As the world adjusts to life during the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are spending much more time at home than we usually would. Whatever routines we may have had just a few short months ago have had to adapt and change. And current social distancing guidelines meaning that in-person fitness classes are not likely to come back any time soon.
The good news is that there are plenty of exercises you can complete in the comfort of your own home, right now—no fancy equipment required. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your at-home workout.
- Start with bodyweight exercises
Bodyweight exercises are just what they sound like: rather than relying on equipment or weights, they use the weight of your body—like push-ups and sit-ups, for example. This makes them easy to complete pretty much anywhere. (Just don’t forget to stretch first!)
Here are some of the bodyweight exercises most recommended by experts:
- Burpees: Like a squat and push-up combined, the burpee is a full-body exercise in one move. (See visuals and tips on how to perform it here.)
- Mountain climbers: This exercise takes a plank to the next level, engaging your full body with both strength and cardio. (See visuals and tips on how to perform it here.)
- Squats: This exercise targets your lower body, primarily your glutes and thighs, but it can also engage your core and help your overall mobility. (See visuals and tips on how to perform it here.)
- Lunges: This exercise is another great way to work on your lower body as well as your balance. It can also be combined with weights for an upper-body workout at the same time. (See visuals and tips on how to perform it here.)
Try incorporating a few of these exercises into your routine. Some experts recommend choosing about five exercises, doing each one for a minute, and then repeating that set of exercises three to five times.
- Turn everyday household objects into gym equipment
If you’re stuck at home but still want to vary your routine like you would at the gym, there are plenty of ways to use the things around you for a more interesting workout.
- Chair workouts: A chair is an incredibly versatile helper when it comes to at-home exercise. Try using it for exercises like step-ups and triceps dips. You can even use a chair as a guide during your squats: try to stop just before your butt touches the seat.
- Staircase workouts: If you have a staircase in your home, you have everything you need for a variety of workouts. For some intense cardio, try alternating walking, jogging, and running up and down your staircase. You can also use your stairs to assist you during lunges and mountain climbers.
- Everyday objects as weights: No need to stop lifting, even if you don’t own weights: consider using heavy objects like jugs filled with water to keep up with your weight training. You can also keep practising your form by lifting something like a broomstick instead of a barbell. Even if they’re not as heavy as you would normally prefer at the gym, experts suggest that using these sorts of methods can be a big help in keeping you on track until your regular training can resume.
- Consult the Internet for easy-to-follow routines
From livestreamed yoga classes to instructional fitness videos, the Internet is full of resources to help you make an at-home plan and stick to it.
If you find the variety of workouts out there overwhelming and need some help deciding what exactly to do, consider trying an at-home workout routine that sets out a specific plan for you to follow. Or search YouTube for an instructor who motivates you.
- Remember: The first step is always the hardest
When it comes to working out, one of the hardest parts is simply getting started. And in a time of unusual stress and uncertainty like now, it can be especially difficult to find the motivation for—well—anything.
If you’re having trouble getting into an at-home exercise routine, you are not alone. Here are a few tips to help you conquer that mental block:
- Just do a few minutes. If you can’t seem to summon the motivation to do a full workout, try just doing some exercise for a few minutes, with the permission to quit after that. It can be a lot easier to get started when you know that all you’re signing up for is a couple of quick and easy squats—and much of the time, you’ll find that once you’ve gotten yourself started, you will suddenly find the motivation to continue longer than you expected. (But if you find yourself tapping out after those first few minutes—hey, that’s okay. The important thing is that you stayed in the routine, and you can try again tomorrow.)
- Celebrate your progress. It’s okay to start small—the most important thing is that you got started. Don’t worry about how many sets you can do relative to anyone else. Instead, focus on how many push-ups, squats, or burpees you can do today, and then see if you can best that number by just one tomorrow. In time, you’ll be amazed by how far you come. Each step is worthy of celebrating!
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