Each one of us knows by now that the current pandemic has resulted in multiple and abrupt lockdown curfews. And if you are one of those people who endeavor to remain fit and active by working out regularly, then it is certain that the pandemic has made you run out of options to exercise outside. Gyms are shut, parks and playgrounds are unsafe sites and whatnot. Think about all the time that you are saving by not having to commute to the gym. All in all, working out at home is the only viable way to continue the fitness regime. Either we can continue to complain about the limitations or figure out the best way possible with the available resources. Now, this piece is for the ones who’d pick up the latter. We have put together a bunch of tips that can not only help you improve your stay-at-home fitness regime but also help you get closer to your fitness goals. Let’s get started!
Clear out a good amount of space to facilitate free movement:
Choose a place in the house that you can reserve for your daily workout without having to move objects every day. Make sure that this dedicated space does not hinder your movement in any way. For example, when you do jumping jacks, you should be able to move your hands freely with a maximum range of motion. It is also essential to assess that you don’t end up tripping or slipping on the floor. If this is something that seems impossible, get a mat that comes with non-slip padding at the bottom. If there are more members who exercise regularly and there is limited space, try to work out at different times of the day.
The right gear still has a major role to play:
Yes, you might have been able to jump right out of your bed and begin exercising without having to change out of your comfortable nightwear. But this is something that you must avoid. Activewear clothing has a specific purpose to fulfill, which is not just about looking good in the gym. They are designed to induce flexibility and improve your movement by being breathable and lightweight. Getting into the right clothing for your workout will also give you more confidence, prepare you for a good workout, and push you into the right frame of mind.
Wearing the right pair of shoes is also equally important. It is advisable to not use your running shoes for a workout like HIIT or strength training. More so because the wrong choice of shoes might not offer the required amount of stability and lateral support.
Should you or should you not invest in home gym equipment:
This decision is governed entirely by your fitness goals. How intense they are! If you are looking at staying fit and active, you might not want to immediately buy equipment. They are tonnes of workout routines that just need your body weight and can cause you to sweat profusely. Pick up one set of routines and stick to it in order to get the effect of it rolling on your body. Once you feel you have aced it you can get some gym equipment home. However, if you are looking at specific goals like bodybuilding and athletic performance, setting up a home gym seems like a great idea. If you are just getting started, get fitness equipment like kettlebells, foam rollers, resistance bands, and dumbbells.
Plan your work and your workout:
This is kind of the most important one! Just like how you plan your professional meetings and appointments, a similar approach is required when it comes to exercising. Depending on how your day looks, given the household chores, family time, and the infamous ‘me-time, assess how much time you can dedicate to working out. You might also want to assess the intensity with which you can work out so that it does not interfere with other priorities in life. Once there is a time frame to consider, see what works best for you. Is it a quick 8-10 minute bodyweight workout or a 1-hour long session of yoga that fits the bill? Take that call mindfully.
To further help you decide, check these videos:
Basis your circumstances, set realistic goals focusing on activities you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you start small, celebrate your successes, and build up gradually. Another important factor is which part of your day accommodates your workout. Some prefer a morning workout in order to get energized right at the beginning of the day. Others take to working out in the evening once to end the day on a high note. Whichever suits you! What’s important is to stay consistent.
Sign up with an instructor personally or join a group:
Staying at home has indefinitely pushed our mental sanity into a confused state. In such conditions, it is quite possible and natural to experience a lack of self-motivation. You might be consistently chanting in your conscience - tomorrow is the day when I start! But that tomorrow might actually not show up any time soon. To combat this intelligently, it is a safe choice to enroll with a fitness coach or join a fitness group. There are innumerable options available, just one search on Instagram, and boom! You will be offered a plethora of available options to choose from. See what you want to achieve and narrow down your choices. Try taking a few trial classes if need be. Post that depending upon how much you are willing to spend, sign up for the relevant option. Now, what does this do? It makes you answerable to someone. By doing this you mentally train yourself to stay consistent. When there is a two-way interaction between you and an instructor, there is a sense of encouragement that kicks in. Make the most of it.
Make your fitness routine a mix of workouts to keep it fun:
To break the monotony in your workouts, make an interesting mix out of it. Focus a Monday on cardio, Tuesday and Thursday for yoga, Wednesday for abs, and Friday for the lower body. Reserve the weekends for something even more interesting such as Zumba or any other sort of dance fitness. This approach can prove to be functional in two ways. Firstly, this can ensure your overall health and well-being of the body by distributing the impact to all the body parts. Secondly, it makes you want to work out. Psychologically, the variety in it will make you look forward to it. To achieve this try to find a free video online, subscribe to a YouTube channel, or download an app to guide you through home workouts.
Incorporate more movement into your day:
As a result of the lockdown, you might be spending more and more time sitting—watching TV, working at the computer, attending online meetings. Even with such a sedentary lifestyle, there are ways by which you can try to incorporate more movement into your day. Come to see with this perspective - exercise is a lifestyle choice rather than a designated event. Getting up every 30 minutes for a quick bout of activity can add up over the day. Here are some ways to do it:
- Intersperse household chores into your sitting time: broom a room, scrub a sink, clear the clutter in the balcony, or wipe down your appliances.
- Move around while you are on a call, stand for an online meeting, do squats or lunges while you’re waiting for a meeting to start, or jumping jacks in front of the TV during the commercials
- If feasible, go up and down on the staircase thrice a day at one go. A great way to impart movement in the whole body.
You will notice the larger impact of these small bursts of exercises as they gradually build up your stamina and mobility thereby preparing you for the bigger movements. As your joints open up, muscles become more flexible, your body will be able to accommodate the more difficult challenges ahead. Eventually, the range of motion will also be enhanced.
Listen to your body at all times and do not overstretch:
With the pandemic upon us, running to a doctor for smaller concerns is something you might want to avoid. Staying at home is probably the best shield to save you from contracting the virus. Thus, while working out from home, it is extremely crucial that you ensure energy preservation. Note the signals that your body gives you and remember to not over-exert. You can either rest out a day or reduce the intensity of your workout. For example, instead of pulling off a low plank for 120 seconds, try doing it for only 90 seconds. Sometimes you might find yourself getting over-enthusiastic and going overboard. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Complete the due course of time to get where you want.
Even when you work around these tips that can enhance your stay-at-home workouts, there might be some questions that can linger in your head. It is perfectly fine to have these doubts. What’s even more perfect is to address them and find a solution for them. From the top of our heads, here are some.
How can you prepare your body for exercise?
During the course of the day, don’t forget to hydrate yourself optimally. Sweating is your body’s way of keeping itself cool while working out. This results in loss of moisture from the body. Therefore make sure that your body has the right amount of water to be able to comfortably exhaust it. Eating right is tremendously important. Consume more carbohydrates before working out so that your body carries the calories that it can burn. Consume more proteins after the workout to furnish the recovery of the muscles. You can find some interesting pre and post-workout meal options right here.
Can you actually lose weight or become fit by exercising at home?
Absolutely affirmative! Eat healthily, stay consistent at exercising and get ample rest. If these three steps are taken ideally, then there is absolutely no barrier that can withstand you from losing weight and becoming fitter. None of these can work independently to draw you closer to your fitness goals. What combines these factors is your mental strength. Turning away from junk food and not getting lazy to exercise every day is really a choice that your mind makes, especially in those moments when you want to just go easy on yourself. Be prudent and remind yourself why you started in the first place.
Is exercising possible without equipment?
Yes, it is, not being able to go to a gym and giving up on working out is an excuse that you can’t make. Why? Because your body weight is one of the most interesting tool that you can use while exercising. To name a few, lunges, burpees, squats, planks, and push-ups are examples of movements that use the weight of your body alone to create the right effect on your body. If you can do 10 repetitions, aim for 20. If you can do 20 repetitions in 2 minutes, try achieving the same in 1.5 minutes. Challenge yourself and get better at it every day.
When circumstances make it difficult for you to partake in your favorite forms of exercise, it’s normal to feel a little frustrated. Don’t beat yourself up but keep experimenting with new workouts until you find something that you enjoy. And if you feel your motivation to get moving starts to flag, focus on how much better you will feel after even a little exercise.