Let’s Keep Moving: Workout at home
With Meisha-Gay Mattis
It is within our nature as people to hate change. This can indubitably mess with our sanity particularly if it comes abruptly and with little assurance as to when normalcy will return. Personally, I feel completely thrown off when my structured routine is canceled or derailed. It's only been a little over two weeks and I miss going to the gym. Willfully staying at home is a totally different experience from being ordered to. Nonetheless, it is the current reality we are all faced with and have to maneuver amidst COVID-19.
We’ve talked about the importance of physical activity and moving our bodies countless times as the benefits associated with movement are undeniable. However, during this time when most of us are practicing social distancing, we can easily become couch potatoes and find ourselves “Netflix and Chilling” all day as we become overwhelmed by this current reality. It takes serious motivation to stay on track with movement, especially when your motivation to workout comes with others present or the required tools at your disposal, as seen in a gym setting.
However, now is not the time to pause your workout routine. In fact, now is the time to amplify your movement considering all your other physical activities are limited. Remember, your body craves and thrives on movement.
It is still very much possible to stay in shape from the comfort of your home. There are tons of trainers, including myself, who are sharing free daily workouts via social media. Other mediums include the Nike Training App (NTC) and Youtube which cover exercise routines from HIIT to yoga, cardio and bodyweight training.
I’ll share with you some inexpensive tools you can purchase to make your workouts meaningful from home, in addition to some staple workout moves and household tools and items at your disposal that can be used.
Simple Workout Tools
- Resistance Bands
- Exercise Mat
- Jump Rope
- Wearable Weights - Ankle Weights and Arm Weights
Referred to as tube bands occasionally, come in a variety of sizes with the option of handles or no handles. Additionally, they carry different strength levels with some bands being equated to as much as 100 lbs of tension. Handleless bands are generally great for glute activation workouts, jump squats, lateral leg raises and kickbacks, while bands with handles are typically great for upper body workouts which include bicep curls, etc.
Dumbells are a great addition to have at home. I like to recommend three pairs: light, medium and heavy. These free weights are ideal for upper body workouts like curls, presses, and rows.
An exercise mat provides a comfortable work surface for core exercises, stretching and other floor workouts.
A jump rope is an absolute must have. It can give you a superb cardio workout especially if you have time constraints. It’s great for building stamina, endurance and increasing conditioning which is why it is a staple feature of a boxer’s workout routine. One can easily burn up to 200 calories in a 10-minute session.
These weights come with adjustable straps that make them suitable for your arm or ankle. Wearable weights are great for added resistance when walking and jogging as they place considerable load on the target muscles.
Given time constraints and resources, you may still be unable to access these. Nevertheless, you can find household items that can be added to your workout. Canned goods and smaller water bottles can be used as dumbbells for lateral raises, shoulder presses and dumbbell curls. Large 5-liter water bottles or laundry detergent bottles can be used in place of a kettlebell to add strength to a killer workout. When these bottles are full they can add a great amount of resistance. Another great useful idea is to fill a backpack with books or anything heavy to add weights incrementally. You can still get results and not totally eliminate your progress by working out from home. While more is always preferred than less, remember that a little is better than none.
6 Anywhere Moves
- Start in a high plank with shoulders over wrists.
- Maintain a straight line in the body.
- Engage core and glutes.
- Keeping the elbows close to the rib cage, squeeze shoulder blades together and in a straight line lower body toward the floor.
- Push through palms back to start.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with chest high
- Step forward with either foot and lower body straight down, keeping your torso upright, chin up and knees behind the toes. Both knees should be almost at a 90-degree angle.
- Using your hamstring and glutes, press into the heel of the front leg to push yourself back up to starting position and then switch to the next leg.
Lunges help to make the muscles around our knees stronger
- Stand in a wide stance, lift your chest high.
- Extend arms out in front, engage your core.
- Place weight through the heels, and push your butt back as if you are trying to sit in a chair that is behind you, keeping knees behind the toes.
- Press through your heel as you return to standing.
Squats are a great way to strengthen your; quads, glutes and lower back.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
- Squat and touch the floor with your hands.
- Step back into a plank
- Step feet forward back into a squat
- And stand back up into the starting position.
- Start at the top of the push-up position.
- Engage your core, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and there's a straight line from your shoulders to heels.
- Stand with feet together and hands by your sides.
- Take everything out and away from the midline of the body as you jump; leg and arms overhead.
- Jump your feet back to the midline of the body while lowering arms.
Contributed by Meisha-Gay Mattis, founder of Bodhi, a Kingston-based holistic wellness company. She is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer.
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