Dr.Amir Neupane, MSK & Sports Medicine
During this pandemic we’re stressed and emotionally exhausted. Moving doesn’t just help you keep fit, it can also help you stay sane and even benefit your gut microbes.
We’d normally burn off some of this stress and pent-up negative emotions by heading to the gym, going to a HIIT class, or jumping in the pool. Regular exercise can help us de-stress and boost our mood, as well as keep our fitness levels up and maintain our health.
However, for many of us, getting our regular dose of exercise the way that we normally would is no longer possible: gyms and pools will remain closed for the foreseeable future and movement outside is limited.
Few of us are lucky enough to have an exercise bike or treadmill at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do around the house or with household objects that will work instead.
Take your lunges indoors if you’re not allowed out
Many of us don’t really consider the fitness benefits of cleaning, but you can actually make it a real workout. Some sources estimate that you can burn a few hundred calories doing routine things like sweeping, mopping, and cleaning the windows, but you’ll have to make a few small adjustments to your cleaning routine:
• stepping into lunges when vacuuming
• side lunges when making the bed
• balancing on your toes to engage your core muscles
Using household objects as weights
If you don’t have your own dumbbells or kettlebells at home, there are some surprising substitutes you can use instead. Bags of rice or flour, tins of beans, and bottled water can all be used as alternatives. If you need something bigger and heavier, you can always fill a carrier bag with items too.
Resistance exercises around your house
Strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility through resistance exercises. In the gym, you might have had various equipment that can help with this, but in your house, you’ll have to get inventive. It’s not impossible though, here are some ideas:
air squats single-leg step-ups
lunges sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
If you’ve got a garden, then your normal maintenance also counts as a workout during lockdown. Squatting while weeding and planting will strengthen your core and glutes, carrying your watering can and various tools will tone your arms, and mowing the lawn is a real cardio workout and great for your heart health.
Virtual fitness classes
The sheer amount of online workout and fitness videos on offer during the coronavirus crisis is extraordinary.
But what we’re seeing more and more is an amazing range of fitness videos cropping up on YouTube and various social media channels. From yoga to fat-burning, HIIT to dance, there really is something for everyone’s tastes and abilities.
Yoga with Adriene or any professional
If the idea of interval training and jumping up and down a lot doesn’t float your boat, then some calming and mindful yoga could be more your thing.
Yoga has a range of health benefits, including increased flexibility and core strength, reduced stress, and better cardiovascular health. And it can easily be done in your own home. Basically, now is the perfect time to try yoga.
There are many different yoga practice videos and channels you can try out, but none compare to Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube channel is hugely popular, and she has a whole library of high-quality free yoga videos where you can find a practice to suit your mood, ability, and journey.
Apps to try
There are a ton of apps that can help with your exercise routine and keeping up with fitness goals. Many of these are free to use — and a lot of the paid premium apps have stopped charging a subscription fee and are now offering free access during the coronavirus pandemic.
Apps like Nike Training Club, Gymshark, and Peloton are now offering free at-home workout videos, live classes, and training programs, as well as tips from trainers and experts. Exercise doesn’t just keep your muscles fit and your cardiovascular system healthy, it even boosts your immune health and your gut microbes.
Exercising during lockdown may not seem like the easiest thing to do, but it is possible. Try out some of the ideas above to fit exercise into your routine while you’re stuck indoors. Your physical and mental health will thank you.