We are nearly a year into the pandemic, which has all but frozen life as we used to know it. It has required a shift in thinking, and a transition to doing most everything at home: work, school, and even exercise. Most gyms across the country are either still closed or operating at extremely limited capacity, and many people feel more comfortable working out from the comfort of their own homes until herd immunity is achieved in the United States.
But how can you get a good, full-body workout at home, when time, space, and equipment is limited? These are our top tips.
Keep a Routine
The best workout is the one you’ll do consistently, and that means making your exercise time routine. It should be no different than when you would typically go to a physical gym: exercise should happen during the same time and in the same place every day.
This also helps create boundaries with work and family. If you go to the garage every morning at 6 a.m. for dedicated “gym” time, the kids will soon learn that you’re not available to play then. Alternatively, if you block out 20 minutes at noon every day for a run on your Outlook calendar, your boss is much less likely to schedule impromptu meetings during that time.
Also, it’s important to know yourself. If you’re a morning person and start to fade around dinnertime, don’t wait to get your exercise in after the kids go to sleep. By prioritizing your exercise time and making it routine, you’re guaranteed to make it a habit that will stick.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Adjusting to home workouts does not need to be complicated. You can start small with Youtube yoga and dance videos, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, and even meditation to deal with stress. Listening to Spotify or Pandora while working out can help bring fresh music to your routine, too.
Accumulating some at-home gym equipment can also keep you stimulated and less likely to become bored.
Michelle, from Madison, Wisconsin, says that she uses the Nike training app religiously, as it helps prevent ennui and always mixes up workouts. The app comes with multi-week programs, including a prescribed series of workouts, nutrition tips, and wellness guidance to help users build healthy habits. Each flexible program is led by a Nike Master Trainer and is created to cater to those working out at home.
Additionally, Michelle recommends Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, which replace 15 sets of weights! The weights adjust from 5 up to 52.5 lbs each. By easily turning the dial you can change the resistance, enabling you to gradually increase your strength.
Ryan, from Albany, New York, uses the Bowflex C6 bike in combination with the Peloton app (which is just $15 per month!). The bike has 100 levels of resistance, just like the Peloton bike, but is half the cost, so you can follow along to Peloton workouts while saving a ton of money.
If you’re not into collecting a ton of equipment but want to build strength and get your heart rate up, simply investing in a kettlebell and a jump rope can be all you need to take squats and lunges to the next level.
If you don’t want to buy all new equipment for your home, see if you can crowdsource some from friends and family. Pool resources together, and share weights, a rack, a bicycle, treadmill, or other equipment, to make assembling an at-home gym more affordable.
Jennifer, from Des Moines, Iowa, says, “My sister lives across town and has a great treadmill in her garage. She works the night shift and I work during the day, so will pop on over to her house to get a run in on cold mornings while she’s still at work. It works perfectly.”
Some people have even had luck renting equipment or even borrowing equipment from their gyms while they are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Jessica, from Boulder, Colorado, says. “I emailed my local rec center, and they’ve let me borrow some heavier kettlebells that would have been prohibitively expensive to buy. They let members borrow equipment for 72 hours, which works perfectly to spice up my workout routines.”
Find an Accountability Buddy
No one is inspired to exercise all the time. Having a friend or family member checking in with you to make sure you’re meeting your fitness goals can be a crucial nudge to help you stick to your routine. Perhaps you have a weekly check-in call with a friend every Friday to review what you did to get your heart pumping, or you email different workout plans to each other every week to stay motivated.
If you feel safe enough to do so, maybe you meet someone for a walk each weekend, to get fresh air and a change of scenery. Whatever you do, it should help you stay motivated, not hinder your progress.
Even if your accountability buddy isn’t actively trying to improve their fitness or lose weight, they could benefit too: a recent study showed that when 130 couples were tracked over six months, the accountability buddy not actively trying to lose weight had success in some weight loss too, if their partner was on an exercise plan.
Make It Fun!
In this strange time, it’s important to make exercise fun. Have goals and work hard to meet them, but make sure to celebrate your progress, too. Maybe you’re trying to deadlift 150 lbs, lower your HbA1c, do twenty weighted lunges in a row, or run a faster mile.
If and when you meet those goals, celebrate them! This may look different in 2021, but ordering takeaway coffee from a favorite coffee shop, ordering your favorite candle online, or buying a new swimsuit are all well-deserved awards for hard work put in at home.
Working out at home does not need to be boring or uninspired. With these tips, you can keep your fitness levels high, stay motivated, save money, and get healthier, even during the quarantine. Remember to always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Have you been working out at home during the pandemic? How is it going for you? What strategies or advice would you give others? Share this post and comment below!
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