Just because we’re stuck inside of our homes at this time doesn’t mean that we have to wallow in a bag of chips and stop exercising all together. In fact, this is the most important time to work out. Staying fit is a way to manage your mental health and also strengthen your immune system.
Exercising will get us through this tough time and keep us positive. While some equipment, like dumbbells and resistance bands, can help, here are our favorite bodyweight based exercises that you can do at home to keep the cabin fever at bay. Add-ons and modifications are optional.
Make it regular, and get creative
Make it a part of your daily routine. Since your normal routine is compromised, making one at home will help keep you sane. Try to set an alarm for the same time every day, doing a workout (mixing up your routine so you don’t get bored) and following up with a shower and a healthy breakfast. Not only will it keep you fit and nourished, but this sense of routine can benefit mental health greatly.
Use household items for moves you would do in the gym. Everyone has stocked up on groceries during this time anyway, so you should have plenty of differently weighted items to experiment with. Try some bicep curls with a condiment jar or milk jug, for instance. It’s all about getting creative. Tins, any bottles filled with liquid, and bags of rice can be used as well.
Pilates and yoga
Get acquainted with yoga or pilates. These are moves that stretch you and improve your posture while they strengthen you. This is especially important since many of us are working from home. Yoga and pilates will ward off stiff joints and promote flexibility. Working from home, especially on a laptop, can give us what health professionals call “tech neck,” but these workouts can help work against those effects. There are plenty of free videos for both on Youtube.
Master the range of bodyweight workouts you can do. Perfect your form on the pushup, the plank, sit-ups and squats. Use the props in your house to help you – for instance, doing an incline press-up on your couch.
Here are some essential bodyweight moves:
Weighted Russian twists
Sit on the floor with a milk or juice bottle and legs bent in front of you like a sit-up position. Lean back, keeping your back straight and engaging your core. Slowly twist your torso from side to side, aiming to touch the floor with the bottle each time. If you want to modify to make it more difficult, lift feet off the floor.
Do these on a wall in your living room, or wherever you have space for your back to comfortably lean on it. Form a 90 degree angle with your legs and sit against the wall as you would in a chair. Hold. It doesn’t sound that intense, but this move will really start to burn.
Bulgarian sofa lunge
Try amping up a normal lunge by doing this: place one leg in the front lunge position so that your knee is aligned with your heel and doesn’t go past the toes. Then, place the other leg on the couch so that the front part of your shin is resting on the cushion, adding more intensity to your front leg. You can lean forward to make it more difficult. Also, tricep dips off the back of a sturdy chair are a back way to get those arms burning.
Consider doing a circuit training routine, which lets you get a full-body routine and combine both strength training and cardio if you’re choosing. This comprises several movements rather than getting monotonous with the same thing over and over again. You can do this versatile style of workout with or without weights, but the goal is to work out continuously instead of taking breaks. Burpees and high-knees are a perfect example of cardio.
Stretch, stretch, stretch
HIIT exercises and the more holistic workouts we mentioned are important for a routine, but so is paying attention to your circulation, rotating and flexing body parts like your ankles and lower leg. Otherwise, a painful stiffness can ensue, and you can’t exactly walk with off in the current situation. Try to stretch at least twice a day.
A Facetime jog
While it might not be the worst idea to go for a short walk outside, if you live in a busy or crowded area, consider Face-timing your friends while marching on the spot. It might not feel the same as going for a light jog with friends, but it will keep your mind and body active, letting you catch up with a loved one while getting those endorphins pumping.
Dance it out
Lastly, feel free to dance it up from your home like our friends in Italy are doing. Dancing can help keep your spirits up, and won’t make a workout out feel like a chore. Plus, it will distract you from all the insanity of the news cycle.