At the same time, extend your arms upwards.
  • Repeat 20 repetitions, 3 or 4 sets.


Targets: Back and core muscles

Equipment: Sofa and two filled water bottles or dumbbells

Single arm row. (Model: Marvin Soh)
  • Stand with your right leg in front and lean forward. Support your upper body with your right hand on the sofa. Hold the bottle with your left hand (see picture).
  • Keep your core braced throughout the exercise. Row the bottle backwards and upwards. At the end of the motion, squeeze your lateral muscles.
  • Lower your arm back to the start position with control.
  • Complete 20 repetitions for each side before the next set.
  • Repeat exercise for 3 or 4 sets.


Targets: Shoulders and core muscles

Equipment: None

Mountain climber. (Model: Marvin Soh)
Source: CNA/bk