It has been over a year since we have started to live with the pandemic. Gyms in most areas are still closed because of the lockdown. Since many of us are staying indoors for most of our time, it has become more critical than ever to stay healthy and strong.
Some may find it a bit difficult to stay in shape without going to the gym. Yes, if you do not have an indoor gym with some equipment, you won’t be able to do some workouts; however, you still can do a lot of cardio and a lot of exercises at home and stay fit.
And, since at-home workouts have become extremely popular these days, you are bound to find an instructor and a routine that suits your goals.
Why Should You Stay Active During The Lockdown
The lockdowns have not been kind to everyone. Staying at home for days or even weeks can be stressful. You may typically not work out much at home, and this lack of physical activity could be making you sick and weaker.
Low levels of physical activity can also affect your mental health. One of the best ways to deal with this pandemic is to remain calm, have a healthy immune system, and do everything you can to boost your mood.
Daily exercise and relaxation techniques can be extremely helpful in helping you remain calm and rebalance your sense of wellbeing. Even WHO recommends that we perform moderate-intensity workouts of 150 minutes or vigorous-intensity workouts of 75 minutes every week.
Luckily, we can do that indoors without heavy equipment. We can do all that and more only if we plan, stick to a routine, and stay motivated to perform these exercises regularly. It will be the same as going to the gym, but you can do it in the comfort of your home.
How Exercise Can Affect your Immune System
We all know that regular exercise can keep us fit and active. It does so by strengthening our muscles, increasing our endurance, and boosting our immune system. A strong and healthy immune system leads to a happier life since you will be less prone to various diseases.
Daily physical activities can flush out bacteria from your lungs. This strengthens your immune systems and reduces the chances of common colds and flu. Regular exercise also enhances the white blood cell activity in your body. When white blood cells circulate within your body more rapidly, they can detect diseases or any kind of illness in their earliest stages.
As you work out, you sweat, and your body temperature also rises. This short rise in body temperature also stops the growth of bacteria and infections. Most importantly, exercise helps reduce the release of stress hormones. Instead, it releases endorphins which trigger positivity and a sense of wellbeing.
How To Stick To Your Exercise Plan
Committing to an exercise plan is much harder than it sounds. You have to actively work on staying motivated and stick to your routine every day. But there are some things you have to consider. For instance, you have to think about your strength, stamina levels, how much time you can afford to spend on your exercise, and whether you have any health conditions.
You have to consider all these things when you plan an exercise routine – that is achievable, realistic, and challenging. Setting unrealistic expectations will result in failures that will demotivate you, which will inevitably make you abandon the exercise routine.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you stay motivated with your exercise routine-
1. Set Realistic Goals
You can not expect to get huge results in just a week or two. You have to be realistic and set milestones in your plan. Start with a 7-day plan, then slowly make your monthly goals.
And instead of having a vague goal like “stay in shape,” be more specific with your routine. For instance, try completing a routine with 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, followed by a 30-minute jog on the treadmill. Be specific and realistic about your goals.
Decide what you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to increase strength and endurance, lose weight, or just want to work on specific muscles. Whatever the case, make sure the goal is specific and realistic.
2. Keep Track Of Your Progress
Many people slack off or even quit their routine when they do not see progress. If you do not have a solid track record, you might feel discouraged to continue your exercise routine.
If you planned out your own routine, you could keep track of it by making a checklist. Simply check if you have performed all the sets accordingly and take weekly measurements if you exercise to lose weight. The best way to keep track would be to use apps.
No matter what type of exercise you want to do, be sure that there is an app for it. Fitness apps are great to keep you on track. They have almost all types of workouts, from light stretching to high-intensity HIIT training. They even have social leaderboards where you can train and compete with others. Not to mention, you can join classes with other people who live in your home.
3. Select The Right Time
Timing is vital in this context. As we mentioned earlier, even if you are home all day, you still might not be free to work out all the time. So you have to find the right time where you can channel all your focus into your workouts. Try to fix a time where you will only work out and give your body and mind time to relax.
4. Reach Out For Support
Besides apps, you can also be part of online social groups and forums where you can connect and interact with others. You can exchange information and learn more about different workouts, routines, and diets. Sometimes all you need is a bit of help and support, and you should not shy away from asking for help.
There are thousands of other people who want to stay in shape just like you and offer help on the internet. So, use it to your advantage.
5. Make Sure To Reward Yourself
The idea is to keep up motivation and positivity. Plan rewards after hard workouts, or when you reach your milestones – you worked hard and earned it! This can be anything to your liking. If a warm bubble bath sounds good, then go for it!
Or, if you want, you can take a nice two-hour nap to recover your muscle and stamina. Or you can plan a small sensible treat to enjoy as a reward. Reward yourself for keeping up the good work, but make sure you do not go overboard and mess up your routine.
How To Make The Most Of Your Required Activity
Despite your motivation, things can get a little boring sometimes. To make sure it does not happen to you, mix up your routine-
1. Make Your Home Workouts Fun
The purpose of indoor workouts is to stay calm, positive, and have fun. If your routine is boring you, then change it. But if you think the routine is okay but you do not feel like doing it that particular day, try doing other fun physical activities instead – like dancing!
Play tag with your kids around the house and the backyard. Play workout games online with other people. There are apps like the Superhero workout where you have to complete specific activities to complete missions, gain abilities, and save the world.
2. Create A Dedicated Space
You do not have to go overboard with this one but having a dedicated space for working out is always helpful. You can organize the space with a few exercise mats, some dumbbells, or a treadmill. You can also store some water cans and use them as weights.
3. Get Fresh Air Outside When You Can
If your jurisdiction allows for outdoor exercise time, then make use of it. Be sure to take proper precautions when going out and always wear your mask. If you get the chance, wake up early in the morning and head to the park. Enjoy a nice long walk in the park and enjoy the lovely fresh air and sunshine.
This will help you stay motivated for your workouts and freshen up your mood.
4. Try Out Family Workouts
Encourage your whole family to start working out. That way, everyone can stay active, fit, and healthy. For starters, try out Zumba classes with your entire family. Do headstands with your family members to test and enhance core muscles. You can try games like twister or yoga spinner since these require a lot of physical activities.
And to take things to another level, you can even create an obstacle course in your backyards. Add balls, mats, cones, mini trampolines, sticks, and hoops as equipment. Cut out some cardboard boxes and use them as obstacles to jump over in your course.
Play hopscotch. You can use chalk to draw one on the pavement or buy a hopscotch mat. There are plenty of things you can do around the house with your family members. This way, you can get some physical activity done and suffer from boredom.
5. Take A Break From Your Routine, Try Something New
You might have set your mind to complete a specific exercise routine, but things may not always work out your way. In that case, try different forms of exercise. Try mixing your routine with lunges, planks, squats, jump rope, squats, different types of push-ups, free weights, yoga, and various types of breathing exercise.
Try To Move More Throughout the Day
One thing that is hard to do at home is to get a good walk. This is especially true for those of us who do not own a treadmill. This automatically decreases our daily movement. If you are under strict lockdown, you will not be able to go out for a walk in the park, walk to the parking lot from your office or go shopping in the mall.
Instead, we are likely to sit for more extended periods for work and recreation. This type of sedentary lifestyle can be very harmful to your physical and mental health. Sitting for too long can even increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
Even if you are doing the above home workouts, you are still moving less than you usually would have. To move throughout the day, try out these things-
- Use a standing desk to work from home.
- Whenever you are on the phone talking or texting with people, try doing it while walking around the house or walking up and down the stairs.
- Complete house chores. Even simple and small tasks like cleaning can burn calories.
- Walk around the house for at least five minutes every hour.
- Install a doorway pullup bar and attempt to do pull-ups now and then.
These may sound like small activities, and they are indeed small – but they all add up! But if you can incorporate all of them into your daily routine, you can stay active even during the lockdown.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
Timing is again important here. Since you are working out alone at home, you have to consider how you spend your time.
According to the National Health Service, adults aged 19 to 60 should perform physical activities almost every day to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensive workout or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise every week.
This may sound overwhelming, but it is straightforward. All you have to do is work out for about 30 minutes every single day. Try creating a routine with 10 minutes of moderate workouts, a 10 minute run up and down the stairs, and short bursts of exercises in between for about two to three minutes. If you break it down like that, it becomes easier to complete and keep track of.
Despite staying at home, it has become more critical than ever to be active and stay in shape. Regular exercise keeps our physical and mental health at optimal levels. It strengthens our immune system and is also a fun way to pass the time.
You can set ambitious goals like a body transformation with just indoor exercise or set small goals like burning a fixed amount of calories. No matter your goals, try to accomplish them by reaching small milestones and staying active during this lockdown.
My name is Deborah Foster and I am a Weight Loss Coach with a background in Nutrition Coaching and Personal Training. I specialize in helping women and men break through the yo-yo diet cycle and lose weight for good, without being miserable in the process.