Since the COVID-19 social distancing policy has taken effect, many, many of us have taken our workouts into our home. This is a great move since exercise can serve as valuable stress relief and it also helps support a healthy immune system. At Well & Simple, we’re lucky that our intern, Nicki, is a personal trainer and she wants to offer some valuable advice to those of you bringing your fitness routines home.
First and foremost, we need to address the mental and emotional components here. Be gentle with yourself during this time. It’s important that you not put excess pressure on yourself and set reasonable goals and expectations, especially during this difficult period. There are going to be days when you just can’t bring yourself to workout. That’s OK. There are going to be times when you feel like you’re not performing the way you want to or used to. That’s OK too. And there will be days when you’re feeling awesome and nailing your goals. That’s great! Your worth as an individual is not tied to how much you work out or how well you stick to your diet plan. You’re also not required to lose weight or hit a new PR while in quarantine.
In terms of athletic performance, most people can’t get the same workout at home that they can at the gym. That’s just a fact and that’s totally fine. It doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of benefits from it though. Set new goals for yourself and be open to trying new exercises.
Safety first! When you’re working out alone in the comfort and privacy of your home, you’ll naturally feel more comfortable since no one is watching you. This can be a good thing as you may feel more confident and more bold when it comes to trying new exercises. However, this comes with a risk when it comes to form. Having good form isn’t just about getting the most out of your workout, it’s also about protecting your body from injury. Without an instructor or someone else there to check your form, it can be easy to let it slip. If you can, do your workouts in front of a mirror in order to keep an eye on your form and take your time through each exercise so you can take stock of your body positioning.
Want to do some at-home workouts but worried you don’t have the equipment you need?Not a problem! There are plenty of things that you can still do with just your body or with ordinary objects.
- Towels and a smooth surface
- This can act as a homemade “slider” and you can do many things with it! Knee tucks, mountain climbers, lateral lunges, etc. These are used in all kinds of fitness classes and workout videos.
- Water jugs/laundry detergent
- If you don’t have any weights, you can improvise with heavier objects with handles. Save your water gallons, milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, or similar containers to fill with water. You can do lots of weighted exercises with these such as rows, lunges, squats, farmers carries, etc. What’s great is you get to adjust how heavy they are!
- Stable furniture as a bench or otherwise elevated surface
- Having a stable elevated surface adds more depth to bodyweight exercises. You can do step ups, incline or decline pushups, elevated bridges, etc. These are also great if balance is not your strongest skill or if you’re doing a workout class, like barre.
- Stairs can act as your elevated surface, or you can do things like stair runs, or even create a whole leg workout on them. The possibilities are endless.
- Canned goods
- If you’re looking for lighter hand weights, using canned goods or 16-oz water bottles are a great option. They fit easily into your hand and offer some added resistance to your movements.
- Old panty hose or leggings
- If you’re looking to workout with resistance bands but don’t have any, old panty hose or leggings will work in a pinch. You can use these as a regular resistance band or you can tie them together to create a loop band to add resistance to your legs exercises.
Focus on Endurance and Basics
When in doubt, just keep it simple! Now may be a good time to work on your muscle endurance by doing high reps of low weights. This will improve your strength down the line. Working out at home is also a great time to work on “the basics” like core strength and functional fitness to keep you moving better and getting stronger.
Remember, we are all just doing the best we can with what we have. Just getting moving in general is awesome. So, please, do what you can, listen to your needs, and hang in there.