In these times of isolation and social distancing, unfortunately, going to the gym is not possible for most. But how does one keep in shape without the gym? Well, there are several ways. Here’s how to stay fit even though gyms are closed.
1. Follow a no-equipment work out plan
Is it possible to stay fit while staying at home? The answer is yes! There are a plethora of workout videos on YouTube, a lot of them that don’t even require equipment. So if you don’t even have dumbbells laying around, find some no-equipment necessary workout videos. One of the best YouTube channels out there for this is Heather Robinson. Heather’s channel is packed full of no equipment workout videos, workout plans, and general routines. This channel is probably the best resource for staying fit at home and working out without equipment. These videos employ “HIIT”, or high-intensity interval training. These workout methods will keep you in shape without the need for bulky equipment that most don’t have in their homes. Hey, you may find that these videos are keeping you just as in shape as going to the gym, in which case, you no longer need to pay for the expensive membership. It’s a win-win situation!
Running is one of the best ways to stay fit. According to Harvard Health, “The new study focused on a group of more than 55,000 men and women ages 18 to 100. About a quarter of them were runners. Over 15 years, those who ran just 50 minutes a week or fewer at a moderate pace were less likely to die from either cardiovascular disease or any cause, compared with those who didn’t run at all. The study suggests a relatively low entry level for the benefit of jogging, but it is not a prescription. ‘A little bit is good but a little bit more is probably better,’ Dr. Baggish says. A 2013 study in Denmark suggested that the ‘sweet spot’ for maximum longevity is up to 2.5 hours of running a week.” Running is a great way to stay in shape and has numerous health benefits as shown. If you haven’t been a runner before, now is a great time to start. You can run anywhere outside, and the outdoors will never be closed. Running is also a great way to explore the nature near you, which can also have numerous mental health benefits. Overall, running is wonderful for health and staying fit. With gyms closed, now is the perfect time to become a runner and hopefully experience the ever-elusive runner’s high!
3. Eat healthier, home-cooked meals
We are spending more time at home than ever, which means now is the perfect time to pick up cooking. Cooking at home will always be healthier than eating out. Before COVID-19, most of us had hectic schedules that limited our ability to spend time cooking food. As a result, fast food and takeout became the default choice, me included. Use this time at home to learn to cook some healthy meals. Exercising is a necessary step to staying in shape, but it’s only half the battle. You must be feeding your body with healthy foods that will fuel your body. Watch some YouTube cooking videos for healthy meals and get to work. Learning to cook is a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life. The more practice you have at it, the faster you will be able to whip together a full meal. When life eventually (hopefully) returns to some form of normalcy, these cooking skills will allow you to forgo fast food to instead cook healthy meals that will be much better for your body. Overall, cooking your own meals is an essential step to staying in shape. Now is the perfect time to learn how to become your own chef and stay fit.
4. Get lot’s of sleep
Another plus of staying home is most of us have more time to sleep than ever before. A 2014 study mentions the importance of adequate sleep, “Sufficient sleep is essential for optimum health—just a few of the numerous processes occurring during sleep include memory consolidation, clearance of brain metabolites, and restoration of nervous, immune, skeletal, and muscular systems. Virtually all bodily systems are impacted by poor or inadequate sleep, and chronic sleep disturbance predisposes an individual to cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction, psychiatric disorders, and early mortality.” All in all, sleep is essential to not only staying fit but also staying healthy. In these times of a global pandemic, you want to make sure that your immune system is as powerful as possible and sleep is a great way to ensure that it is. If you are doing all the right things to stay in shape, but not getting enough sleep, it’s all in vain. Your body needs sleep to recover and regenerate. Lack of sleep decreases your endurance, your health, and your overall results. Take advantage of this time to get more sleep than you may have been able to get in the past. To stay fit, you must be getting plenty of sleep.
5. Practice mindfulness
Another plus of our newly slowed-down lifestyle is the opportunity to put more emphasis on practicing mindfulness. Mental health is just as important, if not more, than physical health. Practicing mindfulness after an at-home workout can relieve tension, both in your mind and your body. Meditating after a long workout will ease your mind and ultimately lead to increased endurance. Help Guide details a helpful post-workout meditation routine for muscle relaxation, “When you’re experiencing anxiety, stress, or worry, one of the ways your body responds is by tightening up. Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique that helps you release the tension you’re holding in your body and feel more relaxed and calm. The technique is simple: working through the body, tense one muscle group at a time and then release the tension and notice the contrasting feeling of relaxation. Not only does progressive muscle relaxation help relieve anxiety in the moment, but with regular practice, it can also lower your overall tension and stress levels.” This meditation offers benefits for worn-out muscles and a worn-out mind. To stay fit, mental health must be a priority. Practicing mindfulness will improve mental health and allow you to become mentally fit.