There’s No Place Like Home: Tips for Staying Fit During COVID-19
Don’t Derail Your Health – No Matter Your Condition or Mobility
During these stay-at-home times, our “go-to” stress-busting routines are no longer available.
Lee Health certified exercise specialist Marc Bifano says lack of equipment and opportunity shouldn’t derail your commitment to your health and emotional well-being. He’s met the challenge before with other clients.
“Throughout my professional career, I’ve adapted my clients to the limited equipment available to them,” Bifano says. “We had to get creative and think outside the box to establish a fitness program that optimized their health and wellness.”
Exercising at home without equipment can benefit someone who’s new to fitness and isn’t sure what to do. Also, for people who have been exercising for years, a home-based exercise program is an opportunity to change up their workouts, Bifano says.
Marc Bifano’s top tips for exercising at home:
Learn bodyweight exercises. Bifano says mobility, stability and muscular endurance activities are the foundation of any sound program.
“Bodyweight exercises like planks, body squats, bridges and even yoga movements are ideal to establish and maintain a strong foundation,” Bifano says. “Typically, these are the first steps I guide new clients through before they move onto more challenging exercises.”
Use household items for strength and mobility. Fitness equipment costs money, of course. If you want to avoid the expense, Bifano recommends going “old school” by introducing home items into your workouts.
“You can use water or milk jugs, a towel, your stairs, homemade sandbags, a broom, and chains, just about anything that can challenge your core and muscles.” For example, Bifano says, you can use a gallon of milk or a detergent jug and use it like a dumbbell or kettlebell. The point is, he says, is to get moving!
Equip your home gym. Because exercise equipment can be expensive, Bifano suggests starting small. “The essential items for starting a home gym include a few pairs of different weight dumbbells, or a set of adjustable-weight dumbbells,” he says.
“Other relatively inexpensive items are resistance bands, jump rope, stability ball, pull-up bar, and an exercise mat.” With this equipment, you can create a good, balanced workout that includes pushing and pulling motions, Bifano adds.
Switch up your exercises. Avoid doing the same workout every day, Bifano advises. “Your body adapts pretty quickly to the demands that are placed on it, so try challenging different muscle groups. You’ll avoid getting bored with the same old routine, too.”
Exercise for Adults with Limited Movement
But what if you are not able to get outside and enjoy the great outdoor space? What if you are limited in your house but need to stay moving?
Mobility is one of the keys to remaining healthy so here are some recommended exercises to keep your strength and mobility going while in your house:
- Sit to stand. Sit in a chair and, not using your arms, try to push up, stand up and down. See how many you can do in a 30 seconds. Work up to an increase of repetitions over 2-3 weeks or, more importantly, try to increase your speed.
- Wall push-ups. Place your hands on a wall at chest level and perform push-ups on the wall. The further your feet are away from the wall, the harder the exercise. Challenge yourself with increasing your repetitions and starting with upright body position, progressing to placing your feet further away from wall.
- Balance exercises. Stand with your feet together for 30 seconds. Progress to one foot in front of the other like you are standing on a straight line. The next progression would be single leg balance for up to 30 seconds.
- Shoulder pinches. Stand up with your back against a wall or door. Pinch your shoulder blades together and bring them toward the wall. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 20 times.
Walk around your house and create laps to get some more steps in. Make several trips out to the mailbox, stand during commercials or march in place for as long as you can.
If you are moderately active, some other options for exercise include online fitness classes through platforms such as Zoom.
Going from being moderately active to minimally active during this time can impact you greatly, so get moving and stay safe!