Staying Fit While Self-Isolating

I haven’t written in a few weeks for a lot of reasons – I haven’t known what to say. I’ve been super-busy with my work, and I have about five pre-scheduled blog posts that don’t seem like the right thing to post right now. And yet, nothing seems like anything anyone would want to read at the moment.

But, one thing that’s been on the minds of many folks is how to keep the gains they’ve made, or even how to start a new program, when gyms are closed, being around others is discouraged, and home gym equipment may not be available.

If you’ve been working out regularly in a gym, you’re probably used to having a trainer, a regular class schedule, or a group of motivating buddies you work out with. Many gyms have stepped up, and have recreated some of those classes via live streaming, often compensating for the lack of equipment in their client’s homes. Tuning in for a familiar class can help you stay motivated. Seeing all your usual friends, and your instructor, all working out at the same time, is certainly a way to build community while keeping distanced.

If you’ve not been working out, now is a great time to start. Many fitness apps are offering a certain number of days or weeks for free. Beachbody on Demand, for instance, is offering a two-week free trial – more than enough to fall in love with being able to workout anytime, anywhere – perfect for those times we’re not able to spend time together, and a good way to stick to a program because you have no excuses – your instructor is in your home, all the time. And many online workouts are already mindful about equipment availability, so there are plenty to choose from that don’t require weights, or other equipment such as treadmills, rowing machines, etc.

Or you can choose to go big. While many people may be worried about the financial strain of a global pandemic, there may be local sports equipment stores that would love an order right now. If you’ve been thinking about buying that treadmill or exercise bike, now might be the time to make the investment. Doing so means you’ll have a new piece of equipment to use for years to come, and you’ve done your part to help a small business owner.

A few options for non-equipment ways to get your feet moving, and your blood pumping without access to anything include:

  • A classic cardio workout that includes one minute of each of the following exercises with 15 to 30 seconds of rest between: jumping jacks, burpees, zig-zag runs (take two runs forward on a diagonal, and four runs straight back with knees to hip level), skaters (move side to side like a speed skater), and power jumps. This will only take a few minutes, and will leave you sweating. If you feel you can do a second round, go for it!
  • Strength and core workouts that include a minute each of pushups, crunches, bicep curls with soup cans or one-litre water bottles for weights, tricep dips off the edge of a kitchen chair, squats, alternating lunges, and bicycle crunches. This one is a little longer, but a couple of rounds of this is a great way to tone up
  • It’s important also to incorporate stretching into any routine – even at home. Taking a day or two a week to do a yoga sequence, or take an online class (there are thousands being streamed right now – and so many also available on YouTube) will help keep your muscles relaxed and your body feeling long and lean

While it may take a little more motivation and dedication if you’re not already used to working out at at home, you’ll feel more mentally and physically prepared for the toll that staying home is taking on nearly everyone right now. It’s tough to be apart from others – we are social beings after all – but that’s no excuse to stop working out as well. In fact, working out can be a fabulous way to cope with uncertainty right now.

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