As we find ourselves in lockdown again many have been frustrated that they had just recommenced exercise either at gyms or other facilities. As they are now required to be closed again, we can show you many options and alternatives for exercise that can be done at home, without needing to access a facility. Many gyms or other trainers are already offering Skype/Zoom classes, and these are great options. If you prefer to exercise independently, read on!
If you are going to exercise from a video i.e. YouTube, make sure the workout is suitable to your level. You should be familiar with the type/nature of the exercise and the intensity before you start. Otherwise significant changes in your routine can result in overloading injuries. If you haven’t performed a specific type of exercise (weightlifting, HIIT or running) always err on the side of caution initially by starting slowly. Once your body feels comfortable doing this you can always build-up, but it’s better to underestimate your ability rather than overestimate.
What are some options for home-based exercise?
Supervised/directed classes on Zoom or Skype
As mentioned earlier those who are used to attending gyms and specifically doing classes will like this option as long as classes don’t vary much from your familiar routine and intensity. Usually, minimal equipment is required to participate in these classes
A simple exercise and very effective at maintaining cardiovascular fitness along with lower limb muscles. However, it does involve an impact on the body and especially the legs. Your body won’t likely be used to this if you normally do low impact exercise (cycling, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, or pilates). Be wary that if you haven’t run for some time it will take time to build up load tolerances in your body regardless of your baseline cardiovascular fitness. If you normally run on a treadmill and are going to run on a path/oval bear in mind that muscles work differently on a treadmill than they do outdoors so reduce your time/distances until you find your limits.
Access to weightlifting equipment has been an issue for many who have tried to do this from home. If you have your own equipment at home, have ample space and know your routine you shouldn’t have too many issues. Just don’t fall into the trap of forgetting to warm-up beforehand! If you can’t access equipment, lifting lighter weights can have a comparable benefit to lifting heavy weights but you’ll have to do 20 or more repetitions to get adequate muscle fatigue (1). If you have a moderately heavy object you can safely grip you could work your muscles just as effectively. If you aren’t used to weightlifting but want to try it, there are many great benefits including helping your bone density in women (you won’t end up looking like a bodybuilder either). Always be sensible with safety and don’t overestimate your strength.
This is a very time efficient option for cardio-vascular and muscle strength but will push your body hard so be sure you are safe and comfortable doing this. There are many varieties of HIIT/Circuit workouts and again if you are accessing resources online make sure they are from a reputable source and suitable for your level of fitness. As with all exercise be sure to warm-up to reduce the chance of injuries. Those who enjoy HIIT training know there are many lasting metabolic benefits once you can push yourself so it’s worth looking into whether it suits you.
Do something simple
Just want something simple to keep yourself active and sane? Try a simple home exercise routine like the one below;
- Walk for 10-15 minutes
- Star Jumps
- Squats/Stand up sit down on a chair
- Bridges lying on your back (one leg at a time for a challenge)
- Single leg calf raises
- Push ups (on knees or hands on a chair/desk if needed)
- Run on spot with high knees
- On hands and knees reach one arm out and opposite leg (can do it off hands and toes for harder)
- Cool down with a short walk
Decide how hard you can push yourself and become familiar with the exercises before pushing yourself harder. You want to get fatigue in the muscles to get the best benefit so do each exercise until your muscles are tired. Be sure to drink enough water during and after exercise as dehydration can hamper performance, cause cramps and impair recovery.