How I Keep Active At Home

Photo of my exercise bike and a Nintendo Switch controller

At this point in my life, I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I’ve been working remotely for just over two years and so I’ve lost the walk my old commute would provide me. The commute walk amounted to about 30 minutes of brisk walking each day. I’m not one to go to a gym for a workout, and I’m satisfied with at-home exercises. I have two young kids and it can be challenging to find time to exercise.

I picked up an inexpensive folding exercise bike to keep in my office a few years back to help with at-home exercising (cardio). I didn’t use it all that much until I started working remotely. The bike helped keep my Apple Watch rings happy.

I had also discovered the joy of playing video games while cycling. As the exercise bike was light enough, I could drag it outside my office to where the video game consoles were. I also would sometimes just raise my desk into its standing position and play something on Steam.

I mostly play Action/Adventure and RPG games and these tend to work out well for me while cycling. Playing video games while biking can be a bit challenging at times, depending on what the game’s task is. I sometimes find myself slowing down for tricky platforming, even completely stopping to complete a difficult boss battle.

In addition to playing video games, I will mix it up by watching videos. I generally stay to YouTube in which I’ll watch some videos on technical content (i.e., conference talks), or videos on random stuff. I have, on occasion, exercised through a movie, however that usually means splitting the movie experience over multiple sessions.

I normally end up doing 30-45 minutes of cycling a day (depending on how sad my Apple rings are at the end of the day) while watching/playing something, and it is enough to work up a bit of sweat. I aim to keep my pace within a set range - nothing too intense, just enough to get the heart pumping faster than normal.

I recently purchased a treadmill as well that I’ve tried gaming with. I personally found it much harder than being on a stationary bicycle. You cannot easily slow down for those harder moments in a game (think flying off the back of the treadmill), and I found that my stride was a lot more clumsy. Watching a video while on a treadmill is better though, as you don’t have to work the controller and perform input commands.

This approach works for me and allows me to combine two things together - I can exercise and play at the same time.

TL;DR: If you’re not one to exercise but you like to play games or watch shows/movies, make it a point to not sit still. Get a stationary bike, an inexpensive treadmill, or other types of exercise equipment and bundle what you want to do with physical activity.