Imagine yourself emerging from the quarantine in better shape than ever before. 

It is possible!

Let’s face it, sounds like a struggle to stay active while you’re stuck at home. Some days, the most activity you get is the walk from your computer to the couch. 

You’re tempted by immediate access to the refrigerator. 

Maybe, you don’t have any willpower. 

You don’t have room in your budget for fitness equipment.

But right now, it’s more important than ever to be active. 

Let’s dive into why exercise is so important and how you can get started with some easy workouts in the comfort of your home. No equipment required.

Why it’s Worth it to Get your Move on 

Exercise improves your immune system, which may help protect against severe symptoms of COVID-19. That makes getting a little sweaty sound a little more worth it, right?

Physical activity also improves your mental health. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are on the rise due to the pandemic – everyone’s stuck inside and feeling disconnected from their routines and loved ones.

But research shows that one of the most powerful ways to improve your mood doesn’t require a prescription or a therapist appointment – it just takes a little movement. 

Exercise actually releases chemicals in your brain that are powerful mood-boosters. Exercise is a proven method for taking care of your mental health.

Here’s a list of six at-home workouts to get started. Try them out and see what you like.

Please note, you should always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. 

1.Yoga

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is well known for increasing your flexibility. But did you know yoga can also build muscle?

Lifting your body weight activates muscles all over your body. So, holding yoga poses improves your muscle endurance.   

Yoga is great for your digestion, circulation, and metabolism. Research found that people who practice yoga have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who don’t practice yoga.

Yoga can also help you to develop mindfulness, a nonjudgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. And it’s shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and chronic pain

It’s a good idea to do yoga stretches before every workout. Stretching protects against injuries, keeping you safe during your daily movements and activities. 

Types of Yoga

  • Vinyasa: a smooth flow, changing poses on each breath. Focus on synchronizing your breath with the poses. You can find lots of at-home vinyasa workouts on YouTube. This one is a good start.
  • Hatha: slower pace, holding each pose for an extended period of time. Here’s a hatha yoga workout for beginners.
  • Hot yoga: takes place in a heated room. The heat gets your heart pumping, it’s an amazing cardio workout.
  • Power Yoga: a more intense version of vinyasa. More difficult poses and moving faster between poses.
  • Restorative: gentle stretches, great for winding down. This restorative yoga workout is super relaxing…you’ll be ready to go to bed.

There are more varieties than I could possibly list here. Try out a few types and see which styles you like. 

2. Kickboxing

With all of this COVID-19 stress, you just wanna kick something, am I right? Well, why not? Channel your emotions into a healthy outlet like kickboxing, which blends karate and boxing for an excellent full-body workout. 

Benefits of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is an aerobic workout that helps you relieve stress and it burns calories like crazy. 

After only five weeks of kickboxing training, participants in one study showed improvements in upper-body muscle power, flexibility, speed, and agility. 

Kickboxing is also associated with positive mental qualities such as self-confidence, optimism, motivation, and resiliency. 

Click here for a no-equipment kickboxing workout you can do from home. Remember to stretch first, drink plenty of water, and listen to your body. 

3. Pilates

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a low-impact exercise that activates the muscles in a gentle way. It focuses on building strength and toning the muscles, especially in the core, lower back, hips, and buttocks. 

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates will help with your flexibility, posture, and balance. It’s also been linked to positive outcomes for mental health, lowering depression and anxiety symptoms.

Pilates is commonly used in rehabilitation programs to treat low back pain. It’s been shown to reduce pain during pregnancy. And, in women with breast cancer pilates helped with pain, fatigue, and range of motion. 

Check out this at-home workout, no equipment necessary. It’s the perfect pilates workout for beginners.

4. Jogging or Walking

Feeling like you’ve got a case of cabin fever? Try jogging in place. No equipment needed…just your own two legs.

You might jog in intervals of five to ten minutes. Over time, you can extend the intervals by a few minutes to increase the length and intensity of the jog. 

Go for a walk around your house or neighborhood. Walking can lift your mood, burn calories, and strengthen your bones and muscles. It can also lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

Running or walking up the stairs is also an excellent cardio workout. Make sure there’s nothing in your way, and use the rail for safety. 

5. Dancing

Dancing is a fun, at-home workout for the whole family.

Benefits of Dancing

Dance is an amazing stress reliever, and there’s a fascinating scientific reason for it. 

When you dance, there’s a surge of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The increase in serotonin helps the brain develop new neural connections. And these neural connections can improve your brain function

So, dance creates neural pathways that help your decision making, memory, and spatial awareness. One research study found that dance lowered the risk of dementia in the elderly. 

When Covid’s got you feeling blue, there’s nothing like dancing to a fun, upbeat song to get back in good spirits. It makes for an amazing, at-home cardio workout, and it’ll create memories the whole family will treasure. 

Here’s a fun dance workout for beginners. Get moving!

6. Basic Exercises

When in doubt, go back to the basics. 

Here are a few classic workouts: 

  • Push-ups are an oldie but goodie. 
  • Squats tone your muscles and help with digestion. 
  • Lunges and crunches improve core strength. 
  • Jumping jacks are a wonderful cardio exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. 

You may recognize those from your middle school PE class – but I promise they’ll be just as useful now. 

Take the First Step

The best part about exercising from home…nobody’s watching! You can do whatever feels right for you. 

You know your body best. Take it at your own pace and treat yourself with kindness. 

You’re awesome for taking care of yourself during this quarantine. Stay safe and have fun exercising. 

 

Resources: 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29150166/
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat
  4. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.912.4622&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4187584/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424459/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29173892/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29451666/
  9. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/walking-step-right-direction
  10. https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/dancing-and-brain
  11. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252