If you’re staying at home and practicing social distancing, we applaud you. We also understand that it can be difficult to be cooped up at home, especially for those who love to live an active lifestyle. For a self-professed gym junkie, not being able to go and get your workout in can be torture, but of course it’s understandable to be reluctant, as gyms and workout spaces are hotbeds of germs and nearly impossible to stay socially distant.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get exercise at home, and different ways to be creative about it. No matter what your movement of choice is, you can find ways to adapt and do your workouts from your house, or outside (if you live in a rural area where privacy is an option). We’ve laid out a few of these options below.
Yoga/Pilates/Aerobics and More
These are exercises and practices that have been done at home for years, so you shouldn’t have any trouble adapting to doing these at home, while still getting all of the benefits.
While you may have enjoyed doing yoga in a studio, you can easily do your poses from home, with the aid of youtube videos, apps, books, DVDs and other mediums. The same goes for aerobics, pilates, dance routines and many other exercises. You can subscribe to sites like Daily Burn for instruction or go the freebie route.
If you’re lacking equipment, such as yoga mats, weights, and other aids, you can actually fashion them from things you have at home. It’s easier than you think! Rolled up towels can be used for mats, or you can sew your own using one of the many online tutorials available. For other exercise aids, or even more heavy duty exercise equipment, you can use regular old household items that you have laying around, or fashion them using online patterns and DIY tutorials.
Homemade weights can be fashioned out of anything, so long as you’re safe. Everything from canned goods, to water bottles to jugs of cleaning products can be used for weights, or cleaned out and filled with weighted items. To find weights of all shapes and sizes, look no further than your kitchen – you can use anything from a cast iron skillet (seriously; those things are heavy) to bags of rice and flour, and so much more.
You can also literally make exercise equipment with things like weighted beads and more. The sky is the limit; all you need is some creativity and time.
If you live in a rural enough area, or have the ability to get outside while still practicing distancing, it’s a great idea to get outside for some exercise. Getting some much-needed Vitamin D in the form of sunlight plus fresh air can do your body and your mind good.
Activities such as basketball, volleyball, skateboarding and other activities can be done right in your own yard, with a family member or even solo. Gardening can be more strenuous than you think, or you may want to indulge your inner child by jumping on the trampoline or splashing around in your inground pool.
More advanced exercises include going for a run or jog, taking a cycling trip around the neighborhood, or going hiking in a nearby park (if allowed). Getting your heart pumping, endorphins flowing and your body moving at a brisk pace is really good for you. All of these exercises will reward you mentally as well as physically, making you feel happy and healthy.
Follow all safety procedures when exercising outside: wear helmets when applicable, knee pads and well-fitting shoes and athletic gear, and never go running cycling by yourself without using your GPS or letting someone know where you’re going. When hiking, watch out for wildlife and bring safety precautions with you.
If you’ve often thought about buying an exercise bike, treadmill, weight bench or elliptical and just never found a way to justify the expense, or worried that you would let it collect dust – why not revisit now? It might just be the best time to invest in some exercise equipment you’ve always been wanting. After all, when could be a better time than now to create that home gym in the basement you’ve always wanted?
Exercise equipment is surprisingly affordable these days – you can find used sets all over the place for reasonable prices, and many, newer high-tech exercise manufacturers offer payment plans and discounts at certain times of the year. Check into pricing for these and see what fits your budget. Looking online can be an option, too – check apps and websites that specialize in used equipment.
Creating a home gym can be a really fun, rewarding experience (not to mention a great investment to your home) and it can be done affordably and creatively. Lots of people have made really great gym spaces in their home on a budget and with only a little room to work with. With just a few key pieces of equipment and some innovation you and the whole family will be working out in style in no time at all.
As you already know most likely, safety is key when exercising at home. Make sure any used equipment you buy is in good working order, undamaged and safe to use. Make sure everything is installed and assembled properly; hire a professional if you need to. Making sure everything you exercise on is safe and secure is very, very important.
Family Oriented Exercise
Sometimes, you just want a little low impact, gentle exercise with the family member or a beloved pet.
You’d be surprised at how beneficial a brisk, easy walk around the blog with your dog can be. Or a spot of gardening on a sunny afternoon. Even wading in the family pool for an hour can get your heart rate going and boost your happiness. If you take the time to think outside the box, you can find creative and fun ways to engage the entire family, and your pets too, in some fun and beneficial exercise.
In downtime, and especially in times of stress, kids can become listless. It’s no surprise if you’ve found that your child always has a screen in his or her face and wants to do little other than watch TV or play video games. Of course you want to keep them moving and active, not only for their physical health but to keep them mentally engaged, too. Luckily, there are lots of fun and creative ideas to do just that. Now is a great time to teach a child how to play a sport like tennis or basketball, or to help them learn to ride a bike. Bring them on runs or show them how to ride the exercise bike (safely). Sharing your love of exercise with your kids will benefit them in many ways.
Look for creative ways to get your kids moving – innovative dance contests, games of hopscotch and jumping jacks, impromptu races in the backyard, a family game of touch football – these are all ways to get your kids off the couch and moving around in ways that are fun and exciting.
Exercise is So Important
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what exercises you choose to do, whether they are inside or outside, solo or with family, strenuous or more casual. The key thing is that you keep moving, keep your body engaged, and stay as active as you can. This is so much more important than just losing a little weight or trying to stay “fit” (that means something different for everyone, after all). It’s about staying mentally well, too, by being active, changing your surroundings and engaging your entire body in something beneficial. In times like these, that’s more important than ever.
When you exercise, you feel better about yourself. This is partly due to the release of endorphins, and your heart pumping all that extra blood, but it’s also a mental thing, a mindset. When you do good things for your body, you feel good about yourself. You feel taken care of, nurtured and healthy. The numbers don’t matter, the scale doesn’t matter – all that matters is that you’re taking care of you. You’re out moving and doing things that are good for your body and mind.
Get the most out of your exercise by also living healthfully and mindfully in other areas. Eat nutritious foods, cooking at home when you can, and while junk food is fine in moderation, try to limit the amount of sugar, salt, processed foods and alcohol you consume. Don’t neglect your water intake, try to get enough sleep, and don’t neglect your self-care. All of these lifestyle choices, when done in conjunction with healthy exercise, can help you feel so much more energetic, alert, and cheerful. Your body and your mind will thank you.
So let’s get moving, shall we?