Staying active and exercising at home is honestly hard. Especially if you’re like me and used to going to the gym or exercising away from home.
I’m writing this blog during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak when everything including gyms, most of our hiking trails are shut down, and we’re all stuck at home. Staying motivated to work out and be healthy when most of your hiking plans most likely have been canceled, the couch and the TV are right there, you’re used to relaxing at home and things are just so stressful right now. I get it.
Even if you’re reading this after the outbreak has ended, this blog will help you stay active at home in general!
Equipment isn’t needed for a good at home workout, you can get an amazing full-body workout in at home with just bodyweight. If you do want to make it more challenging, I recommend getting a resistance band and dumbbells at least. I also have an indoor cycling bike for cardio. I’ve changed out the standard pedals to SPD pedals to work with my cycling shoes and SPD clips.
In this blog, I’ll cover how to stay active at home and I have a free 5 day workout schedule you can download and copy, it’s all bodyweight exercises at the end of the post!
Let’s dive in?
Why you should be working out at home right now
Yes, these are stressful times, but sticking with a workout routine will help you keep your fitness level and even improve it before your next big hike. I’ve been there multiple times, where either life gets in the way or I get injured and I stop working out and then lose my fitness level. It’s that much harder to get it back again than it would have been to just stick with it. Have you heard the saying a rolling stone gathers no moss?
At home, you have distractions like TV, family, pets, etc. If you have the option to workout in your backyard, that might be a good option to get away from everything. If that’s not possible, either watch TV while exercising (it’s a great distraction from the burn) or pop in headphones and zone out the world.
Exercise also reduces stress! Feeling anxious? Upset? Mad? Angry? Stressed? Worried? Exercise helps with those feelings. Regularly working out can uplift your mood, relieve stress, tension, anxiety, anger and all of those heavy feelings you’re experiencing right now.
It also improves your sleep which flows back into you feeling better, having more energy, choosing to make healthier choices like not snacking on that candy and mac and cheese.
Start viewing everything as an ecosystem. If you make choices to do things that will make you feel better, it will ripple into everything else and vice versa.
Choose to drink and stress eat? Then you end up also staying up all night, worrying about everything, feeding into negativity – COVID-19 is serious and scary, but there is a difference between being informed and aware, and watching and feeding into endless streams of negativity. Then you don’t work out, it takes a toll on your mental health, it takes a toll on your physical health and you just end up feeling bad all around. Then from that place, it’s much harder to get back to a good headspace and being physically healthy.
Instead imagine if you got enough sleep, fed your body well, didn’t stress eat and give into other behaviors that you know will make you feel bad. If you worked out, felt your body getting stronger, had an uplifting mood, distance yourself from negativity while still being informed and aware. Imagine what that would do for your overall wellbeing. You’d feel great! You’d want to keep going.
You can choose to break the cycle.
Create a fitness challenge for yourself
I’m fairly competitive and creating a challenge for myself has been a great way to keep myself motivated. If you’re quarantine with others, you can make it a household challenge. Maybe who can do the most pushups by the time this is over or who will lose the most weight or who will be stronger, I’ll leave this part up to you.
This fitness challenge doesn’t even need to be a competition. I created one with my hiking partner and called it “Hotter Together.” I’m writing this in April 2020 and in August 2019, I injured my knee on the John Muir Trail. Between August to January/February, I wasn’t able to hike or really workout, so in that time I gained weight, lost most of my hiking strength and started to feel uncomfortable with myself. My hiking partner has a physically demanding job so he’s a lot more active than me usually since my job requires a lot of computer time. But he has fitness goals he’s been trying to crush too. I figure as a way to bound more, strengthen our friendship and get help get ourselves to a place where we’re more comfortable in our bodies, we’d create a challenge to keep each other motivated and going.
Run with it! Make it fun and create something that makes you excited and motivated to workout.
Find a form of exercise that you enjoy
There are so many ways you can exercise so the important thing is to find something that motivates you to move. If you don’t enjoy working out, you will find every excuse in the book not to do it.
If you like yoga, do yoga! If you like pilates or barre, do that! If you’re a runner and still can, go running! If you’re like me and like indoor cycling, strength training, and HIIT workouts, do that!
Depending on where you live and the regulations you’re local government created, you may be able to get outside or you may not. Where I live, the hiking trails are closed, but we can still take walks around the neighborhood or go running. I’m not a big runner, but I have started taking hour to two hour walks around my neighborhood, which I’m embarrassed to admit until this all happened, I’ve never done before.
You can get an amazing workout with just your body weight, but if you want to spice it up and make it more challenging, I recommend getting a resistance band and dumbbells.
Create a schedule
When you create a set schedule, you’re more likely to stick to it. Create a schedule that works for you.
My workout routine is usually 3 to 5 days per week, depending on how my body feels. If I need to rest, I rest.
I typically workout in the afternoon around 2 or 3pm. My mind starts to slow down around that time, so I usually take a break then and either workout and home or on my rest days I try and take a walk around my neighborhood. Then around 5pm, my brain turns on again and I get back to work usually until 7pm when I get ready to unwind for the evening. Now, this might not be my schedule forever, but it’s something that works right now.
There have been seasons in my life where I workout first thing in the morning. And I’ve had seasons where I work out in the evenings.
Create a schedule that works for you.
Overcome feeling lazy and bogged down
My exercise equipment is in my living room and I still get this. I could be on my bike and watching TV at the same time, but sometimes laziness gets the best of me. No one is perfect, remember that. It’s about progress, not perfection.
One of the hardest parts about working out is, in general, is listening to ourselves. Is my body telling me not to workout today because I need to rest and recover or am I being lazy?
Listen to yourself closely. If you’re just being lazy, get up and workout. That’s when it’s most important to get up and do it, even if it’s short. This will help you kick yourself out of that habit.
Remember how earlier we talked about viewing everything as an ecosystem? This plays into it.
It’s ok to be human, to have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. It’s ok to feel lazy and bogged down. We live in a society that prides itself on being busy. But you don’t always need to be productive, you can have lazy days. But if you’re constantly feeling lazy and bogged down, this is going to turn into a pattern and feed into that negative and downward spiral ecosystem we talked about earlier.
So to kick it, get up and give me a couple of squats or pushups and then go for a walk.