Whether you've been staying at home because of a shelter-in-place order or you're just practicing good social distancing, one thing that you shouldn't neglect is your fitness routine. Staying fit is more important now than ever. Study after study has shown that exercise produces endorphins, chemicals that basically act like painkillers in our bodies. Regular aerobic exercise also decreases tension, can elevate and stabilize mood, and improve sleep — probably things we can all benefit from right now.
So when gyms and yoga studios were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, many savvy trainers put their classes online not just to ensure their businesses had a chance of survival — but also to help their clients' stay fit.
But working out at home isn't a new phenomenon. There are plenty of tried-and-true exercise programs you can do from home, even if they have to be slightly tweaked. Melissa Feldman, M.S., a Sarasota, Florida-based yoga teacher, exercise physiologist and health coach says the first place to start is considering what you have access to. If you normally run but can't get outside, or you like to lift weights but don't have any of your own, don't let that stop you.
"Maybe it's a good opportunity to do something else that you might like," Feldman says. "It might be a really great time to try something new. Usually when you try something new, your body responds very positively." That's because you'd be using different muscle groups — or perhaps venturing into a mind-body activity — and those new exercises can have multiple benefits. Here are seven exercise programs you can easily do at home that will keep you moving.
1. Get Out Those Workout Videos
Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons might have led the charge here, but today's offerings in workout videos are diverse enough to appeal to bodybuilders and ballerinas alike. From 20-minute, no equipment, no excuses workouts like those from TMAC Fitness to the 3,400-plus classes available on Pilates Anytime, do a bit of online searching to find the program that appeals to you. Most of them charge a monthly all-access fee and offer a complimentary trial period, but if you really need to get a free workout, YouTube will have you covered. Best of all, these workouts are available just when you want them.
2. Join a Livestreaming Class
Hitting the living room and clicking play on a recorded workout sounds great for those folks that are fine working out on their own, but what about someone who needs the motivation of a group class and feedback from others to get into the groove? Feldman says the trick to staying inspired is scheduling your workouts — or even choosing live participation — rather than going back later and watching the recorded feed of the Facebook Live class.
"Put them in your calendar," she says. "If you are motivated to go to a class, you'll be motivated to do the livestream. It also supports the studios." Find live classes through the gyms and studios where you already have memberships because they may have moved their classes and sessions to a virtual, live format.
What's exciting about the virtual nature of these live workouts is that you can also try classes and instructors in other parts of the country or the world. ClassPass, an app that pairs people with fitness classes, enables its studio partners to provide livestream classes on its platform, and the Mindbody app now has a virtual search capability to identify studios offering online classes.
3. Hire a One-on-one Virtual Trainer
You'll get more from your fitness routine when you work out with a personal trainer, according to Shape magazine. A trainer will teach you new exercises, help you push past a plateau and give you feedback. Don't let social distancing stop you from receiving these benefits. If you have a trainer you love, set up virtual training sessions.
One-on-one training may be expensive, so to keep a handle on cost, consider semi-private lessons via a platform like Zoom. Teaming up with a workout partner and a trainer will also make you more accountable. In fact, there are a variety of ways to keep a personal trainer in your virtual lifestyle. Caliber pairs clients with a trainer who creates a fitness program and checks in regularly rather than being present through each workout.
4. Dust Off Your Fancy Home Gym Equipment
There are treadmills, rowing machines, ellipticals, and there once was the ThighMaster. All of these pieces of equipment can be part of a home gym and an at-home fitness routine. With smart technology, equipment has evolved so that you no longer have to feel stuck at home or alone.
The Peloton Bike or Tread brings motivation to you with an on-demand library and live classes with a real instructor. Peloton has special classes with DJs joining the instructors for a "club-like feel." And while you are training, you can commune with other members, even sending them high fives.
In homes pressed for space, a slimmer solution like Mirror offers an interactive display with live classes, on-demand workouts and the ability to offer feedback — it has an embedded camera and can be connected with a Bluetooth heart-rate monitor. Tonal is a space-saving home fitness system with a virtual personal trainer and can deliver 200 pounds of resistance. All of these come at a cost, though.
5. Utilize All Those Fitness Phone Apps
If one of the smart-live-streaming-futuristic home gyms is better defined as budget busting, the smart device in your pocket may have the solution to getting a great workout at home. Fitness apps can help you plan, track and improve your fitness routine. Sworkit allows users to customize programs to fitness level and goals and offers extras like a fitness community and the ability to ask a trainer or get personalized coaching.
Heavier lifters, there are apps for you too. Digital Trends put together a list of the best ones for anyone who finds the normal routines "a little too casual." But these are just a few examples. When it comes to fitness apps, they come in just about every style and type, including one for the time-crunched — the J&J Official 7 Minute Workout.
6. Get Fit With Your Favorite Celebs
They may or may not be certified to provide fitness instruction, but some celebrities are helping fans stay in shape with everything from advice to live workouts. Vogue asked "fashionable yogis" for guidance on developing an at-home practice. Emmy Rossum has invited her Instagram followers to meet her on IG LIVE for Pilates workouts with instructors from Erika Bloom Pilates, Natural Pilates and more. Or you could just work out with Dwayne Johnson, if you dare.
7. Be Creative With Outdoor Space
If despite the many connected indoor activities available to make an at-home exercise routine, you crave the great outdoors, you'll have to get creative. You can be like balcony marathon runner Elisha Nochomovitz (who ran the length of a marathon on his balcony!) and just jog in place or back and forth depending on how much space you have, though that's pretty extreme.
Maybe an outdoor group fitness class is a possibility, but when it isn't, some people are getting around it by maintaining social distance. A personal trainer in Spain led a workout from the rooftop for students on their balconies; in Utah, a backyard Zumba class allowed people to stay safely separated; or for a quick do-anywhere routine, take a tip from this outdoor, vacation HIIT workout.