Work out at home with these ideas and resources. Get creative and have fun while you and your family stay active.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, everyone is seeing impacts to their daily lives and routines. However, maintaining our healthy habits is absolutely key to staying healthy.
The biggest way to ensure your health and the health of those you love is to participate in social distancing. But that can put a huge damper on your fitness routine, especially if you’re used to the amenities of a gym. Things like equipment, direction, and fitness classes.
But there is no need to ditch your daily activity. Instead, use the tips and ideas below to create a new fitness regime that can be performed in or around your house. Make sure to get your kids and spouse active as well.
I’m assuming we are all going to start getting pretty cranky and bored being stuck inside. But even 15 minutes of brisk activity can get your endorphins pumping, blood moving, and mood improved.
If you need specific instruction or are new to at home fitness I recommend starting with online classes. There are infinite options to choose from for online fitness routines. Some of my top favorites are: Fitness Blender, The Fitness Marshall, and POPSUGAR Fitness. Even streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix offer fitness classes as well. And if you’re looking for more free resources you can check out our other post Free Weight Loss Resources for a list of more free options.
If classes aren’t your jam, or you’re a little more familiar with creating your own work outs, there are so many options and means to get sweaty right in your very own home. And you can be as creative and challenging as you want to!
Cardio is my go-to for activity and getting my heart rate up. It can be done outside (if permitting, please be safe and avoid parks) or inside. And you can work out with your loved ones or independently, so it is social-isolation friendly. Think about all the outdoor options like running, walking, jogging, sprinting, bike riding, skateboarding, scooter-ing.
And they are some great inside options like running in place, walking around the house, jumping in place, jumping on a trampoline, jumping jacks, skipping rope, mountain climbers, steps ups, and burpees.
The key with cardio is to pick a low impact move than be repeated over a specific amount of time. Don’t worry about making it super challenging. Instead focus on getting your heart pumping, but still be able to carry on a conversation. And then keep that movement going for as long as you choose. My tip is to set a timer so you’re not constantly looking at the clock and counting down the time remaining.
The goal of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is to do perform a challenging movement for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest. For example, a one minute sprint followed by two minutes of walking.
You can use this model for all different types of exercises. Interval walking, interval running, and interval workouts incorporating different exercises. In this situation you could perform 15 squats, followed by 20 site ups, and 10 push-ups back to back. Rest for two minutes and repeat the sequence again.
Tabata style workouts are similar but incorporate a timer. You set a specific amount of time like 5 or 7 minutes and perform as many repetitions of the exercise sequence as possible in the allotted time. Take a few minute rest, and repeat. A popular tabata style plan is the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) by Kayla Itsines.
Plyo-metrics are another style of interval workout, but less focused on time, and more focused on breaking down movements and repeating various parts for strength and form. Basketball players use plyo-metric drills to improve their ball handling and foot work. Things like fast feet, ladder drills, and multi-movement exercises focus on the agility and explosive speed required for sports. But they can also be really fun and a great at home work out.
The benefit of these higher intensity workouts, is that you can get “more” done in a shorter amount of time. They are very challenging without having to take an hour or more.
I love yoga, and am a huge fan. Everyone should be practicing yoga as much as possible, but right now it is especially important.
Not only is it a great activity but it also calms you down and relieve stress. It is also a fantastic exercise to do by yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Not only can you literally wear your pajamas, but you don’t have to be worried about being looked at or not being able to get in the positions (even though none of that matters and group classes are fantastic!).
If you’re familiar with yoga, feel free to perform a few sun salutations, and create a nice flow for yourself of some of your favorite moves. I highly recommend finishing with some headstands, or walls stands to work up to it. These are great for relaxation and a fun challenge.
For those new to yoga, you can find videos on YouTube, Netflix, and many other streaming services. Check out SaraBethYoga for a this fantastic beginner yoga sequence.
And if you want a really unique approach to traditional yoga that is male-friendly, check out Diamond Dallas Page’s Yoga flow. It takes traditional yoga movement and positions but uses masculine-friendly terms and phrasing.
And don’t forget to utilize some dynamic stretching routines after your activity, or any time during the day that you’re feeling tight. I try to break up my day with walks and different stretching routines. Check out our post to learn more about the benefits of dynamic stretching.
Body Weight Exercises
Body weight Exercises are the foundation of at-home workouts. They are effective, efficient, require little to no equipment, and can be performed in even the smallest of spaces. If you can stand and bend, you can perform at least a handful of different body weight exercises.
There are the more familiar exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, and planks including tons of variations, and just naming a few. I absolutely love body weight exercises. Paired together and performed quickly, with short rests gives you an amazing workout. I shoot for five exercises for five rounds, with a 10-20 rep range. You can do full body, or focus on individual muscle groups each day.
For low impact, female-friendly body weight exercises I highly recommend @danalandgren on Instagram. She focuses on low impact, pelvic floor-friendly exercises that can be performed at home for any fitness level.
Or you can check out simple graphics like this one at neilarey.com to learn the basic movements and start incorporating them into your own routines.
The best thing about body weight exercises is they can be modified to be easier when you’re starting out, or more difficult as you progress and get stronger.
Many of them require balance and utilize your core muscles, making you even stronger. Just be sure to focus on the mind-muscle connection and isolate each contraction for maximum effectiveness.
My personal favorite exercise activity is dance. I absolutely love to dance, and will do it far longer than any other physical activity. It’s another great solo activity, perfect for your living room. Don’t fear anyone making fun of your lack of coordination, and feel free to get down. Once again I highly recommend The Fitness Marshall for dance fitness.
But there are tons you can find on YouTube, including breakdowns for popular choreography. Feel free to get creative and thrown your own dance party.
It gets your heart rate up super fast and you are more likely to keep doing it for longer, burning even more calories. And remember chairs and counters make fantastic makeshift ballet barres.
Dance & Sports Games
I know, you’re trying to get less screen time, but this is fun and a great activity. There are the obvious video games for dance and sports.
You can find Just Dance for Xbox and tons of sports games on the Wii like bowling and tennis. It’s also a great way to incorporate children or an unwilling spouse.
But beyond the electronic variety, there are all kinds of games to be had. Even just simple fun like your playing a game of pool, handball, catch, tag, tennis, and jumping on a trampoline are fun things to do that can also burn calories.
Most are missing the gym’s weight lifting equipment. If your goal is to build muscle and increase strength, then you need to be lifting weights. Owning at least one set of dumbbells is a great idea.
There are so many different exercises you can do with a simple set of dumbbells. But adding small additions to your home gym arsenal can have huge impact.
Things like bands or ankle weights, are cheap and take up very little room. Yet they are some of the most versatile fitness accessories for any workout.
Simple modifications can be made to most exercises in order to perform them with lighter, smaller weights, or even heavier more awkward ones. Furniture can be a great addition to your home gym, for things like hip thrusts. And literally anything can be used as a weight, like water bottles, bags of dry goods, wine bottles, furniture, children, home decor, and more.
You’ll be surprised how heavy a gallon of water is after a few reps. And don’t be afraid to move your furniture and re-arrange your space to accommodate your movement. You can easily move it back, and it will make things a lot more comfortable and safe.