While it’s normal to still feel confused about how much things have changed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, your mental and physical health should still be a top priority. This is why on top of getting the recommended hours of sleep and eating healthy, everyone is encouraged to exercise and stay fit.
Depending on where you live, gyms/fitness centres have probably started to reopen. But if you’re living in an area where these establishments are still closed, or if you’re just not yet comfortable about working out in a gym again, you may be wondering how you can workout while keeping safe. After all, we all need to shed those extra pounds we all gained during the quarantine period. This is why we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to stay fit in this age of social distancing.
Because we’re pretty much still encouraged to stay indoors, exercising at home is the best way to stay fit. However, if you regularly go to the gym, it can be a bit challenging to switch to home workouts. First of all, not everybody has a fully equipped home gym. Second, maintaining a workout mindset can be difficult at home since there are more distractions.
So, if you’re like most of us that have neither gym equipment or the space for it at home, doing isometric exercises is a great solution. Isometrics are forms of exercises that engage and stretch your muscles with little - if not completely without - moving. These exercises require you to hold poses for a certain amount of time, which activates muscles up to five times more than any other type of exercise.
You also do not need gym equipment. When doing isometric exercises, you use your body weight for resistance. Also, these exercises do not require a lot of space to do - so you can still get a good workout even if you’re in a small apartment. You just need to set a dedicated area for your workouts, and make sure you come back to the same area every day to get your mind and body ready for exercise.
Some of these no-equipment isometric exercises include:
Planks - Start by holding the plank for 30 seconds, then holding it for longer periods as you go.
Wall Sit - Hold the position for at least one minute. Do 3 sets of 5 wall sits, with a 10 second rest in between.
Squats - Do 3 sets of 10 deep squats, with a 10 second rest in between each set.
Since you can actually go out (which is good for uplifting your mood), it is still possible to stay safe and maintain social distancing while you’re getting the exercise you need. Here are some outdoor workouts that you can do:
Long walks around your neighborhood
Going for morning or afternoon walks release endorphins in your body. Endorphins - or the happy hormones - are known to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Going for a walk or even a run is also a good cardio workout and burns a lot of calories. Choose less crowded areas and keep a safe distance away from other joggers.
Yoga in your backyard
If you have space in your backyard, lay out a mat and do yoga exercises in the morning or afternoon. Yoga is a great way to stretch your muscles - improving flexibility and range of motion. More importantly though, yoga includes meditation exercises to help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.
Going on bike rides not only gives your glutes and leg muscles a workout, it helps improve your mood too. Try a new route around your neighborhood - the new sights will stimulate your brain so you stay alert. Bring enough water though, to keep you hydrated and wear proper protective gear when you go for a ride.
Your mental health is important too
There’s been a lot of emphasis on staying physically fit even while we’re social distancing. And while getting regular exercise is important, there are also things you need to do to stay emotionally and mentally healthy in these uncertain times. Here are a couple of things you can do right at home:
Soaking in warm baths
There is no better way to end a day of cycling or walking around the neighborhood than soaking in a warm bath. The warm water relaxes the muscles, which relieves soreness. Plus, just closing your eyes as you feel the warm water around you is quite effective at easing anxieties. More importantly, it helps prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Use scented candles, put on soothing music, use epsom salts to soften the water - anything that can bring you that spa pampering feeling. If you do not have a bathtub at home though, a warm shower does the trick, too.
While we’d normally go to a massage therapist after a strenuous workout, this isn’t possible at the moment. The alternative? Give yourself that much needed post exercise massage using a massage gun.
Using a massage gun on your legs and thighs after let’s say - a long bike ride around your neighborhood breaks up the lactic acid build up in your muscle tissues. The massage gun uses percussive force to promote healthy blood flow, and as a result, you will get your very own deep tissue massage right in the safety of your home.
No one can really say how long we’d all have to practice social distancing. This is why it’s important that you stay fit by exercising regularly, even if your local gyms are still closed, or you’re not yet comfortable with going back. You can check out blogs for fitness and healthy diet advice and exercises that you can do while you’re at home.
Just keep moving. Keep your mind and body busy. Go for a bike ride, challenge yourself to hold those planking positions longer each day. Keep healthy and remember - we won’t be social distancing forever.