With the spread of COVID-19, gyms were among the first businesses to close. Fitness fanatics like myself would consider gyms to be essential, however they are not the most sanitary of spaces. Shared equipment, cramped group fitness classes, and machines six inches away from each other do not exactly comply with social distancing standards. While the machines and toys at the gym are excellent tools, the truth is that you don’t need any equipment at all to get in a good workout! Here are my top tips for staying active during this pandemic.
Move a Little Each Day
Under normal circumstances, my recommendation for most people would be to aim for 3-5 well structured workouts per week. However, these are not normal circumstances. Most of us are working from home or not working at all. Travel, nights out with friends, parties, and most recreational activities have been completely cut from our calendars. It’s not just our workouts that have been cut from our schedules; most of us have cut out nearly all movement from our schedules!
You can combat this by making a real effort to build physical activity into your new daily routine. This doesn’t have to be very strenuous or time consuming. Do what you can. Take the dog for a long walk, go for a hike, find a virtual yoga class, or do an at home strength training workout. Aim for at least 20 minutes. To stay consistent, try to make this happen at the same time each day. This can be when you wake up, during your lunch break, right before dinner, or whenever works best for you. Try to center your physical activity around an event that already happens every day so that it will become a habit.
Focus on Progressing Body Weight Movements
I have seen a lot of trainers posting “minimal equipment” at home workouts where they are using barbells, plates, multiple sets of dumbells, and all kinds of bands. While these are all great tools, you can absolutely progress your training without them! Can’t do a full push up? What a great time to master that skill. Start with your upper body elevated on a step or chair. You can slowly lower the height of the object you are using until you can perform the exercise on the ground. Are you a pro at pushups? Try practicing one arm push ups or plyometric (jumping) push ups! This same idea can be applied to your squats, pull ups, and planks. Play around with different progressions and variations!
Have Fun with Outdoor Workouts and New Modalities
If you have been stuck following the same training plan for weeks or months, this is a great opportunity to switch things up. Last weekend, I went for a 20 mile hike! This is not everyone’s idea of a fun Sunday, but I love long hikes and I usually find myself too busy to get out on trails. Try going out for a run or dusting off your bike. Just remember to stay in secluded areas and keep your distance from those not in your party. If you have a backyard or other private outdoor space, try taking your strength workouts outside. If your household members are also interested, try to get them involved. A workout buddy can provide excellent motivation. Set some goals for yourself based on whatever you do have access to and make it fun!