Let’s face it, most of us have not been the most active people this past year. That’s completely understandable, of course. Gyms closed, which inhibited a lot of our exercise. Even now that they’re open, many people are still opting to stay away. It’s cold out, so we don’t want to be outside as much. It also gets dark sooner, and we end up in bed earlier than we normally do. There are many obstacles that currently stand in our way of exercise.
Even when there isn’t a global pandemic, exercise is hard. Our lives are busy! But it’s important to know that physical activity does not have to be some big, elaborate thing. It can easily be done at home with most things you already having laying around the house.
Before we talk about ways to work out at home, lets discuss why we should get some movement in throughout the day. Physical activity has so many benefits. These include:
-Improving mobility and flexibility
-improving cardiovascular function
-Decreasing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels
-Reducing depression and anxiety
-Improving self esteem
Many of these things we already know. We have been taught this stuff for years. So why don’t people exercise? The two most often cited reasons are lack of time, and just not knowing what to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the thought that you need to do a strict workout routine, but that’s not the case! While most research recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week, even just a few minutes of activity each day is beneficial. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either! Just do something you enjoy, whether that is weight training (we love Donovan’s Strength and Conditioning), dancing, HIIT, or whatever it may be. Just going for a walk outside is a great form of activity. You can get your family or friends involved for some extra encouragement.
Even if you’re just in your living room, you can still get an intense work out. Common household objects like tin cans, laundry detergent, and milk jugs can be substitute for dumbbells. You can use benches, stools, and chairs for things like step-ups, arm dips, and box squats. Paper towels or furniture moving pads can act as sliding discs for a tough ab workout. If you prefer some guidance, Youtube is a great resource for workouts! For nearly any type of exercise you want to do, there is a Youtube video. There are also many apps for your phone that have guided exercises like yoga, running, functional workouts, and at-home weight training programs.
Remember that any activity is good activity. The most important thing is to find what works best for you and your lifestyle. When you enjoy what you are doing, exercise becomes less like a burden and more like mood-booster.
-Alex Harris, MA, RD, LD, CPT