Working out while you’re staying in

COVID-19 has slammed gym doors shut, shoved workout buddies away and kept outdoor adventurers homebound. Making matters worse, the demands of family and the mounting complications of work aren’t exactly conducive to exercise. Neither is a gym class’ bass-heavy beats swapped out for a soundtrack of scary stats, shrill warnings and global shutdowns.

Yet with parameters narrowed and stress levels soaring, there has never been a more important time to exercise. The good news? There are plenty of ways to work out at home, even if you haven’t donned running shoes since 2010.

Following steps at home

An effective fitness program has five components. These can be done together in one comprehensive workout, and all within a few steps from your very own couch. Included below are the recommended stages and ideal times for each:

  1. A warm up: this could be an easy walk around the house, walking in place or several minutes on a stationary bike if you have one (5-10 minutes)
  2. A cardiovascular (aerobic) workout: such as step aerobics or jump rope (20-30 minutes)
  3. Resistance (strength-building) exercises: such as squats, push ups, planks and leg lifts (shoot for three sets of 10-15 reps of the exercises chosen)
  4. Flexibility moves: including floor stretches and yoga poses (about 30 seconds per stretch)
  5. A cool down: using methods similar to a warm up to bring your heartbeat back to a resting state (5-10 minutes)

Of course, the demands of work and home life may mean that you can’t do a full workout, and that’s okay. The key is to do something. Go at your own pace, and split the components up if you need to. Just remember to warm up and cool down each time.

Mix it up

If you do have old equipment somewhere – perhaps a yoga mat buried by laundry or a pair of dumb-bells under the bed – now is the time to pull them out to vary your workouts and keep you interested on a day-to-day basis.

And speaking of variety, there are a wealth of tips and routines accessible via blogs, vlogs and posts across all social media platforms. Online communities existed long before COVID-19 descended, and hundreds of fitness influencers, workout apps and virtual classes can be accessed from a computer, phone or tablet at any time.

From those who want their hearts pumping to those who favour shredding the core, there’s something for every level and every age. On YouTube alone, there are more channels than you can shake your quads at. A few are listed below, with dozens more just a click away.

Oh, and remember that workout buddy you’ve lost touch with? You can always connect via Skype, Zoom or FaceTime for inspiration to drop pounds, make gains or just to cope better during this stressful time.

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