Wow, things have surely changed in the last 3 weeks. What was a vague threat has become a real, though ever-changing danger. Scary times for sure. We don’t know what the future holds and day-to-day facts change and spread. We do know that pre-COVID-19, a lack of exercise and isolation were both societal issues. Voluntary and enforced lockdowns have the potential to exacerbate both.
But all is certainly not lost: we have tools like Amava to keep us in a community and we can still exercise even in the face of lockdowns. And that’s great because in times of stress and uncertainty, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is exercise. We know the benefits; exercise improves quality of life, makes you stronger, boosts energy, and increases endurance. But it’s not just muscles that exercise helps; it’s good for your mental health, too. It improves mood and makes you more resilient – which we all need now more than ever!
So try to do something every day – it will do wonders for you physically and mentally plus it’s something you can control right now when what we can control is limited. If you are like many who are in the habit of getting your regular exercise with others at a gym or a club, social distancing can pose a challenge. But that’s no excuse to slack off. There are plenty of things you can do on your own without special equipment and without leaving your home.
1) Warm Up. Be sure you are properly warmed up and your joints are ready for action before you begin any workout. A simple way to think about warm-ups is that you want to move your body in the same way you plan to workout, but with less force. For instance, a light jog is a good warm-up for a run. Similarly, a good warm-up for an intense bodyweight workout could simply be going through the same series of exercises you plan to do for your workout, but at a lower intensity. Try doing some arm and hip circles followed by 30 seconds of each exercise you are planning to do at a faster rate (ex: 2 sets of 30 seconds each: slow air squats, knee or wall pushups, walking lunges, slow mountain climbers). Once your heart is pumping a bit faster and your body and joints feel ready, it’s time to get down to it!
2) Tabata Workout. Want to get your heart rate pumping while also getting an efficient workout in, time-wise? Try a tabata. Created by Dr Izumi Tabata, the Tabata workout centers around doing a high intensity exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then repeating again for 8 sets total. For instance, see how many times you can squat and tap a chair then stand back up within a 20 second period. Use that number as your goal for the subsequent 7 sets…your quads will thank you! Other simple tabata exercises you could do are push-ups, plank and tricep dips. If you have a jump rope, you can add that into the mix, too. Try putting together 4 or 5 tabata exercises back-to-back with a minute or so to rest in between for a solid 30 minute heart-pumping workout.
3) Play Cards. Jot down a list of 6 to 8 different body weight exercises that you enjoy and grab a deck of cards. Some examples of exercises could be squats, high knees, frog jumps, pushups, plank, hip raises, mountain climbers, burpees and jumping lunges. After warming-up, flip your first card and do exercise number 1 for as many reps as the card dictates, then, flip the second card and do exercise number two for that number of reps. You’ll be surprised how quickly time passes when you’re counting and constantly changing your repetition number.
4) Take a Class Online. There are numerous free and pay per service online options for exercise newbies and enthusiasts alike. For whole body workouts check out Planet Fitness for free live streaming classes at 7pm ET (also saved to their YouTube channel for access any time). The Nike Training App also has free 15, 30 and 45 minute workouts. Want to get your zen on? CorePower Yoga is offering free 30 and 60 minute classes while their studios are closed. Feel like dancing through your quarantine? The dance cardio studio 305 Fitness is offering free classes on their YouTube channel. With gyms closing across the country, many gyms and trainers are switching to streaming options, too, which can help you feel connected socially and also supports small businesses and people feeling the financial crunch acutely during this time. Reach out to your local gym or studio to see what options are available.
Please note: This post is not medical advice. Nothing contained here can prevent or mitigate COVID-19. Please seek medical assistance if you think you are sick and follow Federal and State rules and guidelines for self-quarantining and social distancing. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Kris Jackson is a certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer with a specialty in Behavior Change in Fitness Nutrition through the American Council on Exercise. As the founder of n8Longevity, an app-based virtual health coaching service focused on nutritional accountability, Kris helps clients live long and healthy lives by focusing on food, fitness, and lifestyle choices.