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So, real talk, it’s a challenge right now to be motivated and keep normal routines and function sometimes, let alone stay fit and active now that many of us are stuck at home. There’s no denying that we’re living in some crazy times right now. The January tragedies in Australia and the hills of Calabasas seem like a distant memory. Hard to imagine that it was only 3-4 months ago.
I’m personally finding it easier than ever to live like there’s no tomorrow. While the January 1 version of me thought that would mean kissing some hot stranger at a house music festival in Ibiza or staying at a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, I’m coming to discover that it currently means copious amounts of Netflix and chilling and putting processed food in my mouth every two hours because there’s little else to do. Plus, it makes me feel good. Sometimes.
We understand why we all need to be practicing social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m coming down with cabin fever and finding it harder to cope some days more than others. And that could slowly become discouragement and a blase attitude when it comes to staying healthy. Anyone else watching their early springtime gains disappear?
A public health crisis is a huge and stressful deal and we all need to take it seriously and do our part to flatten the curve as much as possible. With that being said, we can follow the rules and minimize our time outside while either maintaining optimal wellness or striving for it.
Here are some easy things you can be doing to stay fit and active from the comfort of your home or living space!
9 Things You Can Do To Stay Fit & Active At Home
Be mindful of your eating habits.
Anyone else taking way more trips to the kitchen and working on their “Quarantine 15”? Don’t feel triggered. I’m equally guilty of bored eating, overeating, quarant-eating, or whatever you want to call it.
The first and most important ingredient in the recipe to fit and healthy living is diet. Not necessarily a diet diet (think Atkins, Keto, Paleo, etc.)., but your eating habits; what you put in your mouth. You know the saying “you are what you eat”? It’s quite accurate. Sometimes, I’m feeling sluggish, heavy, and unmotivated and the first thing I think back to is my eating habits. Have I been eating greens, fresh fruit, and plant-based proteins? Or did I have a cheeseburger, muffin, juice, and ice cream?
Don’t judge; we have our moments. And that’s why it’s important to practice mindfulness and be aware of what it is that we’re eating.
I’m finding this much easier said than done these days, but do know that it’s entirely possible. Helpful tips to keep in mind include:
- Buy healthier foods and snacks. In order to eat healthier foods, they need to be in your kitchen first. Here are some easy, yet delicious, swaps:
- Dip your chips in salsa or guacamole instead of queso.
- Grab a cuppa tea instead of sugary juices or worse, soda.
- Have oatmeal for breakfast instead of processed, sugary cereals.
- Portion control. Some foods are hard to avoid under stressful times. I’ve personally become reacquainted with my high school love, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Rather than eating the whole bag, I only eat ⅓. Progress, amirite?
- Stay hydrated. Drinking 64oz of water on the daily is a must. If it’s hard for you to remember to get in your H₂O, keep a reusable water bottle nearby. I like this one from Embrava because it’s super durable and I travel with it everywhere. Plus, with the measurements on the side, I know to drink at least two bottles a day.
- Eat less meat. Eating less meat, especially red meat, is great for your health in a number of ways including decreased cholesterol, improved heart health, and reduced likelihood of disease. It also has benefits including feeling more energetic and keeping you slim. Whenever I stop eating meat, it makes my body feel lighter and almost like I have superhuman abilities; my best runs have always been when I was vegan.
Watch yoga videos on YouTube.
Watching yoga videos online is one of my favorite ways to keep fit as an online business owner, but especially right now with most of us living under lockdown. It’s an easy addition to your fitness routine and you can do a session any time of the day if your schedule permits. Plus, it helps you maintain zen and balance which is perfect for times like now.
Yoga with Adrienne is a popular Youtube yoga instructor and always going to be a recommendation of mine. She has a variety of yoga styles and practices for all levels and a number of needs, including self-care and yoga for mornings and bedtime. Cameos from her cute dog, Benji, are always a pleasant and welcome surprise.
I recently tried a virtual stoned yoga (yes, STONED) class held by Katy Karns of SYoga. They’re normally held in the evenings and are open and free to everyone (support small business and donate if you can); you can follow her on Instagram (@s.yogaclass) for more info. I thought it was a unique and fun experience and very much worthy of your time if you’re cannabis-friendly. Being stoned definitely took the yoga experience to new heights (get it?) and it was great connecting with new people and hearing their perspectives on our current situation and how they’re handling it.
Have a solo dance session.
Even though I just praised yoga, dancing is my absolute, number one, most favorite, freeing, and fun thing to do on this list and it was actually my cousin who suggested it to me when I was in a workout slump during the winter. As much as I love running and pushing my body to new levels, sometimes you want to burn calories without it being strict or so goal-oriented. Plus, I like activities that break up the monotony that can come with working out sometimes, especially at home. Turning on some of your favorite jams and gettin’ down is a fun and easy way to be active, get your heart rate up and burn some calories.
A cardio session can literally be as easy as turning on your favorite songs or album and dancing to it
or attempting to but hey, no one’s judging. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason as to how you dance; just do it. I like to curate my experience and create playlists that fit my mood. I have an Afrobeats playlist that’s best first thing in the morning. For mornings where I wake up with unusually high amounts of energy (more often than you think), this is the best way for me to expel it and be able to carry on with my day.
Create a playlist of your favorite songs or play your favorite album and dance for 25-35 minutes to get your blood pumping and keep you energized for the day ahead. 30 minutes of intense dancing can burn over 200. I’m usually drenched in sweat within 10.
Try home workout routines.
I very much love the outdoors and will always prefer to get fresh air while I’m working out. There are numerous reasons to need to work out at home though. We’re currently facing one as we’re living under lockdown, but even before this, poor weather, responsibilities, or not having enough time were all enough reason to deter an outdoor activity. And that’s where having a go-to home workout can come in clutch.
I recently received a Sandbell and started using it about a week into my lockdown. The Sandbell is a versatile free weight from Hyperwear that’s filled with sand. It has features of workout equipment like the dumbbell, medicine ball, and kettlebell. It provides a challenging exercise yet is beginner-friendly. I’m able to use it for squats, Sandbell slams, hip swings, and more.
I like the Sandbell and was surprised at how my body responded to it. I followed full-body exercises per their recommendation and definitely had some soreness the next day, but it wasn’t anything excruciating or enough to discourage me from using it again. I’ve been using it 2-3 times per week and am able to target certain parts of my body on certain days. Plus, it’s perfect for my current living situation and I love that I get the benefits of having “lightweight” free weights (doesn’t take up much space) without loud, clanking metal. I will continue to use it as part of me fitness routine.
Do some spring cleaning.
I am most definitely one of those who enjoys cleaning. I actually look forward to cleaning. Monica Gellar is my spirit animal. If I see a mess, there’s a good chance that I’ll be unproductive and weird until that mess is sorted. So, a public health pandemic that’s requiring me to not only clean but clean more than I’d normally clean? I’ve been waiting for this for years. But, you’d be pleased to know that you can get in quite the workout from just an hour of cleaning… 30 minutes if you’re vigorous.
Have you ever broken a sweat while mopping the floor or scrubbing the bathroom tub? That’s because you’re burning calories. Vacuuming, folding laundry, wiping down mirrors and counters, you name it. A tough cleaning session can burn hundreds of calories and be a day’s worth of cardio activity.
30 minutes of:
- Mowing the lawn = nearly 200 calories burned
- Vacuuming = over 120 calories burned
- Walking your dog = over 135 calories burned
Kill two birds with one stone and get decluttering.
Use fitness apps.
For the gym loyalists among us, the gyms closing down has been a hard thing to endure. It’s not just showing up at the gym but a way of life and a huge disruption when you don’t have it. If you love the accountability and routine that comes with having a dedicated trainer or program, then maybe using a fitness app is the right move for you.
Like in-person, apps can help you stay committed to your fitness goals. There are a number of apps to choose from that are suitable for whatever lifestyle you’re leading. A personal favorite of mine has been the Bikini Body Guide workouts by Kayla Itsines. They’re not easy by any means, so making headway in her programs is always a huge accomplishment. Her eating guides are pretty spot on too.
Every now and then, I like to mix in a fitness app or two into my routine to keep things exciting and fresh. Here are some fitness apps that should be on your radar (my faves are bolded):
- the be.come project (iOs / Google)
- Centr, by Chris Hemsorth (yes, THAT Chris Hemsworth… iOs / Google)
- Fitbod (iOs)
- LifeSum (iOs / Google)
- MyFitnessPal (iOs / Google)
- Nike Training Club (iOs / Google)
- SWEAT: Kayla Itsines Fitness (iOs / Google)
- Workout for Women: Fitness App (iOs / Google)
- Yoga | Down Dog (iOs / Google)
Walking, Jogging, or Running
First of all, I do want to start by saying that going outside is a risk and not one to be taken lightly. If you live in a dense area that has congested sidewalks or walkways, you might want to consider skipping over this one. I’m lucky enough to live somewhere that, although densely populated, the sidewalks in my neighborhood are literally empty. I go for walks most early mornings (6:30-8am) if weather permits and typically don’t encounter anyone. On the off-chance that I do, we’re either hopping 6 feet away from each other or are on opposing sides of the sidewalk. If you’re going outside, minimize your chance of interactions with others and practice social distancing as much as possible.
Initially, I tried to stay inside for the entirety of my lockdown stint but by around day 8 or 9, I found it to be much more difficult than anticipated. I started feeling trapped in my living space and my skin started looking weird from the lack of sunshine. With it getting warmer and looking more like spring here on the central coast of California, it’s hard not to wanna sneak in even just a few minutes of sunshine.
Keep your walks and runs brief and close to home to keep your risks low. The Couch to 5k (C25K) app (iOs / Google) is perfect for beginner runners and training for a 5k. I also use Nike Run Club (iOs / Google) to track my overall miles.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard or significant patio space, gardening is a great option for breaking a sweat at home, especially now during lockdown when fresh air holds the same value as gold. Transplanting trees and herbs and moving bags of soil or mulch are all forms of moderate exercise done in the yard. And depending on what needs to be done in your garden, you’ll be able to get in your fair share of squats, core strengthening, and upper arm work to say the least.
Using a lawnmower is a great way to burn calories but also get some steps in while working out your entire body, especially your back. You’ll work up a great stretch reaching for branches or pulling weeds. 30 minutes of solid gardening can burn upwards of 100 – 200 calories.
I’ve always been interested in learning how to grow what I eat. Now’s the perfect time to start planting so that you can reap your harvest by summer and use some of your fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs for light summer dishes and drinks.
Need some easy gardening ideas? Here are some fruits and veggies that are easy for beginners and perfect to plant right now:
- Chili Peppers
No outdoor space for a home garden? You can grow your own food in containers and keep them on a balcony or patio. If that’s not an option either, then plant your favorite herbs and seeds in mason jars or containers with a saucer or dish and grow indoors. I’m getting started on a mason jar herb garden since I can’t find Thai and Holy basil varieties in the stores here.
Do stair workouts.
Have a flight of stairs? Then you can work out. There’s a good chance that stair workouts are one of the harder exercises on this list (totally my opinion). As in your legs will cry initially but love you afterward. It definitely falls under the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) category and something I can’t do any longer than 25-30 minutes. It is super intense; there’s no sugar-coating it.
With that being said, stair workouts are awesome fat-blasters. It’s an excellent exercise for the legs and can yield some much-desired toning and definition. If you incorporate a few reps of stair push-ups and tricep dips, your arms can get in some good strengthening too. The stairs are also as good for your muscles as much as it is for your heart. It gets your blood pumping and heart rate elevated for a good cardiovascular session.
Here are some easy stair workouts you can try right now:
- Stair lunges
- Mountain climbers
- Stair hops
Bodyweight workouts are a great way to build strength and decrease body fat without investing in equipment or a bunch of time at the gym. Benefits for these types of exercises include improved balance and flexibility thanks to core strengthening as well as being able to do the exercises anytime anywhere, which is exactly what many of us need right now.
Many government and medical guidelines call for strength training at least twice per week. The biggest benefit to this kind of training is that you continue burning calories even after your done with your workout because your body is rebuilding muscle mass. Adding strength training to a home fitness routine really is a no-brainer if your body can handle it.
Here are some easy exercises to get you started:
- Crunches or Sit-ups
- Donkey Kicks
- Hip Abduction
Every Day Is A New Day
If you’ve been able to maintain your weight during lockdown or while you work from home, then major kudos to you. There’s no denying that stress levels are at an all-time high right now and that can lead to practicing not the best of habits. I want you to know, not just as a blogger but as a friend, that that’s totally okay. You are more than entitled to feel the way you do and experience what it is that you’re experiencing.
When people ask me how I’m doing or how I’m “weathering the storm” if you will, I tell them “I’m taking it one day at a time” because I think that’s all any of us can do at the moment. A lot of what’s transpiring is out of our control. What’s in our control, however, is how we choose to respond to it all. We can respond by letting our emotions get the better of us and living an act-first think-later lifestyle, or we can be aware of the changes and how we’re reacting to them in real-time. We can listen to our bodies and our moods and give it what it needs to get through this phase in one piece.
If that means eating pancakes with chocolate chips and whipped cream for dinner, so be it. Just don’t forget to do squats.
What are some unique ways you’re using to stay in shape? Share below!
Now’s a good time to double-down on your self-care habits! Here are some self-care ideas you can use during the lockdown!
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