Whether you are traveling or self-quarantining from the coronavirus, there are times that you can’t make it to your gym. Going to the gym is great mental therapy for many of us. So, how can we create that same therapy by a workout at home? Here is how to exercise when you can’t go to the gym.
It’s not just the gym being closed that makes it difficult to stay in shape but now since the coronavirus quarantine, everyone is at home. The kids are being homeschooled and your spouse is working in the other room. Your entire normal schedule and routine have been flipped upside down.
So how do you maintain a good exercise routine even in the midst of coronavirus quarantine?
You can still get a good workout even without equipment?
The truth is you can actually get a great workout at home with minimal equipment and in a short amount of time. You just need the right exercises to crank up your metabolism and kick start those muscles to burn fat and build lean muscle.
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If possible, try to get outside. Research shows that spending time out in nature is good for our bodies, minds, and spirits. With the current coronavirus outbreak, some governments are requesting that citizens stay inside. If this is the case in your area, stay inside, we’ll give you some great indoor exercise tips too!
In the United States and the UK, they are allowing citizens to exercise outside but they have to go alone. They also need to stay 6-feet apart from others. I know in our current home of Malaysia, the government is not even allowing people to go outside for exercise.
If exercising outside is still allowed, do it! The sunshine and fresh air are good for your body and your mind. Try to do one of these activities for 30 minutes per day.
Exercises to do outside
- Go for a walk – Use a smartwatch to track your distance. Fitbit or iWatches from Apple are great trackers for walking and exercising.
- Start Running– Checkout Runkeeper app if you are new to running. They start you out from couch to 5K with a run/walk.
- Go for a bike ride- Don’t forget your bike helmet and a helmet for the kids.
- Pull-ups – If you have a kid’s playground or even a tree in your yard, head out and do a few pull-ups each day. (You don’t need to do this for a full 30 minutes.)
- Go for a hike– Hiking can be great exercise and a way to stay sain in a quarantined lockdown. You don’t need to take much but always take a water bottle.
***Please maintain social distance when you are exercising outside. This means, keep at least a 6-foot distance between you and other people.
If you show up for your favorite hike and it’s packed with people, it’s not a good time to hike there.
Take your classes online or use an app
If you are lucky your gym or instructors might hold virtual classes. This way you can stay connected to your group, which is great for your mental health as well. But if they are not here are some great apps and online classes that are available.
We have used Millionaire Hoy for years for our working out at home and when we are traveling. He currently has a 30 day “no equipment” needed routine at Hoypro.com.
These workouts will kick your butt without any equipment!
Other great YouTube videos that you can use from the comfort of your own home or hotel room to stay in shape.
- Fitness Blender – Great husband and wife team that have exercises for both men and women. Great for beginners!
- POPSUGAR Fitness – Users can fill a full fitness plan from home from The Bar Method to P90X.
- Blogilates – Blogilates preaches body positivity, uploading videos detailing her struggles with self-image. If you’re new to the channel, we recommend the POP Pilates for Beginners.
- Fitbit Coach – Fitbit Coach uses the daily activity logged by your fitness tracker to recommend workouts and activities. You will need to have a Fitbit to take advantage of all the features.
- Nike Training Club– Offers a huge workout library with exercises aimed at different body parts. They also have lots of different workout goals that you can choose.
- JEFIT – This is an incredible resource for users looking to do strength training. Loaded with tons of great workouts for your whole body. JEFIT.com recommends using your Fitbit or Apple iWatch to track your fitness when using the app.
Workout at home with minimal equipment
One of the great things about hitting the gym is all the equipment and weights that you can choose from. But that is not the only way to train your muscles. By adding a few pieces of equipment you can do almost everything that a full gym can offer.
Dumbbells and Kettlebells
You don’t need a lot of dumbbells to be effective. Even if you only have light weights, you can be effective. Even just one kettlebell will do the trick.
Dumbbells can be incorporated into both HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or strength training. They can provide the two types of overload that lead to muscle growth: mechanic and metabolic. Mechanic overload is the result of damage caused by muscle contractions, which stimulates the repair process and leads to an increase in muscle size.
Metabolic overload occurs when a muscle is worked to fatigue, which leads to the adaptation of muscle cells being able to store more glycogen which can cause muscles to increase in size.
You can add dumbbells to pretty much any workout and it will help you burn more fat and build muscle.
Dumbbells we recommend
- These dumbbells are what we recommend for yoga, pilates, and low impact workouts. These are ideal for home and even an apartment. Starting with 3 lbs, 5 lbs, and 8lbs. It also comes with a small stand for storage. We recommend getting them on Amazon here that way you can have them delivered straight to your house.
- Heavy dumbbells are perfect for a novice weight lifter. The heavier dumbbells for the house, we recommend are adjustable dumbbells here. These adjustable dumbbells have 8 different settings going up to 24 lbs in weight.
Dumbbells allow you to focus on one muscle group at a time. You can do arms or even legs. Holding dumbbells and doing squats and lunges are a great workout at home for legs. Dumbbells can second as kettlebells.
Kettlebells workout at home
Kettlebells are a fun alternative to dumbbells, and their unique shape allows you to do some things that aren’t practical with other kinds of equipment. These can be a great cardio workout and total body workout. Kettlebells are a favorite workout addition for at home abs.
Kettlebells can be used for deadlifts, legs, and back exercises. They can be used like dumbbells for curls and other arm muscle-building exercises. Here is a set of kettlebells we recommend using from Amazon.
Resistant Bands workout at home
You might be surprised that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady does not lift weights. What? That is correct, he no longer lifts weights. Men’s Health featured Tom Brady’s reason he switched from weights to bands and a couple of his workouts.
Like dumbbells, kettlebells, or other free weights, resistance bands offer a simple yet effective way to get an all-around strength workout at home. Resistance band training has been used in physical therapy for years. It helps to improve balance, mobility, gait function and helps to rehab injured muscles.
Now resistance bands are becoming a great thing for home gyms and even to take with you while traveling. They are easily portable and lightweight. Resistance bands tone and strengthen your muscles by causing them to contract harder with more tension and resistance.
Resistant bands are great for stretching. They can be used to help with many body pains including upper back stretches and leg extensions. Resistance bands are easy on your joints. Here is a set of 5 bands that we recommend and they even come with a carrying bag. Don’t forget your exercise ball. These are great for abdominal workouts, yoga or if you have kids they will love to play with this. Make sure you get the extra thick ball if you have kids.
For some more awesome ideas of at-home workout equipment, check out Lucile’s post on the 20 Best Product For Fun Home Workouts! It’s a great list with some unique equipment that will make your at-home workouts way more fun.
Yoga and Pilates workout at home
Being quarantined at home for the next few weeks will give you a chance to try something new and you can get into your flow. Yoga classes can be fun, relaxing, and even a great stress relief from the world.
Yoga can be like a Zen-like experience or even meditational. Starting at home can save you time and money. Well, right now you have plenty of time. I love yoga but I’m always embarrassed to go to a class because I am not flexible and can’t do the moves.
Starting with Adriene on YouTube, it was a great way to get started without worrying about what other people think. I was able to master some of the basic moves before going to a class with lots of other people.
I love doing Yoga with Adriene. She has great videos for experts to beginners. I am still very much a beginner and don’t do yoga regularly but I try to a couple of times a week.
You will need minimal equipment for your home yoga; a mat, bands, and blocks. All of these things can easily be packed to take with you on vacation since they are lightweight and small.
Finally, you will need some yoga blocks if you are a beginner. I went a long time without them and they have helped me as I still am trying to hold the yoga positions. To make things easier, here is a Yoga pack on Amazon that has everything plus a carrying bag and towel.
If you are reading this, physical activity is important to you, but you should also help to make it important to your kids and family memebers. Helping your kids doesn’t need to be your main workout but you can be physically active and still have fun inside and outside.
Here are some things you can do to keep everyone in the family physically active.
- Hula Hoop competitions
- Jump rope
- Circuit Training course – Set up your own circuit training course with your equipment for your kids to complete.
- Hallway Soccer/football
- Crab walk and carry – Add weights or book to make it interesting.
- Just Dance for Nintendo Switch, Xbox or Wii. (This is actually one of my family’s favorite things to do to stay active.
It is so important to keep moving while we are all quarantined. Even when you are stuck inside, you don’t have to just sit all day. Stay active and you will feel so much better!
At-Home Outside Activities
If you are lucky enough to have a back yard or other private outside space to go play in right now, there are lots of things you can do to stay active.
- Backyard Croquet – This epic 6 person battle is a great substitute for golf and a fun way to get kids and adults playing together.
- Cornhole – Cornhole is a fun and easy backyard game that has become hugely popular over the past few years.
- Asia’s favorite sport – Badminton
- Volleyball – When you buy your badminton make sure to but the kit that comes with the volleyball.
- Outdoor Large Jenga – Take the indoor game outside and give this fun game the Olympic size treatment.
Do all of the outside activities and call it the Backyard Olympics.
Stay fit when you can’t make it to the gym
There are many great ways to stay in shape even if you can’t make it to your favorite class or gym. Really one of the best things you can do is to first plan the time for yourself, even if all the family is home quarantined.
Then its a matter of what you want to do, but I have found that just by staying active I can maintain my weight/form. Even if its a busy day and all I can get is 30 minutes of Just Dance with my kids on the Nintendo Switch. Just get moving.