Gym closures and quarantine mandates are forcing people to make changes to their otherwise well-managed workout routines. Exercise is especially important right now because it provides a boost to your mood and keeps your muscles activated. It’s easy to become couch-bound or desk-bound and get into a habit of reaching for snacks throughout the day. Scientific studies have found that exercise can reduce anxiety and provide therapeutic effects; providing a sense of normalcy for your life. We want to assist you by offering a couple of simple and effective home exercises you can do with little or no equipment.
While any movement is always better than none, there are certain foundational exercises that need to be performed in order to improve strength, mobility, and better balance. Do a few repetitions when you get out of bed in the morning, during a commercial break, or while walking to the kitchen.
Stand in front of a sturdy chair with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart. Your heels should be about six inches in front of the chair, arms held straight out in front of your shoulders. Brace your core. From here, slowly bend your knees and push your hips back to lower your body onto the chair. Pause, then press through the back two-thirds of your feet to stand up again. That’s one rep. Aim for two or three sets of 10 reps total per day. Try not to swing your torso for momentum or use your hands to push back up. Make it harder by pulsing a couple of inches over the seat with your weight in your heels. Squats really are the most important exercise anyone can do for their body. If you are looking for a fun dance style routine, Sherry Zak Morris creates some energizing workouts you can do at home while smiling the whole way through! Check her out here:
In all its forms, walking is a must-do daily activity. This variation will require holding a light weight in each hand–feel free to use any household items like canned goods or shampoo bottles–it will help to train your upper body and core strength. Mastering it can improve your ability to perform almost any other exercise and activity that life throws at you. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and a weight in each hand down by your sides, palms facing you. Brace your core and slowly walk forward. Imagine a string pulling you up through the crown of your head creating an upright spine. Walk the length of the room, then repeat in the opposite direction. If you want to make this more difficult, use heavier weights – as this increases the load in glutes, core and leg muscles—and as an added benefit will be a great way to improve your grip strength. Enjoy the Walk-Off method as you continue to be more comfortable with this workout form:
“Low impact” exercise means one foot is always in contact with the ground–this is especially helpful if you have joint issues. You can still work at high intensity with low impact. Raising the heart rate for at least 20 minutes daily can make your heart stronger, help you to burn fat and stay fit. With this, It is also very important that you stretch before and after each session to save yourself from waking up the following day in pain. Yoga is a very useful practice that can alleviate anxiety and excess tension. If you got out of bed this morning and stretched your arms up over your head, congrats, you already did a yoga pose! Yoga introduces mindfulness to stretching helping you notice your alignment and how the positions feel in your body. Try this deep stretch practice for the legs, back, and hips. Lean in, breathe deep, stretch it out here:
Creating a space in your home that is dedicated to exercise is critical to making it work–Maybe close to the window to let some natural light in, or on your porch surrounded by plants. It will mitigate any potential distractions and hopefully get you excited to workout. Having this space will also help you get in the right mindset by setting the mood for your workout. You may not be ready to jump right into a virtual workout, but thankfully you get to do it on your own time. In this current state, social media and online platforms are going to be the best way to get your sweat on. Utilize this time to explore what workouts best suit you. The support and atmosphere you get in these online forums are obviously different–yet maybe they could provide you the same kind of community and accomplished feeling you might normally receive in person–and that is powerful.