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Indoor & Outdoor Exercises You Can Do While Social Distancing
Regardless of how confusing things may feel right now, your health still and should always – be your priority. This is why on top of eating healthy and getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, people are encouraged to stay active and exercise. Because everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing and most gyms across the country are not fully open yet, you might be wondering how you can stay fit while staying safe. And to help you out, here are some indoor and outdoor exercises you can do while social distancing.
If you are a regular gym-goer, switching to doing exercises at home can be a little challenging. After all, not everyone has a fully-equipped home gym or a big enough space for even a treadmill. And it can be difficult to maintain the “workout” mindset at home, with your couch, bed, TV, and laptop within reach.
Still, you want to maintain your fitness, even more so now that you have to stay healthy to fight off viruses. If you are like most people with little to no gym equipment at home, doing isometric exercises is a great way to stay fit indoors.
One of the great things about isometric exercises is it fully engages your muscles. In fact, isometrics activate and engage muscles up to five times more than any other type of workout. You use your body weight for resistance, so there is no need for dumbbells or other equipment.
Examples of isometrics that you can do at home without gym equipment are:
The plank works all your abdominal muscles and strengthens your chest, glutes, back, shoulder, neck, and quadriceps.
How to do it right:
- Start by doing a push-up pose with elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
- Work your abdominal muscles by squeezing your stomach up towards your spine, keeping your back straight
- Contract your glutes and quadriceps to help firm up your legs
- Make sure that your shoulders are drawn away from your ears, and your heels are positioned over the balls of your feet
How long should you plank:
Keep the pose until you feel your muscles burning and your body starts to quiver, then count 30 seconds more. Hey- we said it would be effective, not easy.
Squats are often referred to as glute and leg exercises but they are popular because you actually feel and see the benefits that it does to your whole body. Aside from toning leg muscles and shaping your butt, squats also strengthen your core muscles, your joints, and knees.
How to do it right:
- Stand with your feet spaced a little wider than your hips
- Keep toes pointed slightly outward
- Look straight – pick a spot on the wall or do this in front of a mirror
- Do not look at your feet as you do the exercise. Keep your eyes up.
- Put your arms straight out in front of you
- Feel your weight on the balls and heels of your feet – not on your toes
- Keep your abdominals flexed – like you’re getting ready to be punched in the gut.
- Breathe deeply, pushing your hips and butt backward as you bend your knees
- Focus on keeping both your knees aligned with your feet as you bend downwards
- Squat deep down – until your hips are lower than your knees (might take some time to build up this flexibility).
- Still keeping a tight core, breathe out and drive your hips upward and your knees outward.
How many squats should you do:
3 sets of 15 deep squats, at 20 seconds rest between sets.
Also known as wall squats, this exercise is a great way to build endurance and strengthen your thighs, calves, glutes, and even your abs. While it’s a pretty straightforward and simple exercise, you do need to do it correctly in order to gain physical benefits and not hurt your knees.
How to do it right:
- Stand with your back flat against a wall
- Feet firmly on the floor, about two feet out from the wall, shoulder-width apart
- Keeping your core muscles tight, slowly slide your back down the wall, bending your legs until both are at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold this position for a minimum of one minute or until you start to feel your legs and thigh muscles burning.
- Keeping your back flat against the wall, slowly come back to a standing position
How many wall sits should you do:
3 sets of 5 walls sites each, at 10 seconds rest between sets.
Another way is to download free workout apps onto your phone or follow online training videos. Pre-recorded or live workout videos are usually 20 to 30 minutes long, and you still get that group workout vibe, so it is easier to get your daily exercise in. You can also organize weekly workout sessions with friends via video calls. Better yet, start a weekly workout competition among your friends to keep daily exercises interesting.
To help you get into the “workout” mindset, set aside space in your home for exercise. Again, it does not have to be a huge space. You can set up your exercise mat, resistance bands, or dumbbells in the space in front of your TV. Or that space between your bed and window, or even in your balcony (if you have one). The idea is to return to this area of your house at the same time every day. This “trains” your mind and body that when you are in that designated space, you are going to work out.
Let’s face it, there is nothing like exercising outdoors to immediately uplift your mood. Breathing in the fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun not only is good for your body, but it also helps ease anxiety. And you CAN go outside to exercise, as long as you maintain the recommended 6-ft distance from other people. Here are a few outdoor exercise ideas that you can try:
Go for a run around your neighborhood.
Running releases endorphins into your system which helps reduce anxiety and depression. Not only that, but it is also a great cardio workout and helps you burn excess calories quickly. And despite what many people think, you CAN go out for a run or a jog. Just choose a less crowded running trail or go on a new route to maintain social distance (the new sights and environment stimulate your brain, too).
When it comes to wearing a mask while running, experts say it depends on where you plan to go on your run. If you live in a city for example, where there is a good chance you would have to run through crowded streets or parks, wearing a face mask is recommended.
However, if you are just running around your neighborhood, where there is the occasional dog walker or fellow runner, a face mask is not necessary as long as you are mindful of your distance to other people. Keep in mind though that wearing a face mask limits your airflow so you can get tired easily. Listen to your body, and take rest stops when needed.
Go for a long bike ride.
You would not only exercise your legs and glute muscles, going for a bike ride reduces stress, helps you sleep better, and overall just makes you happier. If you have been going on regular bike rides already, choose a new route. The new sights and environment will stimulate your brain and help keep you alert.
Just make sure though that you are wearing proper safety gear: helmet, gloves, glasses, and of course – cycling mask. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, so you can stay hydrated as you ride.
Take the gym to the park or your backyard.
If you have gym equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands at home, take it with you to exercise at the park or even just your backyard. Do your workout under the morning sun and enjoy the fresh air.
You can stream or download workout routines on your phone and do them outdoors. Bring a yoga mat, your phone, and dumbbells or resistance bands, and take your gym classes to the park. Again, make sure that you are keeping at least 6 feet away from other people.
Nobody knows how long this need for social distancing would last. So, it is important to stay active and exercise regularly, even if your gym is still closed for business. You can check out fitness recovery blogs for exercise ideas that you can do at home. Or if you are not feeling up for a full workout session at home – go out of the house. Go on a bike ride. Take your dog on long walks. Run.
Keep busy, keep moving. If nothing else, staying physically active releases those feel-good hormones. And these days, we could all use a good cheering up, even if we are social distancing.
Did you enjoy our suggestions on exercises you can do while social distancing? Well, check out some of our other Move articles!
When Jai Tadeo isn’t at work writing full time for HYDRAGUN, she’s usually at home, running on her treadmill. When the weather’s great, she runs 5 kilometers outdoors after a day of writing. She’s also been unsuccessful at beating her husband at badminton every weekend for the past ten years.