With long hours at home seriously disrupting the natural lifestyle rhythms we most often associate with physical fitness, regular exercise has never been more important.
Or easier to avoid.
That’s why we checked for some quick tips to keep your baseline training going or get into some new at-home workout habits. Because the good news is, even if you’re at home with no access to fancy (or even not-so-fancy) gym equipment, you still have plenty of options.
1. Get Motivated
Humans are social animals, so staying at home can put a serious damper on our motivation for staying fit. That means you’ll need to fight harder than usual against your inner slug.
Remember the benefits of regular exercise that best fit your current situation, and keep them in mind to help push yourself. Because even if you’re staying home, you’ll still want to:
- Reduce and relieve stress
- Get high-quality, regular sleep
- Maintain a positive outlook
…all commonly-felt results of regular physical exercise.
And if that doesn’t work, a few selfies might do the trick.
2. Broaden Your Cardio Horizon
Unless you live in a region where lockdown terms have specified otherwise, solo running and cycling are still an allowable (and more enjoyable than ever) form of cardio exercise. Keep it up if you’ve been sticking to these, but you may also want to explore a few new options in case conditions change.
Getting in a good cardio workout from the confines of home can be a challenge. Not everybody has a treadmill, for example – or even stairs.
Fortunately, there are plenty of enjoyable aerobic exercises that don’t require more than a rearranged coffee table and an open mind.
If you have a preferred method of doing cardio – let’s say you’re a runner or a triathlete – now’s the time to try new things. Look into new crossfit routines, dance workouts, drill exercises for a sport you don’t regularly play, guided yoga or boot camp videos.
The goal is to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. You’ll probably get a great workout, but you’ll definitely get a break from the usual routine.
3. Go Back to Basics
Calisthenics – the practice of using one’s own body to exercise large muscle groups – traces its origins to ancient Greece. That’s one reason why circuits of calisthenic exercise are the perfect way to work out at home. After all, the ancient Greeks also didn’t have access to modern gym equipment.
With an arm’s length of personal space, you’ll have all you need for nearly endless variations of a few time-honored exercises:
If you have a reliable (please, safety first) bar, you can also mix in pull-ups, chin-ups or front levers. And you can try some handstands as well, using any support wall you don’t mind scuffing a little (and help from a friend who can spot you – again, safety first).
Since calisthenic exercises are all about working large muscle groups, you won’t get as targeted a workout as you would in the gym, but you can loosely target upper, lower body and core – and get more specific to certain areas with slight variations in setup such as chin-ups versus pull-ups.
As for actual rep counts advisable for a good workout, they vary by level of fitness. Since you’re mostly using your own body as a weight, repeating until failure is a viable option.
Shoot for a long-term challenge like completing a full deck of cards workout, and alter your focus between upper body, lower body or core exercises.
4. Get Creative
In the absence of workout equipment, you can still find plenty of household objects that fill in as reasonable substitutes. Water is a great weight at over 8 pounds (3.78 kg) per gallon. Sand or gravel are even heavier. And depending on how you’re moving, a simple can of soup might add all the weight you need to make each set more challenging.
For example, you can try the following:
- Integrate crossfit exercises into your calisthenic workouts by replacing the kettlebell with a full jug of milk, large laundry detergent container, bucket loaded down with books, or duffel bag stuffed with clothes
- Strapping on a weighted backpack – think “first day of school” with every textbook you’ll need for the semester – for extra impactful lunges and squats
- Try a few push ups with a kid or pet on your back, with your hands or feet balancing on a basketball, or on an incline or decline from a folding chair
- Do sit-ups with a dictionary or cast-iron skillet folded under your crossed arms
- Experiment with band workouts using a towel, rope, bungee, or length of hose
- Jump up and hit the door jam at the apex of every burpee
- Make sure you’re using proper form for a set of laundry basket deadlifts
One benefit of working out at home is there are now even fewer people around to judge (not that anybody was anyway). Now’s the time to use your imagination, as long as you’re not putting yourself – or your back – in harm’s way.