We may be slowly making our way out of the worst of the pandemic isolation and non-essential business closures, but many people are still reluctant to return to their pre-COVID gym memberships. For some, this reluctance is driven by a concern over potential COVID transmission, while for others, an expensive membership no longer feels necessary - or justifiable.
According to some sources, interest in home gym equipment soared more than 340% in the months after the onset of the pandemic. For most of us, working from home 5 days/week meant more time available to focus on those areas we’d previously struggled to incorporate into our daily routines – exercise, cooking, reading, watching tv. For perhaps the first time in the modern business landscape, the question for working professionals became not how to find the time to exercise, but rather what to do and how to do it.
If you are still not sure how to structure your own home workout sessions, a few tips to get you started on creating your own home-based fitness routine:
· Schedule your workouts: used to have a barre class at 6pm on Thursdays that you never missed? Same goes for your home workouts. Set appointments on your phone. If you treat working out as non-negotiable, it will BE non-negotiable.
· Enlist your partner/spouse, roommate, kids, dog, cat…workout partners mean accountability, and you’re more likely to enjoy exercise if you can share the misery….erm, JOY…of it with someone(s) else. If nobody in your home will join, the wonders of Zoom mean you can enlist friends.
· Be realistic with your time: if you aren’t a regular workout warrior already, don’t start with a 60-minute block. Start with 15 minutes, build to 20, 30, etc.
· Split up your workouts: set a 15-minute workout reminder for 10am, and another for 3pm. Literally every minute you spend exercising is a net positive, and you’re more likely to stick with a few short workouts than one longer, grueling session.
· Really dig yoga but can’t drag yourself to the 6am class at your local studio? Now is the perfect time to try new classes, as you can find literally any workout online – usually for free. And you will have a far easier time sticking with a fitness routine if you dread working out only slightly less than a root canal…
· Create a dedicated space: you don’t need a fancy home gym, or an entire room dedicated only to exercise. But you DO need a corner, or a space in front of the tv. Of course, how much space you need depends on what exercise(s) you’re doing. So if your exercise of choice is running, the great outdoors await!
· Speaking of which. Yes, social distancing is still a thing, so maybe stay away from the most congested parts of the local trails. That said, there are plenty of routes you can run/walk that do allow for reasonable distancing. And, because many of us are still working from home right now, not everyone is exercising at the same time anymore, so play around with your timing to find the right schedule for you.
· Push yourself. Seriously. To borrow from Nike: Just. Do. It. You have the time, there are plenty of free work-out apps and videos, and there also happen to be a wealth of virtual fitness challenges out there – check out active.com, for one. So take this once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) opportunity to really push yourself physically.
· Grab every chance you get – have 20 minutes before your next meeting and feeling sluggish? Do a quick set of push-ups, jumping jacks, and crunches. Taking the dog out for a quick walk before dinner? What’s the rush? Why not add an extra block or two to your route?
Stuck in a workout rut? A few ideas of ways to get your fitness in without requiring complicated equipment:
· Walk or jog around the block. Can’t yet jog the whole way? Do informal Fartleks, a Swedish term for speed play. How to do it: walk from lamp post to driveway, then jog from driveway to the next fence, then walk to the corner, then jog to the next lamppost, and so on.
· Bike ride! The bike trails are open, and biking is one of those activities that is naturally physically distanced. Take the whole family – even an easy, slow ride is exercise in the bank.
· Set up an obstacle course with the kids. Or jump rope. Or skip. Or challenge the kids to races – they naturally have a lot of energy, so live vicariously through them!
· For a quick, effective indoor workout, try this (all you need is a bit of space and perhaps a towel or mat if your floor is not carpeted):
o Pick your work-out length: 10 minutes, 15, 20, 30…
o Pick your on/off ratio: 30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of rest, 45/15, 60/20, 100/30, etc.
o Now, do as many repetitions of each of the following exercises in that “on” period, and keep cycling through the exercises until you’ve completed your target workout length.
§ Push-ups (knee push-ups)
§ Jumping Jacks
§ Walking lunges
§ Squats (and any variation of these)
§ Bicycle Crunches
§ Plank/Side Planks
§ Jog in Place
§ High Knees
And last but not least, hop to it! There’s no time like the present to get moving for your health.