Updated: Aug 18
You might be thinking even though you know how important physical exercise is, you cannot hit the gym these days or go for outdoor sports, attend group classes or go for a walk.
But I think we should get used to the "new normal", adapt according to the situation and make the gym at home. At last, it's the survival of the fittest!
1. Make a schedule
Prepare a chart and include different exercises and make schedules for the week. If you work on the weekdays, make use of 5-10 minutes on Sunday, schedule your break times and the exercise you want to do on each day. If you are a person who has so much time right now, make elaborate plans for home workouts and other things. Now you have a start! Don't forget to try to keep up with it.
2. Walk inside the house
If you think you cannot make it outside, use the available space inside the house and walk. Not the normal walk, do a brisk walk which is very effective. A normal walk does not make you sweat, our purpose is to raise our heart rate above the normal. You can even jog or run if you have enough area, it is a good cardio exercise. Jumping rope is another option for having a healthy heart rate and it can do wonders by building strength and toning muscles.
3. Make use of available things
If you do not own any exercise weights, you can be creative. You can use a bucket of water or a heavy bag for shoulder press and other workouts. During my first two months, I used two dictionaries instead of dumbells. You can have a look around, you might get inspired.
If you do not like an intense workout, you can always try yoga.
Yoga not only helps in stretching but also mentally relaxes you a lot.
Tai chi is also good for body and mind. It is a Chinese martial art that is good for defence training with health benefits. It is also a movement meditation (that is craaaaazy!).
You can also do pilates which concentrates on muscular strength and flexibility.
At the current moment, there are many individuals and companies that give free classes in yoga/pilates. Cult Fit has amazing meditation, yoga, home workout programmes which you could try.
5. Strength Training and HIIT
Strength training is to develop the strength of particular muscle groups, builds endurance and improves fitness. You can work on each muscle group or combine them in different ways. For a normal person, 3-4 sets(cycles) of 10-12 reps (counts) of selected exercise can be done. Key exercises are:
straight leg deadlifts
exercise ball crunches
You can read more and understand these exercises at Healthline and plan workouts at home. If you want to burn a real good amount of calories, then you can turn to High-intensity interval training (HIIT). Jumping jacks, burpees, sprints etc. are good weight loss exercises at home. Youtube channels and other google sites can help you to get free HIIT plans. But if you would like to get personalised workouts plans and diet charts, trainers from gyms can be approached. They give real results and they know better. Fuerza: Fitness Centre is one of those who give good online personal training. During these days even celebrity trainers and fitness companies like Under Armour are doing classes and gives workout ideas for free.
6. Some grooving to music!
If you think all of the above workouts are boring, you can just turn on some music and start grooving to it.
You do not have to be a professional to dance. Dance is in our nature, so just move as you like and dance is an excellent aerobic exercise. But for proper burn out of calories, you can try structured dancing. Like in Zumba, dance workouts or aerobics dance workout which helps in attaining a healthy heart rate.
What about combining yoga and dance to get the fun of dancing, health benefits of yoga and burn some fat? Yes, that's totally possible! You should try Stretch N Dance for that. It is a routine with a good mix of power stretches and dancing that supports in gaining flexibility, strength building and cardio for the body. Click here to know more about Stretch N Dance.
7. Make use of your short breaks
If you are working from home and you have no time at all to take out for workout or exercise, make use of your short breaks. The 10 minutes you might have before a zoom call or the tea break, use it wisely and do some walk, do one rep of squats, do some stretching, 5 minutes dancing to your favourite music or short jogging. Use your break to increase your heart rate above normal and after that 10 minutes of exercise, you can feel refreshed with increased alertness and energy. You might get your colleagues' appreciation too for the enthusiasm you have!
8. Track your daily activity
You might forget about your physical movement during the current chaos with work from home, homeschooling (that is a tough one!), the noise inside the house, daily chores etc. So it is always good to check your physical activity using your Fitbit, phone software, smartwatches and other gadgets (really, the technology is great!). This might help you to understand how much you should concentrate on your exercise.
9. Household exercise!
Household chores can be exercise if you think ways to do it. Do some gardening, sweeping, mopping, carry water etc. All this counts as exercise at home. People from old times spend more time in housework and they have always been healthier than the current generation.
"It is health that is real wealth,
Not pieces of gold and silver."
... Mahatma Gandhi🍁
How to get motivated?
You might be thinking, "C'mon I know all this, but I am not getting the push!". Sounds familiar?
We are not motivated 24X7, we all have those days when we just like to sit in front of the TV, binge-watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S or Money Heist and not move your butt at all. That is all fine!
But we should make sure you are getting enough movement during the week. Even I push my workout to the next day, but I keep a record of my physical activity.
So how can you motivate yourself?
▪️Track your week
As I have mentioned before, keep a track of your week by seeing how many steps you hit each day or calories you burnt. If you think you need improvement, make a schedule and set small goals.
Nothing huge but small ones. Why shoot at the moon and feel disappointed? Better reach a tree and enjoy the moment! 😃
▪️Enjoy the process
Workout or home exercise becomes a burden when you think it as a task, like a deadline. Enjoy working out, play some music you like and do what you could do. Do not be hard on yourself, that's the job of your boss! 😄
Love the moment and do what you like.
▪️Nothing more fun than a group
These days you cannot have any group workouts or classes, but you can turn your family to a workout group.
Doing exercises together with your family can be motivating and fun-filled. Correct and help each other so you can improve and also build stronger relationships. If workouts are boring, do some sport together, play football or basketball or just catching a ball. You can find ways to do different group physical activities. Group activities are not just motivating but they have proven benefits.
▪️Online Social groups
Make a Whatsapp group with your friends where you can share articles, workouts and ideas. You can do a virtual workout which could be fun. You can start fun games or challenges too. Use exercise apps and exercise videos and plan a group workout.
If you think you need a trainer or a professional to guide you, join group training. These days all the trainers are doing online courses and virtual training. It can be fun and helpful. Having a personal trainer also can guide you to set goals according to your work and time. Accountability can help you to stay motivated.
You just have to prioritise and utilise the time, space and opportunities around for keeping yourself fit and healthy. Even the World Health Organisation promotes physical activity and fitness during this time of social- distancing, READ HERE for the guide.
Till next time,
If you have not read about the benefits of exercise on mental health, here you go!