With COVID-19 throwing our daily lives upside down, exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind. Besides gyms being currently inaccessible, it can feel pointless to worry about your one-handed tree pose when so many are suffering.
But here’s the thing: Staying active, even when stuck at home, does more good than you know.
Exercise Eases Stress
Even before Coronavirus, most of us were dealing with some form of stress in our life.
In fact, according to Stress.org, 73% of Americans were feeling psychological effects of having stress part of our daily life. Technology and societal expectations has made it easier to be plugged in to emails around the clock. Wanting to be seen as a #bossbabe or someone who lives to #riseandgrind has many of us feeling that if we take a break, we’ll never meet our goals.
Exercise is one of the healthiest ways we can manage stress, including the type we feel because we’re practicing (as we should) self isolation. When we exercise, endorphins (feel good chemicals) are released. Working out regularly can help combat the feeling of worry and woe that this pandemic has caused.
Strengthens The Immune System
Another negative aspect of feeling stressed is that it tends to make us more susceptible to colds and other forms of sickness. This is because stress triggers the inflammation response in the body. A variety of studies have showed that chronic inflammation is responsible for numerous ailments, like arthritis, digestive issues, headaches- you name it.
Exercise helps keep our immune system strong by fighting against inflammation and improving the body’s defense mechanisms against illness. Clearly, this is more important than ever.
Working Out From Home
Now that I’ve convinced you that you should be working out while sheltering in place, the question becomes how? As you may already know, it’s very easy to push it off when a comfy couch or bed is close by.
If working out has always been a challenge for you, penciling in a sweat sess may help. According to experts, scheduling workouts make us more likely to follow through with them, as adding them to our “to-do lists” can lead us to feeling more empowered about our time.
Depending where you live, you may be able to take a walk or bike ride outside while still practicing social distancing. However, if you still want something more regimented, keep reading.
12 Workouts You Can Do From Home
Most of you know I’m a fitness gal and treat exercise like a second job. Along with it aiding me to achieve the type of aesthetics I want (just being honest), it really helps to keep my generally anxious mind on an even keel.
I’ve found that working out helps me creatively (it’s nuts how many great ideas come to mind when I’m on the treadmill), and allows me to constructively burn energy when feeling frustrated or angry. It also helps me sleep better, eat better, and reminds me to make time for myself.
Although it sucks not to be able to go to the gym or take workout classes, there are hundreds of amazing workouts available FOR FREE on YouTube. Best of all, many included all three elements of fitness (cardio, strength, and flexibility) into their routine.
I own some workout equipment, which is helpful, but not necessary for the majority of these workouts. As long as you have a pair of sneakers and 15 minutes to an hour, you can get an incredible heart-pounding workout in. If you don’t have dumbbells, soup cans work. If you’re sans a yoga mat (like I am), a towel or blanket will also do the trick.
Cardio Workout: The Five-Minute Cardio Blast
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the most effective ways to torch calories in a short amount of time. It generally combines bodyweight strength training moves with plyometrics. This specific workout is great if you’re already in excellent cardiovascular shape, don’t have joint issues, and want to learn some new moves. Although this video is short, if you repeat the circuit an additional two or three times, you’ll have 20 minutes of a ultra-intense workout that will leave your muscles on fire.
No Repeat Workout/Full Body HIIT
If you’re easily bored, give this 36-minute video a try. It does require weights, but if you don’t have any, try going without or substituting with water bottles or a pair of cans. And word to the wise, this one is filled with squats, so if you’re into firming your tush, this is the vid to know.
Teo Bo Billy’s Bootcamp
You may think Teo Bo is too retro, but I politely disagree. These moves are challenging and force you to engage your core the entire time. Also, I love good old fashion cardio boxing. When you need to trim fat to let those gorgeous muscles show, cardio really is the form of exercise you need. And Billy makes it fun.
30-Minute No Equipment Cardio and Strength Conditioning
As you will come to see from this list, I’m a big fan of the workouts PopFitness has been putting out. They’re easy to follow and have enough challenging moves that you end each one feeling like you’ve had a solid workout. This one’s especially good if you don’t own any weights or if you want a routine that the kids will want to do with you.
6-Minute Standing Ab Workout
Fitness experts say you can’t spot reduce, but let’s be clear: you can train specific body parts. If you want to work on your abs, but need something more interesting than crunches, check this short video out.
Toning Legs and Hips
Speaking of spot training, have you heard of Tracy Anderson? Don’t let her free flowing dancer-like moves fool you. Her workouts will have you feeling the burn. Unlike other fitness leaders in the industry, Tracy is about engaging accessory muscles which lead to a long, lean sculpted physique. If you’re not a big fan of weights or have issues with bulking – yes, woman can bulk, though their muscle gains will be smaller compared to most men- she’s the instructor for you.
30-Minute Calorie Torching Cardio with Weights
This video will not only help you expend energy, but sculpt your muscles. If the video isn’t heart racing enough for you, I suggest running in place during rest breaks or jumping rope.
40-Minute Cardio and Sculpt: High Intensity
If you’re itching to scratch your inner beast mode, give this video a try. It will challenge you from the get. It also has some nice modifications if you’re not up for all the jumping.
Killer Calorie Burning Workout
Rough day? Take it out on this killer workout that will have you doing a combo of dynamic strength training and cardio. You’ll sweat your butt off!
Jane Fonda’s Lean Routine
It wouldn’t be a fitness vid list without at least one mention of the Grand Dame of aerobics. What I love about Jane Fonda’s videos is that they always feel like more fun than work. And believe me, these dance moves will have you moving so fast that you will werk! Definitely worth giving a try if you’re sick of during burpees and mountain climbers in your living room.
Interval Cardio Home Workout
This video is only 25-minutes (less time than a sitcom) and will work every muscle in your body.
Total Body Pilates
While many people love yoga, I’m a fan of Pilates. Along with it promoting flexibility, it also helps you build strength without tacking on mass. And unlike yoga (where it can take years of practice to perform some of the most challenging and impressive moves), you can start partaking in not only the mental but physical benefits of Pilates almost immediately.
I hope these videos help and inspire you to stay active during this time. And if want to build your home gym, check out some of my favorite tools that don’t take up a lot of space.
Hudson Valley based writer.