Stuck at home and eating too much of your pandemic comfort baking? If you’ve piled on a few pounds during the current situation, you’re not alone.
Current government recommendations state that we should all aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, but with gyms still on the forbidden list, if you want to keep up your fitness you’ll have to get a little bit creative. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep fit even during these unusual times.
Set up a home gym
A full array of weight machines and treadmills might be out of reach. Setting up a dedicated space for exercise, though, can make a huge difference to your motivation. Allocate a space in your home where you can fit in some exercise, no matter how small.
If your budget stretches to it, consider investing in some home equipment. It’s an excellent long term investment for those days when the weather makes it impossible to get outside, and can save on costly gym fees. Have a look on Gumtree and other secondhand selling sites: you can often find people selling off unwanted gear at huge discounts.
If your space or budget don’t allow for machines, some hand weights and an exercise mat are a great substitute. They can be tucked away after your workout and cost very little to buy.
Use everyday objects
A surprising amount of exercises can be done using furniture you already have around the house. A chair can do double-duty as a bench for exercises including tricep dips, decline push ups and squats. Throw on some music and do a step routine with a footstool!
If you have stairs in your home, utilise them often. Step-up step-down exercises are only the start here. You can use your bottom stair to do a raised push up, or do heel dips to stretch out your tendons. Once you’re in the swing of things, add some hand weights for a more intense workout. And of course, running up and down them a few times is brilliant for getting your heart rate pumping.
Develop bodyweight exercises
Strength exercises that use your bodyweight are the ultimate option for a workout you can do literally anywhere. Most of us know about push-ups, sit-ups and planks, but there are a huge range of other alternatives.
For leg strengthening, try a wall sit. Put your back against the wall and slowly slide down until your knees are above your ankles and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for 60 seconds.
Lunges are great for legs and core work. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step one leg forward and lower until your back knee is almost touching the floor. Repeat on the other side.
For chest and back work, try a handstand push up: do a handstand with your feet against the wall and lower your arms to a 90 degree angle.
Triceps and biceps need some love too. A diamond push up is a standard push up with your hands shaped into a diamond (so that thumbs and index fingers touch and your elbows stick out). You’ll feel the burn in your triceps right away.
Get a rock solid core by mixing up the crunches and planks. Try a bicycle: lie on your back, bring your knees into your chest and then bring your right elbow to your left knee while straightening your right knee. Alternate and repeat.
Aim for two or three bodyweight sessions per week, with at least two sets of 10 reps for each exercise.
Have an at-home dance party
Zumba cancelled? Get your heart rate up and your endorphins flowing with a dance party of your very own. Musicians across the globe are streaming live concerts online, so turn up the music and dance your heart out. Get the kids to join in for some stress-busting family fun.
Ramp up the incidental exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to be planned to be beneficial. Just making an effort to move more during your day can make a huge difference to your well being.
When you’re working from home, your incidental movement often shrinks. You’re no longer walking to the bus stop, or from the car park to your office. You’re walking a few metres from your bedroom to your desk where you sit down all day.
To combat this, try building breaks into your day. Go outside and throw a ball in the garden for your dog, or hang out some laundry while the kettle boils. Even just walking around your home helps. Bonus: it’ll revitalise you for the next session of work as well.
Make the most of your daily outing
The Federal Government recommends that you only leave your house to get essential supplies, attend work or education that is unable to be done at home, or to exercise. What better incentive could there be to get outside and get your heart rate up?
Make time every day to get outside for at least half an hour (and ideally an hour) of activity, whether that’s a brisk walk, a jog or kicking a ball around the local oval with your children.
In these stressful times, exercise can help our mental health as well as our physical well being. Make it easy for yourself and establish a routine, and you’ll start reaping the benefits in no time.