Your community’s fitness center or your favorite gym might be closed — or maybe it’s open, but you feel more comfortable controlling the environment in which you exercise. There are many ways to stay active at home. Check out free online fitness resources and videos. But remember to be mindful of what your abilities are. Take it slowly and listen to your body as you’re exercising.
There is so much to do while self-isolating which requires no equipment:
- Go for a run or walk.
- Go cycling or hiking.
- Walk up and down the stairs in your home for several minutes a day.
- Play some music and have a dance party with your spouse, housemate — or pet!
- Take your dog on longer daily walks.
- Plant and tend a garden.
Follow the Blue Zones lifestyle principle by focusing on moving naturally throughout your day. Add more incidental activity. The idea is to keep moving without having to think about it.
If you’re knowledgeable about floor exercise, focus on the basics like sit-ups, planks, push-ups, squats and leg lifts.
Looking to add something new? Air Swimming – perfect for at-home workouts – strengthens the postural muscles, targeting your posterior chain (the backside of your body). This helps improve posture, prevents back pain and ensures you have balanced strength, which is key to healthy overall movement. To “air swim,” lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead by your ears. Lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor and squeeze your glutes (three muscles in each buttock which move the thigh, the largest of which is the gluteus maximus). Then, flutter your arms and legs up and down while keeping them off the floor.
Marching in place can be done in your home, or on your lawn or lanai, or even in your pool! Start by standing tall with your feet together and arms at your sides. Then bend your elbows and swing your arms as you lift your knees. March in a variety of styles: in place by taking four steps forward and four steps back; in place with your feet wide apart; or alternate marching with your feet wide apart, and then together (out, out, in, in). Make sure you look straight ahead and keep your abs tight. Breathe comfortably, and don’t clench your fists.
Working out and other physical activity can create calmness in your life through the release of endorphins, which act on the opiate receptors in our brains. They reduce pain and boost pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Consistent exercise, whether it’s every day or three times a week, encourages your brain to regularly release endorphins, which can improve your mood.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and more. It also relieves stress and improves memory. Most importantly during this time, staying active helps keep your immune system in tip-top shape and wards off going stir-crazy from being cooped up for an extended period of time. So…get up and get moving!
About the author: Karan Ilowite is the Lifestyle Director at Tidewater by Del Webb in Estero. She has over 15 years’ experience in the lifestyle industry and writes two weekly Bible studies for Grace Bible Church in Somerset, Mass. Karan lives with her husband, Gerry, in Bonita Springs.