Return to Low-Cost Fitness Activities – Fitness Industry Changed During the Pandemic
By Space Coast Daily // September 20, 2021
A lot of people have gotten used to going to the gym as part of their everyday schedule to help keep their health in check and have a good fitness level. Others have opted for including spinning classes, yoga sessions, and other ways of staying fit, thus creating a good, challenging routine. But that might not be the case anymore.
Nowadays gyms are not so easily accessible
Right now, because of the pandemic, things are not as easy as before. The limitations and safety precautions have made going to these fitness centers much more complicated, causing people to stall their progress, or, in states where quarantine is still in action, it has caused them to quit these activities altogether.
Or, some have even experienced budget cuts and job losses, meaning that an extra membership would be out of the question.
Even if going was an option, whether you’re vaccinated or not, masks are mandatory when you’re in a populated space, peak hours should be avoided, class activities have fewer spots because of the distancing rule, the equipment you want to use should be wiped down before and after, and so on. While for some this is a worthy price to pay, for others this can turn working out into more of a chore than a pleasure, making them reconsider if it’s worth the trouble.
Your home could be just as good as a gym
If you’ve found yourself in one of the situations above, don’t quit the idea of keeping in shape just yet. Even if working out at home might not sound as appealing (if you’re the type of person who gets motivated when you see others doing their thing in the gym), there’s no reason not to try. With a little inventiveness, your home could be just as good.
What you should do to prepare is make sure the space you’ll be using is clean and free of any furniture or miscellaneous items that might trip you or fall, prepare the tech you need (maybe a TV for guided training), make sure the room has a ventilation source that you can use before and after, and, as Ice Energy suggests, consider adding an air purifier that can rid the room of the dust or allergens that might be stirred as you do your routine.
The next step of the preparation is making sure you’re keeping healthy inside-out.
Yes, while exercising is suggested by everyone, a good diet plan is also needed. And no, we’re not referring to restrictive diets. What we’re talking about is more of a good meal schedule with fresh ingredients that will keep you balanced and energized. If you used to buy your food before (or after) hitting the gym, now you’ll have to take care of the food prep yourself.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to become a chef overnight, as many kitchen tools can do the work for you. And since boiled water often comes in handy, like when cooking eggs, potatoes, putting together a stew, or even making tea, a cast-iron tea kettle could be your best pick thanks to its durability and non-toxic attributes.
Don’t go overboard with certain types of meals (like those that are prepared with a lot of oil, fried, containing too many carbs, etc.), limit your soda intake, and stick to a regular eating schedule for the best results.
The next and last step we’ll address before getting into the suggestions we have for turning your home into a gym substitute is warming up. If you were a frequent gym-goer, you know how important it is to get your muscles stretched and blood flow going.
If you happen to have a yard, doing a few easy stretches or a yoga session in the open air could be a great way of starting, but if you don’t have that option, what you could do is look into tools or equipment that could fit in your workout room and be used to help you make the most of both the vertical and horizontal space in your home.
And as Pilates is a sport that you can easily practice at home, what Winsor Pilates recommends is getting a multi-use piece such as a reformer that can help with core stabilizing, muscle engagement, and even relieve pain, making it great for use before a more intense workout.
After all, the setting up is done and your chosen room looks good to go, you’ll need to decide if you want to spend a little money on some equipment, or if you want to go with the sustainability route and repurpose some of the items that you already own.
■ Cans, bottles, buckets. Food cans can prove to be useful in more ways than one since you can use them as handheld dumbbells or even bundle them up in a bag or cloths to tie around a mop handle to create free weights. Used water bottles can work just as well, and they tend to provide a better grip when held. Another free weight alternative you could use is a couple of buckets. Fill them up with liquid or something heavier, like sand or rocks, to use them the same way as the cans.
■ Furniture. Think stools, chairs, couches, oversized couch pillows, ottomans, leg rests, bean bags, and so on. All these could come in handy as support for a wide variety of exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, dips, twists, lifts, and whatever else you can think of.
■ Stairs. Take advantage of the stairs in your apartment complex, or the ones in your home, if your house has a second floor. Either try to use them more, avoiding the elevator, or do your cardio on them.
■ Repurpose old clothing. Old clothes that still have sturdy elastic bands can be used as resistance bands. Simply cut the excess material and you’ve made yourself a new tool.
■ Your body. The most accessible ‘tool’ you have at your disposal is the weight of your own body. Utilize it to the fullest by doing squats, jumps, crunches, raises, and more.
■ Used equipment. If you prefer using specialized equipment no matter what, but your funds are low, go for cheaper or used options. Be on the lookout for deals, repackaged offers, garage sales, second-hand stores, or even try asking your friends if they have something that they can parts ways with.
- DVDs. To get some DVDs for guided training you could ask at the local library if they have some, see if you can borrow any from friends, or keep an eye out for bargains.
- Internet – the biggest resource. Online you can find everything you need and more. Either do a quick Google or Youtube search, find online programs or download an App for your phone to find the routine that can suit you best.
- Aquaintances. No matter if it’s a friend or a neighbor, try to shoot an apropos about starting to work out at home and see if anyone would like to join. Who knows what exercise routines you could whip up together, and you can also act as each other’s motivator. And this way it might be easier to ask if they could share their equipment with you (granted you do the same, of course).
Locations for Exercising Outside
If on some days you feel like taking your exercises outside of your house, your options could be looking like this:
■ Local recreation departments – where you might also find classes that offer discounts to residents
■ Local senior centers – if you’re older, senior centers might offer classes as well
■ Local sports courts – tennis, football, basketball, or volleyball courts could be available nearby and you could do your morning stretches there too
■ Running tracks – you might be able to find these at a local park or near courts
■ Local swimming pools – swimming has been proven to be a very effective way of keeping in shape
■ Outdoor sports clubs – limitations might prove to be a little bit more acceptable with outdoor activities, so give hiking, jogging, skating, or cycling a try
Basic Equipment Suggestions
Should you have some money to spend on a “beginner’s kit”, here are some pieces that are worth mentioning:
■ Exercise Balls. Also known as fitness or stability balls, these can be a very useful multitool for balance, muscle strengthening, and support.
■ Medicine Balls. With the variation of slam balls, these are good for building, mobility, and more intense workouts.
■ Kettlebells. Good for strength enhancing (core, grip, arm, etc.)
■ Ropes. Either for jumping or exercise. Useful in warm-ups or cardio.
■ Bars. For free weights, pull-ups, push-ups, these bars help tremendously when it comes to upper body strength.
■ Body weights. Wrist or ankle weights, weighted vests, all help with building muscle and heightening your endurance.
Keep a Structured Schedule
Now that you’ve made the checklist, you need to stick to a routine. This usually proves to be the hardest part, as motivation may not be as high when you’re training in your own home.
Some tips for this would be to get a tracking app on your phone that can give you constant reminders, writhe in a workout journal, use programs that count your days and let you set new goals, make notes on your calendar/fridge/mirror so that you can see them daily, tell a friend or family member to check in on your progress by calling you daily, or find a training partner so that you can amp each other up.
Other Activities that Double as Exercise
Some activities you could do that don’t require as much preparation effort are:
■ Walking the dog
■ Playing with the kids
■ Doing a grocery run without a car
■ Taking evening walks with family
■ Walking or biking to the office
■ Doing other errands on foot
■ Scheduling household chores to exercise weekly (gardening, shoveling, doing laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing, wiping the dust, etc.
To sum it up
As it turns out, you don’t need a fully equipped room to keep your workouts up to date. All you need is some creativity, motivation, and maybe a training buddy to help you tick off every box in your daily progress tracker.