The world is facing an unprecedented health crisis as countries around the world go into lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. If you’re reading this article, you’re likely one of the millions around the world confined to your home as we wait for the curve to flatten.
One of the major challenges of staying at home during this pandemic is keeping ourselves healthy. Indeed, in an effort to maintain public health, we might be opening ourselves up to a different set of health issues – with gyms closed down and people relying increasingly on fast food delivery, now is the most important time to take care of your health.
With gyms closed down, and less access to the outdoors, people are trying to find ways of keeping fit indoors. This article will dig into some tried and tested workouts, tips & tools to keep in shape.
Simple 7 Minute Workouts
Wall sits, push-ups, ab-crunch, step-ups, squats, these are 12 high intensity exercises series that take 30 second to do, with breaks of 10 seconds between them. You don’t need any equipment and you can do them anywhere and although it’s called “7 minute”, for maximum benefits you should do the routine 3 times in a row.
To guide you through the exercises, you can use apps that also allow you to track your routine, give information regarding burned calories, and more, many of which are also free, such as this app for iPhone and Johnson and Johnson for iOS and Android. You might also want to check out YouTube’s 7 Minute workouts videos such as this one, that you can watch while you do yours… with background music and instructor guidance included.
One of the biggest concerns with working from home over extended periods of time are a lack of movement. If you’re spending days upon days with your only movement being from your room to your bathroom, your limbs, muscles & joints will start to seize up and you’ll experience serious postural issues. Even a few weeks of poor posture and inflexibility can lead to chronic pain and injury issues.
Romwod is the single best way to keep your body flexible and agile through this relatively hermitic period. It requires no equipment, and they have a new workout every day – just 20 minutes a day and you’ll come out of quarantine stronger and more flexible than ever.
Be warned though – Romwod isn’t just a simple set of stretches, and can be really challenging! Not only is it great for increasing your mobility and flexibility, it’s decent cardio workout and stresses your CNS to keep your body on its toes.
Grab a pull-up bar for calisthenic workouts
Since it probably isn’t feasible to set up a home gym immediately – especially if this is a temporary accommodation – your best option to maintain and build strength during the lockdown are bodyweight routines.
Reddit’s r/bodyweightfitness offers a fantastic resource for full-body calisthenic workouts that’ll have you coming back into the office more ripped than you left it. The Reddit beginner routine is a great place to start – but there’s no shortage of other calisthenic routines on the internet, and even, in YouTube, that you can watch and follow, such as this one for beginners.
The key piece of equipment to make it work, though? A pull-up bar. Most bodyweight techniques need no equipment, but a pull-up bar is crucial to a balanced home workout. While there are certainly alternatives to pullups (like table-supported rows), there’s no better single calisthenic exercise than the pull-up.
So hop over to Amazon, grab a pullup bar, and you’re set – all the home gym you’ll need to get through the crisis.
Keep a healthy diet
As they say, the best exercise for controlling your weight are “fork put downs”. One of the challenges of working from home is how much easier it is to put on unwanted weight. While calisthenic workouts and walking are great forms of exercise for your strength and overall health, there’s no better way to keep your weight in check than keeping an extra eye on your diet
There are several bad habits which are easy to fall into diet-wise during a home quarantine. Here are some best practices for keeping your diet in check:
- Follow the ‘French Diet’…. 3 clear meals at the same times every day, with limited to no snacking in between
- Minimize ordering out and take your flexibility of working from home to cook as often as possible
- Avoid alcohol
- Minimized processed carbs and increase consumption of fats and proteins, which allow you to stay fuller longer per calorie consumed
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid sugars
- Keep snacks and unhealthy foods out of your kitchen entirely
Most of these are rather common sense diet advice, but they’re doubly important during this period. First, it’s crucial to keep your immune system firing at all cylinders to defend against the virus in case it reaches you. Second, the extra time, flexibility and proximity to a kitchen make staying at home a danger-zone for snacking or even stress eating.
Last but not least, download MyFitnessPal and count your calories during this period. You can stop once you’re back into the real world, but during this period it’ll help you keep your consumption in check, while also giving you an increased awareness of the foods you eat in the future.
The bottom line
Staying at home for a long period of time shouldn’t be an excuse to let your health go – if anything, the controlled environment and more flexible schedules should allow you to dedicate more time towards physical activity.
A combination of light cardio activity, posture work & heavy calisthenic strength out are more than enough to not only survive but thrive in quarantine. Even a few weeks of this routine will see you coming out the other end with an improved physique & overall health.
Most importantly, stay safe, and stay healthy.