Despite the latest health concerns, it is still important to stay active and healthy. Participating in exercise not only helps improve function and fitness, it also helps boost your immune system. As commercial gyms are forced to shut their doors due to government restrictions to promote social distancing, it has become harder to access exercise programs. However, here are a few simple tips that you can implement to help you complete an exercise regime and achieve your fitness goals in the comfort of your own home.
No Equipment? No Worries.
Almost all gym-based programs incorporate free weights, TheraBands, powerbands, and machine weights into each exercise. However, having these specific pieces of equipment at home is not necessary to achieve similar resistance-based exercises. Here are some examples of household products/fixtures you can use to emulate some common pieces of gym equipment:
- Stairs for step ups
- Water bottles or tin cans for free weights
- Bench tops or window sills as supports to do modified exercises such as push ups and mountain climbers
- Fabric bags to hold weighted equipment for free weights
- Chairs for benches to complete seated exercises such as sit-to-stands
Body Weight Exercises
Body weighted exercises still count as resistance-based training. Even if you cannot find household products to use as weighted equipment, there are many body weighted exercises you can complete we can work on various aspects of strength. These include upper body, lower body and core exercises. Here are just a few examples you can try at home:
- Sit-to-stands or squats
- Step ups or lunges
- Glute bridges
- Push ups
- Triceps dips
- Mountain climbers
Don’t have the right amount of weight? Increase repetitions
If you are looking to step up the intensity of your exercise program but do not have enough weight to achieve this, you can simply increase the amount of repetitions you complete in each set. This not only improves the muscular endurance of the targeted muscles but also improves their strength (as opposed to explosive power). As a muscle completes more repetitions it has to work harder to complete each successive rep, this improves the muscle’s ability to work through fatigue. Here are some guidelines on how to progress your repetitions: 3×10, 3×12, 3×15, 3×18, 3×20. This can also be achieved through increased sets (eg, 3, 4, or 5 sets).
Like resistance-based equipment that is easily accessible at the gym, cardio machines makes it convenient to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Yet, these big bulky pieces of equipment aren’t required to achieve the same level of cardiovascular intensity. This mode of exercise can be incorporated around the house such as stair climbing or walking and jogging around the outside of the house. Although if you do prefer to walk around the block, this is an option too. Cardiovascular fitness can be achieved through more explosive and repetitious movements for a period of time. These are called AMRAPs (as many reps as possible). Here are just a few examples of AMRAP exercises:
- Body weighted squat jumps for 30 seconds
- Mountain climbers for 20 seconds
- High knees for 40 seconds
- Star jumps for 30 seconds
Lastly, it is all well and good when we have a plan, however sometimes executing these plans into action can be more challenging. Developing some strategies to keep you accountable can help you continue to stay active and work towards your fitness goals. I find that the most helpful way to stay accountable is involving a friend of family member in your fitness goal. This could be simply having a weekly check in with each party to see how their fitness went over the past week or even complete your exercise regime together over a video chat application. There are some ways you can stay accountable with yourself: these could include marking your exercise days on a calendar and ticking them off when completed, or setting an alarm on your phone reminding you to exercise.