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9 Ways To Exercise When You’re Stuck At Home To Stay Healthy

The current crisis situation we’re in is strange, stressful, and emotionally exhausting. Moving doesn’t just help you keep fit, it can also help you stay sane and even benefit your gut microbes.

We’d normally burn off some of this stress and pent-up negative emotions by heading to the gym, going to a HIIT class, or jumping in the pool. Regular exercise can help us de-stress and boost our mood, as well as keep our fitness levels up and maintain our health.

However, for many of us, getting our regular dose of exercise the way that we normally would is no longer possible: gyms and pools will remain closed for the foreseeable future and movement outside is limited.

Few of us are lucky enough to have an exercise bike or treadmill at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do around the house or with household objects that will work instead.

Cleaning

Do indoor lunges while vacuuming by Annie Spratt.
Take your lunges indoors if you’re not allowed out

Many of us don’t really consider the fitness benefits of cleaning, but you can actually make it a real workout. Some sources estimate that you can burn a few hundred calories doing routine things like sweeping, mopping, and cleaning the windows, but you’ll have to make a few small adjustments to your cleaning routine:

  • stepping into lunges when vacuuming
  • side lunges when making the bed
  • balancing on your toes to engage your core muscles

Using household objects as weights

If you don’t have your own dumbbells or kettlebells at home, there are some surprising substitutes you can use instead. Bags of rice or flour, tins of beans, and bottled water can all be used as alternatives. If you need something bigger and heavier, you can always fill a carrier bag with items too.

Resistance exercises around your house

Strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility through resistance exercises. In the gym, you might have had various equipment that can help with this, but in your house, you’ll have to get inventive. It’s not impossible though, here are some ideas:

air squatssingle-leg step-ups on the stairs
lungessit-to-stands from a sturdy chair

The Body Coach TV

Joe Wicks, a fitness instructor and social media influencer known as The Body Coach, has taken the world by storm, providing virtual PE classes for millions of children across the UK. Each live workout takes place every weekday at 9 a.m. GMT, lasting for 30 minutes, and plenty of adults are getting involved as well as kids

With the goal to offer free home workouts to everyone, no matter their fitness levels, Joe Wicks now has over two million subscribers on YouTube, and it’s not hard to see why he’s so popular with his boundless enthusiasm and simple instructions.

Gardening

If you’ve got a garden, then your normal maintenance also counts as a workout during lockdown. Squatting while weeding and planting will strengthen your core and glutes, carrying your watering can and various tools will tone your arms, and mowing the lawn is a real cardio workout and great for your heart health.

Virtual fitness classes

The sheer amount of online workout and fitness videos on offer during the coronavirus crisis is extraordinary. Of course, you can go old-school and buy fitness DVDs — there are plenty on Amazon, from Davina’s classic videos to Strictly Come Dancing to pilates and weight loss workouts.

But what we’re seeing more and more is an amazing range of fitness videos cropping up on YouTube and various social media channels. From yoga to fat-burning, HIIT to dance, there really is something for everyone’s tastes and abilities.

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Yoga with Adriene

If the idea of interval training and jumping up and down a lot doesn’t float your boat, then some calming and mindful yoga could be more your thing.

Yoga has a range of health benefits, including increased flexibility and core strength, reduced stress, and better cardiovascular health. And it can easily be done in your own home. Basically, now is the perfect time to try yoga.

There are many different yoga practice videos and channels you can try out, but none compare to Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube channel is hugely popular, and she has a whole library of high-quality free yoga videos where you can find a practice to suit your mood, ability, and journey.

Apps to try

There are a ton of apps that can help with your exercise routine and keeping up with fitness goals. Many of these are free to use — and a lot of the paid premium apps have stopped charging a subscription fee and are now offering free access during the coronavirus pandemic.

Apps like Nike Training Club, Gymshark, and Peloton are now offering free at-home workout videos, live classes, and training programs, as well as tips from trainers and experts. Exercise doesn’t just keep your muscles fit and your cardiovascular system healthy, it even boosts your immune health and your gut microbes.

Head outdoors for cardio

Depending on the country you live in, you might still be able to head outside for some cardio, like a run. In countries like the UK, you are currently still allowed outside for daily exercise unless you are self-isolating due to vulnerability or you live in a household with symptoms.

In the near future, it’s likely we’ll be allowed outside even more than once a day for exercise, meaning you don’t just have to run or cycle, you’ll be able to take a stroll too and enjoy your surroundings. After all, it’s scientifically proven that nature and green spaces are essential for our health.

Safety during exercise outside

Regular walking, running, or cycling outside is a great way to stay active and healthy during the lockdown, though it is important to keep your distance and stay more than two metres away from others.

Try planning your route when you’re thinking of heading out for a jog or cycle: this will help you to hit distance and time targets if you’re trying to stick to a program. If possible, try to aim for roads, neighbourhoods, and parks that will be quieter, safer, and less congested.

This will give you a chance to explore places around you and develop some fun new routes, such as through local woodland or down a peaceful canal towpath. Picking less busy times will also help you to be more safe and responsible during outdoor exercise.

Exercising during lockdown may not seem like the easiest thing to do, but it is possible. Try out some of the ideas above to fit exercise into your routine while you’re stuck indoors. Your physical and mental health will thank you.

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