5 Ways to Stay Physically Active When You’re Stuck at Home

Whether it’s stay-at-home orders, a social anxiety flare-up, or sheer laziness keeping you cooped up, being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your regular training program.

Grab your water bottle and a sweat towel. These five at-home workout techniques will get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing without leaving your home or yard.

Invest in At-Home Gym Equipment

If traditional gyms don’t strike your fancy, why not invest in the long-haul and stock up on home gym equipment? 

Think about adding the following to your exercise toolkit:

  • Resistance bands
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Bench press
  • A barbell
  • Weight plates
  • Kettlebells
  • Ab rollers
  • Yoga mat

Most of this gear is affordable, at less than $100 apiece. But once you commit to the at-home fitness lifestyle, you might also want to expand your home gym to include squat racks, power racks, boxes, and complete dumbbell sets.

Try a Calisthenic Workout

Equipment-free workouts have an unfairly bad reputation. In reality, calisthenics are just as good — if not better — than traditional weightlifting. You can sculpt better-defined muscles and build strength while also enhancing your stamina.

For the at-home bunch, calisthenics has another undisputed perk.

They don’t require any bells and whistles. 

Search for home core exercises, Zumba classes, or circuit training on YouTube for free. Or, call your gym to ask about digital group classes, which became the de facto norm as COVID-19 shuttered gyms nationwide.

But if you’re already an exercise nut, you can craft your own circuit or calisthenics home workout. Just splice together any of your favorite bodyweight exercises, like:

  • Flutter kicks
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Planks

Choose about five exercises. Then, do 10-20 reps of each to ‘finish’ out the circuit. Take a 30-60 second break before starting over again at the top.

Play a fitness-related Video Game

Who said that physical activity can’t also be fun?

Gaming devices like the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 can bring the workout home to you and turn it into an exhilarating game.

Some offerings have a more competitive edge, like Wii Sports, which offers everything from tennis and baseball to bowling and boxing.

But others add an exciting twist to normally dreadful workouts. For example, Just Dance can get you in the groove without leaving your living room. Beat Saber, on the other hand, will help you break a sweat as you try to keep up with the tempo.

Once you realize that fitness can also be fun, you may never return to the old-school ‘real gym’ again!

Find a Homebound Athletic Activity

Walking, weightlifting, and running may be America’s ‘favorite’ sports activities. 

But if you’re craving the endorphin rush and some excitement, you don’t need a power rack or a high-end treadmill in the basement. A cornhole set, basketball hoop, or grassy backyard can get your heart pumping in less traditional ways!

Try one of these home-based athletic activities if you’re trapped at home:

  • Basketball
  • Cornhole
  • Wallball
  • Dancing
  • Table tennis
  • Kickboxing
  • Badminton
  • Swimming
  • Soccer

Don’t worry about following the rules or organizing a neighborhood tournament. If getting active means shooting hoops in the driveway or juggling a soccer ball outback, so be it!

Get Up and Get Moving

When quizzed on why they don’t exercise more often, a startling 21% of Americans had the same excuse: no exercise gear at home.

Another 42% said that there wasn’t enough time in the day to squeeze in a heart-thumping workout.

But there are less conventional alternatives, like:

Setting Workout Alarms On Your Phone

Apps like ‘Stand Up! The Work Break Timer’ or even a classic Pomodoro Timer can perk you out of that remote work brain fog and fill your daily exercise requirements. 

After 25 minutes or so of strict focus, you’ll have a five-minute break to get up and move around. Pace around the house, do laundry, or walk the dog.

Exercising During Commercial Breaks

The average American adult binges four hours of television each day, making it the perfect opportunity to weasel in a workout. During those four-minute commercial breaks, bust out a quick calisthenic workout:

  • Jogging in place
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups (or crunches, for beginners)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees

Cozy up on the couch again when your show finally returns. Then, start over when it cuts to ads again. You can get your 30-minute exercise fix while watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones or The Office.

Talk about convenience!

Turning Your Home’s Features Into Gym Equipment

Almost anything can be workout gear if you try hard enough. 

For example, that staircase can be a heart-pounding and grueling stairs workout. That sturdy dining room chair can double as a triceps dip machine. Or clench that heavy moving box as you crank out squats.

Getting the Most Out of Your Home Workouts

Maybe pacing around the house and watching the same-old TV series on a loop is making you stir crazy. But if you’re craving more than the ‘pump,’ you can tailor your home workout sessions around the health benefits.

To reap the heart health perks, mainly cutting your risk of America’s #1 killer (heart disease), the only thing that matters is your exercise intensity.

The trick is training within your target heart rate zone (THRZ). 

Subtract your age from the number 220, and then multiply that by both 0.50 and 0.85. The results are the upper and lower ends of your target heart rate zone.

For example: If you’re 25, try to ramp up your heart rate to between 97.5 and 166 while exercising.


Conclusion

The best way to stay active is to break through the black-and-white thinking:

  • Go to CrossFit or be a couch potato.
  • Beat your bench press PR or bar hop all night.
  • Run five miles or feast on ice cream. 

The five strategies above can also double as your ‘grey area.’ As long as you’re meeting the CDC’s 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, you’re on the path to better health and fitness.

[Author Bio]

Ryan Sundling is a group marketing manager at Cardinal Group Management, where he works with West 38, a community of apartments in Wheat Ridge, CO.

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