Many of our lives have been drastically affected by the current measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders, classes at home, advice to practice social distancing, and the closure of gyms and public parks make it difficult to stay active and find motivation to workout. A great body of research shows a link between moderate, regular exercise and increased immune functioning, and so in a time when our personal health can no longer be taken for granted, working out is another thing we can do to minimize our chances of contracting the virus. As an athlete, my spring season was discontinued, but our team has put together a program to stay in-form. Here are some tips I’ve found to be helpful.
Plan out your week and be consistent
Having a training plan and a routine has been really helpful to me. Working out from home has become slightly tedious, so I’ve done my best to minimize any excuses to avoid working out, like I just ate or it’s so late I’ll just do extra tomorrow. Because really, that never happens. Depending on your schedule, try to find a time of day at least two to three hours after your last meal to workout. Research has shown 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week likely has many health benefits, and elevating your heart rate for half an hour is very doable even at home.
Do a HIIT Workout! I started following some HIIT workouts from Fitness Blender. They have copious amounts of videos of varying difficulties, most of which can be done without any equipment and in minimal space. Alternatively, YouTube is another great resource for finding workout inspirations from short cardio circuits to bodyweight strengthening programs.
Walk! Walking may not be the best way to burn calories, but it increases overall blood flow and body temperature. It is a great form of non-energy activity thermogenesis, NEAT for short, which is a great way of maintaining or losing body weight.
Push ups! I’ve started doing push ups every morning before I do anything. I’ve found that they help increase blood flow and help wake me up on days when I have class. They are also possibly the easiest way to build upper body strength without any equipment.
Instagram Live. Since shelter in place orders have forced gyms and workout studios to shut down, many boxing, dance, and yoga classes are being offered on Instagram Live, YouTube, and other forms of social media.
If you have a console, try playing Wii Sports or even Dance Dance Revolution. Everything counts!
Organize a Workout Group
Organize a group of friends and/or family members to encourage each other to workout. While it is not wise to break social distancing to workout with friends, planning walks or workouts with family members can be a great way to motivate yourself and spend time with family. Doing workouts together over Facetime can also be a great way to stay in touch with friends!
Another idea is to create a point system to keep track of how active you’ve been, and if you’re working out with a group, maybe give prizes to the person who accumulated the most points by the end of the week.
I’ve been sheltered in place for over six weeks now. At this point, I’m really feeling the effects of isolation and the lack of social interactions. For those of you who are struggling, please take care of yourself. CAPS is still open if you need any of the resources they provide. While staying active can be really helpful for maintaining overall health, it is really important to listen to our physical and mental cues, and not feel obligated to workout. While the quarantine is a great opportunity to find more time to exercise more, there shouldn’t be any pressure to force yourself to workout to develop an ideal body image. Take care of yourself!