With gyms closed, sports games canceled and physical distancing (aka social distancing) measures in place, you and your family may be itching to get up and move.
If you’re feeling restless during your coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine, a new and fun exercise routine may be just what you need. In addition to the well-known cardiovascular benefits, exercise can also help your mental health and may even boost your immune system.
Luckily, you don’t need a treadmill or an expensive set of weights to create a good workout at home. Here are some fun and creative ways to get your blood pumping.
Tried-and-true home workouts
When you’re used to going to the gym or a regular fitness class, it can be challenging to transition to a home workout routine. It can be even more difficult with kids or other family members at home. Sticking to activities you enjoy — whether they’re by yourself or with your family members — can help keep you motivated.
As the weather warms up, there will be plenty of opportunities to be active outside. And outdoor exercise may be one of the only outdoor activities you can do if your state has issued a shelter in place or stay at home order. Whether you’re by yourself or with your family, you can get in a workout by:
- Going for a walk or a hike. If you pass someone on the sidewalk or the trail, make sure to maintain a distance of six feet.
- Riding your bike. Take this opportunity to explore some new routes or trails.
- Going for a run or jog. You can also try mapping a racecourse or an obstacle course and getting the whole family to compete.
- Trying a scavenger hunt (for the kids) where you find things in nature or your neighborhood.
Find a class online
There are countless fitness videos online that you can take advantage of while staying at home. Simply search YouTube for the type of workout you’re looking for (cardio, yoga, barre, stretching, Pilates etc.) and you’ll find dozens of options. You can even find ways help condition your mind with meditation.
Many gyms, yoga studios and dance studios are also doing live broadcasts or recordings of fitness classes using Facebook Live, Zoom and YouTube. Check your local gym’s website or social media pages to see if they’re offering any virtual classes.
You can also check out these resources:
- 24Go – A new app launched by one of Providence’s partners, 24-hour Fitness.
- Online programs like Peloton and The Daily Burn.
- Johnson & Johnson 7-minute Workout app
Some fitness apps are also offering free or discounted subscriptions during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Using your space for exercise
If the online fitness videos are getting old, here are some other ways you can liven up your exercise routine at home.
Set up a workout room
If you have a spare bedroom or finished basement, consider turning it into a dedicated exercise area. You can make it a fitness-friendly space by:
- Moving exercise equipment into the room (such as hand weights, treadmills or stationary bikes). If you don’t have hand weights, try leaving a few soup cans or filled water bottles in the room that you can use instead.
- Setting up yoga mats around the room with scarves or belts to use for stretching.
- Placing towels on a small table in the corner of the room.
- Setting up speakers that can easily connect to your phone or computer for music.
- Setting up a fan to help keep you cool while you work out.
- Creating a hydration station with a pitcher of water and glasses. You can take it to the next level by creating cucumber or lemon water.
For younger kids, try:
- Setting up gymnastics equipment like “mats” for tumbling (use carpet or a towel) and “balance beams” (create lines on the floor with masking tape).
- Making basketball hoops or soccer goals out of all those cardboard boxes you’re getting delivered to your home.
- Creating a bowling alley using empty cereal boxes and a ball.
Create a circuit training course
If you’re into circuit training but can’t head to your local CrossFit gym, you can create your own circuit course at home. Set up different stations throughout the house and your backyard. This infographic from the American Heart Association has some ideas and guidelines for creating the perfect home circuit. You can also try these home-based exercises from the World Health Organization (WHO) that don’t require equipment.
Tackle gardening or yardwork
If you’ve ever spent a day doing yard work, you’ve probably felt its effect on your muscles. It’s a great way to increase your heart rate and burn calories.
Now is the perfect time to start cleaning up the old garden beds, plant seedlings or rake leaves you didn’t get to last fall. Plus, you can get the whole family involved and burn calories together.
Develop a competition
Whether you’re stuck at home with your roommate, spouse or family, creating a friendly competition can help keep you motivated. Pick an exercise move — push-ups, squats or burpees — and have a daily tally of how many reps each person did. Use a chalkboard, whiteboard or piece of paper to keep track and hang it in a central part of the house.
If you live alone, compete against yourself! Watch your skills and strength grow as you increase the number of reps each day or week.
Staying active as a family
If you’re looking for a way to get the whole gang moving, try these fun, family-friendly activities. They’re great for roommates, too!
Have a dance party
Break out your favorite playlist and have a weekly or nightly dance party. Each night you can rotate who chooses the music or theme.
Organize pick-up games
Since the kids’ sports games have been canceled, take the games to your backyard or a nearby park instead. If your family is big enough, break up into teams and play two-on-two or three-on-three games. Or, try setting up drill stations similar to what the kids would have experienced at practice.
Field day activities
Many kids likely won’t have their annual field day this year, so why not create one in your house or backyard? Field day activities are a great way to keep kids moving. You can organize competitions such as:
- Pillowcase “sack” races.
- Wheelbarrow races.
- Hula hoop competitions. See who can hula hoop the longest or walk backwards while hula hooping.
- Tug of war.
- Yard bowling. Fill up empty bottles with water, sand, pebbles or rice and use any sports ball as your bowling ball.
- Fence targets. Use sidewalk chalk to draw point targets on the fence and have kids try and kick a ball to hit the targets. The one with the most points wins.
Create an exercise scavenger hunt
Give the family a list of clues to find items around your backyard. Each item should also have an assigned fitness activity, such as jumping jacks, squats, push-ups or burpees. When someone finds an item on the scavenger hunt list, they also have to complete the exercise. You can adjust the number of reps and the type of exercise based on your kids’ ages and skill levels.
Stay engaged with others
As you cope with the challenges of COVID-19, staying active can help you stay resilient emotionally and physically.
Also, remember that you’re not the only one adjusting to a new fitness routine. Reach out to friends and family members to see how they’re staying active — it may inspire your next workout! Getting creative with your exercise can keep you motivated and engaged.
Find a doctor
If you feel unwell and would like to consult your doctor, consider using telemedicine options. Providence Express Care Virtual connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area.
You can also learn how your state’s department of public health is responding to the situation:
Missing your workout routine during #COVID19? Here are some fun and creative ways to stay active at home with the whole family. #coronavirus #fitness
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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