Fitness Tips: How to stay fit while in isolation

More rumours are flying around of a serious lockdown that could start as soon as Monday where I live. Cases are on the rise – as high as 1300 daily. Our hospitals are overloaded as nurses and doctors are burning out fast. ICU’s are filling up quickly. And stores are running low on supplies – again – as panic sweeps through the province.

In an effort to stay healthy and avoid crowds, I’ve found ways to workout at home. I have a small gym with a few essential tools that help me out. These tools include:

  • A compact cycle that I can use anywhere
  • Resistance bands with handles
  • Exercise ball for pilates and yoga stretches, push ups and sit ups
  • A pair of light weight dumbbells for lifting

It doesn’t seem like much, but for me – this is all I need for now. And with access to websites like YouTube, that has thousands of trainers and coaches – you can find all kinds of workouts that you can do in your very own home.

Earlier this week I surveyed my online fitness group for tips on how everyone was coping with the isolation and gyms shutting down. Here are some of the top answers that were given.

If you’re like me, keeping active and working out daily is the only way I can lose weight. Plus it gives me that natural boost of energy that helps with my overall mental health.

Keep to a regular schedule

Keeping to a regular schedule on a daily basis is essential if you’re trying to keep fit and lose weight. I realize for some people this may be challenging due to shift work or late night schedules. But if you aim to get up around the same time every day, and go to bed around the same time every day – this will help you keep on track.

Set a certain window of time for your daily workouts. If you don’t want to exercise daily, then use a planner and “pencil” in two or three days where you can go for a walk, climb the stairs, or do something you enjoy.

This is just an example of what I do to keep on a regular schedule, though I admit – sometimes I fall off the wagon because I’m not working at the moment. Meal times will vary as I practice intermittent fasting every other day.

  • Wake up: 7:30 am to 9:30 am
  • Breakfast: 9:00 am to 10:00 am
  • Morning workout: exercise ball stretches or resistance training – 20 minutes
  • Lunch: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
  • Dinner: 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Snacks: something sweet around 7:30 pm (fruit, yogurt, etc)
  • Evening workout: cardio (cycle or aerobics)

I try and mix up my routines. Today for example, I used the resistance bands for 20 minutes this morning and then finished off the day with a 25 minute cycle ride. Tomorrow, I might just do strength and take a day of rest from cycling. It just depends on the day. On a summer day, I might go for a walk around the block or climb the stairs. I also include house cleaning as physical activity as well.

Do something that’s fun

Exercise doesn’t have to boring. This is a common misconception. You don’t have to kill yourself with hours of cardio either to see progress. The average person only needs 20-30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis. Exercise is great for joint health and can give a much needed boost to your mental health.

I find that if I don’t work out, I start feeling lethargic and mopey. Then as soon as I work out, my mood is elevated and I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It’s a vicious cycle. Then the more I workout, the more addicted I become to the high from exercise.

By finding something you enjoy doing, then workout won’t seem like much of a chore. What are some fun ways to exercise and keep active at home? Let’s turn to YouTube and search some popular channels for advice.

  • Dance cardio is all the rage and there are hundreds of videos with tutorials. Check out this video from one of my favorite channels, Pop Sugar Fitness.
  • Zumba is still a popular workout and let’s face it – it’s just good fun. There’s even a channel dedicated to Zumba lessons online.
  • Hula Hoops are something that have been around for ages. Not only are they a great workout for cardio, but hoops can help condition your core area and build strength. These are great for those living in condos or apartments and don’t have much space to store equipment. Here’s another Pop Sugar Fitness video.

These are just a few suggestions that you can do from the comfort of your own living room. If you’re in a house or have a backyard, you will have more options than those of us that live in smaller spaces. If you’re looking for more fitness resources and websites to visit, check out my post here on my Top 5 Fitness Channels.

Use what you have at home

If you’re struggling financially, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment that will just wind up serving as a clothes rack. There are lots of items you can use in your own home – that you probably already have on hand.

DIY Kettle Bells

If you’re looking for a kettle bell substitute, use a an old 4 litre milk jug and fill it up with water. You can freeze it if you have a chest freezer to add more weight to the jug. Another option is to fill a mop bucket with water. Careful not to spill though – it will make a mess.

DIY Dumbbells

Any heavy object will work to use as dumbbells. You can use a set of books, encyclopedias work well. Or cans of soup. As long as you have two items of the same weight and size – it will work! When I first started exercising years ago, I used large cans of campbells soup. I eventually picked up my own dumbbells for $10 at Winners.

Chair and Counter Workouts

You can utilize the furniture in your home for working out. Walls and counters are great for push ups. There are chair workouts on YouTube for those with joint pain or for seniors. Use a step ladder for cardio.

In my old building, we had long and wide hallways that stretched out for a block. I would put on my sweats, grab my Ipod and walk up and down each hallway twice. I’d also take the stairs which you would really feel after the second floor. The whole workout took 20 minutes and it was great to do late at night or in the dead of winter without having to go outside in -35 weather.

So, when it comes to working out at home, just remember – you don’t need expensive equipment. If you’re in a pinch financially, just use what you have around you.

Keeping Motivated

I know for many people, myself included, the hardest thing about staying fit while in isolation, is keeping motivated. I suggest joining online support groups or creating a small network on Facebook with your friends who may be interested in staying active.

We all have our down days and it’s perfectly okay to skip a day or two if you don’t feel up to working out. But I speak from experience saying that a good 10 minute HIIT workout is better than sitting on my ass all day .

If you need help staying motivated, find a fitness pal or buddy – or as we call them – motivational buddy to help keep you accountable. Create small fitness goals that you can easily achieve in a week. Try to avoid goals that include losing a certain amount of weight. Focus more on fitness goals, or workout goals.

Fitness Tips

I’ll keep you updated as my fitness journey progresses on a monthly basis. I’ll be sharing more tips over the next few weeks – so do follow my blog. You can also head over to my Fitness page for more articles like this one.

How are you staying active and motivated during isolation or quarantine? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you!

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