With the threat of coronavirus ever-present, it’s understandable if you want to avoid the gym right now. But you can still get a gym-quality workout at home, as this Harvard researcher reveals.
Getting motivated to work out in the middle of winter can be difficult at the best of times. It’s so cold out, surely hitting snooze one more time won’t hurt, right?
And with the threat of coronavirus ever-present, it’s understandable if you want to avoid the gym right now. We all know working out at home can be even more challenging because the TV remote and various pantry goodies are right there, but exercise is a key factor in maintaining a tip-top immune system and your overall health.
Turns out, staying fit at home doesn’t need to be complicated. Michele Stanten, a Harvard fitness expert and certified instructor recently detailed how to get the most out of exercising in your living room, and it can be as simple as walking on the spot.
When your heart is pumping and you’re breathing harder, you’re doing wonders for your cardiovascular system. In the long-term, lung and heart health is maintained, blood pressure is reduced, and the risk of diabetes is lowered. All good things.
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“Just stepping in place is a simple and effective workout,” she writes in an article published by the Harvard Medical School’s health blog.
“Put on music and lift your knees high, or step and kick. If you have more space, step side-to-side or forward and back.”
Want to get that heart racing even more? Raise your arms up and down as you pace; you can even get the kids involved in a game of ‘Simon Says’.
But there are also countless cardio workouts to stream for free online, from kickboxing to high-intensity dance classes if walking isn’t your jam.
Strengthening muscles is also really important for bone health. Luckily, you don’t need bulky gym equipment, or even a lot of floor space, to get the same results, in fact you can use ordinary household items like cans of baked beans, or a water bottle, to substitute in for dumbbells. Your own body weight can often be enough.
Squats, tricep dips off the couch, and static holds aka bridges for 30 seconds are all easy forms of weight training you can do at home.
“Repeat each exercise eight to 10 times for a set and do two or three sets. Add more exercises or more repetitions as you improve,” Stanten advises.
There are also plenty of pilates classes online you can do for free.
Keeping your body nimble and flexible is important for keeping a range of motion in your joints. If you neglect to stretch, your muscles become shorter, tighter and this can cause a range of issues like back and neck pain.
You can either follow a type of exercise that incorporates stretching, like yoga or tai chi or just create a list of stretches to do once the muscles are warmed up.
Ultimately though, Stanten says a well-rounded routine should include all three of the above, but the good news is a mere few minutes a day of each will be infinitely better than nothing at all.