It seems like we’ve just been released from our homes during the pandemic lockdown. Now, we are approaching fall and winter, and many will be retreating back into their homes until spring arrives. But even though we are once again seeking the protection of our abodes, it doesn’t mean we should let our fitness go fallow. In fact, it’s more important than ever to maintain ourselves!
And keeping ourselves fit is not just for the physical benefits, which are more or less obvious, but for the mental positives, too. There’s nothing that makes depression stronger than being trapped in a sedentary mode for extended periods of time.
So, what exactly needs doing? How do our routines change from what they were before, and how do we maintain the level of fitness we’ve gained this past summer?
Household Alternatives to Equipment
If you’re not quite comfortable going back to the gym yet, don’t worry, there’s still hope for your physical performance yet.
You might not get the really heavy weights you’d get at a gym, but let’s be honest, we weren’t going to use those much anyway. So what you can use instead are water bottles. Now, wait! Hang on. Before you say anything like “that’s not nearly enough weight,” might we propose this: Instead of doing the standard-length reps, the ones that last about a second or two, try stretching out those periods between switching the arm you’re bending. The longer you hold the weight, the more you’re exerting those muscles. This is known as time under tension and should make up the difference of not having the bottles be heavier. Another option is to fill bags with enough rice to where they match the weight you’re after!
You thought we were going to say stairs, right? However, if you’re looking for squats, planks, pistols, etc., then the couch is more than a suitable companion. If you can’t manage regular pushups or planks, try using the arm of your couch to give you more leverage. Also, spend more time under tension by doing the pushups slowly to improve your performance.
If you want something a little more general-purpose, something that’ll add a sprinkling of cardio to whatever you’re doing, then stuff a backpack full of stuff and strap it on. It’s good weight training, it makes you sweat, and you can technically say you’re still exercising if you go for a water break or a break-break.
It’s not weird. If you want some resistance training, wrap these around your hands, or wrists, or ankles and use them like you would resistance bands. Now, of course, you can’t really go hog wild on them, lest you prove your mettle so hard that they tear. But these are a great option unless you do have real resistance bands.
The Gauntlet (Prolonged Passive Exercise)
But what if none of this is quite enough? What if you feel like something is missing — a certain challenge you can’t face in quite the same way indoors as outdoors? Oh yes, we know what you want.
You want The Gauntlet.
What is The Gauntlet? Imagine those survival shows, movies, etc., where the protagonist is constantly walking across brambles, fallen trees, maybe some ferocious animals, and avoiding danger on a daily basis. That looks like a fun way to stay in shape, huh?
Do you have tiled flooring? From now on, you can only move across that floor like a Knight in Chess. Oops, those beloved snacks you’ve grown so used to just grabbing right out of the pantry are now on the highest shelf. It looks like you’re going to have to stretch to reach those bad boys. And a childhood nightmare returns; what if the carpet is lava?!
Do you see where we’re going with this? If you’re not the sort to stick to a strict schedule, or you chafe at the idea of doing a whole workout routine every morning, it might be beneficial to add a bit of spice to things by making everyday activities just that little bit more challenging. It not only engages your body but your mind as well. Giving both your body and mind fresh stimuli in otherwise boring situations like being stuck indoors is a great way to keep both awake and working!
In addition to these unique and easy-to-do ideas, there are many online workout videos to choose from. So many that it should be easy for you to find one that keeps your interest and that you’re comfortable doing. Of course, if you are just getting started in your fitness routine, be sure to start slow and work your way up.