Tom Toothaker, PT, DPT
We’re living in challenging times when we’re being asked to stay at home and limit our contact with others. Those of us who are used to going to the gym to maintain our physical fitness won’t able to do so for the foreseeable future. But there is good news! You can maintain your fitness level at home and outside during the Coronavirus quarantine. Here are some ways to do so:
Get outside and move! – Go for a walk, jog, run or ride your bike. Drive to the beach or boardwalk and enjoy nature. Work in your yard, weed your flowerbeds or wash your car. Movement is life and that doesn’t change during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fresh air, sunshine (or rain) and activity will do your body and mind good and help to reduce your stress levels.
Watch a fitness video – These days, it seems we all have access to cable TV, streaming services, online fitness memberships and exercise apps for your phone or laptop. It may even be a great time to break out your old fitness or yoga DVDs. Just plan on doing something everyday for at least 30 minutes. There is a fitness program for anyone…whether you are confined to a chair or are an Olympic athlete…there is a program with your name on it. So, get busy!
Exercise equipment – do you have a stationary bike, rowing machine or elliptical that you are using as a place to hang your clothes? Maybe it has been relegated to the garage or attic where it’s just collecting dust. You know what to do. Get it out, dust it off and use it!
No equipment? No problem! Body weight exercises are just as effective, and in some cases, more effective, than machines and weights. Push, pull, squat, and core are my general guidelines for beginners designing their own workout routines. Try jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, leg lifts, chair dips, bridges, rows, crunches and planking. Be creative and come up with your own circuit training program. These exercises can easily be done anywhere and will help keep you fit during the crisis. Throw in the use of resistance bands to get additional benefits. Start with a warm-up, performing each movement of your workout slowly and with less intensity. Maybe add a stretching routine at the end of each workout.
If you have never worked out before, start today! Use common sense, start slowly and increase only 10% per week. Allow your body time to adjust to working out and allow it to get stronger before you push too hard. You may actually find that you enjoy exercise and that you can start a new and healthy habit during this time of quarantine. The crisis will end, but you may find that you want to continue your new routine to live a healthier and better life.