How to Stay Fit and Active During & After the Coronavirus Pandemic? 4 Tips to Workout at Home or Outside (A Simple Guide)
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Exercising is essential to keep our mental and physical health in good shape, and is arguably crucial in the times of self-isolation. The bad news is, coronavirus has deflected your fitness regimes, but the good news is, you still have the opportunity to keep exercising. You can use this time of isolation in getting fitter and stronger than ever, even if you are staying mostly at home. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, people are advised to stay home, or due to the fear of getting sick people choose not to go.
Your gyms are shut, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of following your fitness regime entirely. In this hard time, when mental and physical health is essential, you can perform specific exercises at home that will be beneficial to your psychological and physical well being. If performed right, home workouts can be equally effective as workouts performed in the gyms. The key to working out from home is to focus on strength training.
Here are four easy exercises to do at home during COVID-19:
While doing push-ups, it is essential to maintain the right posture. You can begin with a variation and apply the correct technique while progressing gradually to achieve 10-12 reps without dropping back or shaking unsteadily.
Below are the variations of Push-ups -
Single leg push-up
Take the standard push-up position on the ground and keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Now take one foot slightly off the ground and take a push-up. Switch the leg and repeat the same step.
Dive bomber Push-up
Take the standard push-up position on the ground and keep your arms & legs straight. Now “Dive” towards the floor like a wave and finish with your head & chest up.
This exercise involves your core and your thighs. Begin by lying on your belly, legs extended behind you, and arms extended past your head. Now raise both your hands and legs up in the air while still keeping your core body touching the floor, making a position like flying superman. Lower down the arms & legs, then repeat the motion.
Take the standard push-up position on the ground, as you lower your body, bring one knee up and towards the side as if trying to touch your elbow. Repeat the process with the other leg.
Elevated single-arm Push-up
Take the standard push-up position on an elevated surface (eg. stairs) which is of your hip-height. Keep your left hand at your back and perform push-ups with your right hand. Now change sides and put your right hand at your back and perform push-ups with your left hand.
Video Credit : Lewis Gaffney of Hybrid Performance
You can perform lunges at home with the help of minimal equipment from your home.
Below are the variations of Lunges-
Stand with your feet together, keep your shoulders back and core tight. Lift one leg and take a big step forward, lower the body a little towards the floor, and hold for a few seconds. Then come back to the normal standing position and repeat the step with the other leg.
Stand with your feet together, keep your shoulders, back, and core tight. The reverse lunge is the same as the body-weight lunge; the only difference is, you must take a step backwards rather than forward. Come back to the normal standing position and repeat the step with the other leg.
Stand straight with your feet together, and take a controlled step forward with your right leg. While you step forward, slightly lower down your body and make a 90 degree angle with both your knees. Stand upright and this time, step forward with the alternate leg forward. Repeat for alternate legs.
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing your front. Take a wide step with your right foot to the side and bend your body slantly towards your right while keeping the left leg straight. You will feel a stretch in your left thigh. Come back to your standard position and repeat the step for the left leg. That becomes one rep.
Split Lunge Jumps
In this type of lunge, you stand with your feet together and keep your knees soft. Take a jump and split your legs and bend (just like Body-weight Lunge position) with your right leg forward. Repeat the step for the other leg, this time putting your left leg forward.
Video Credit : Laura King of LK Performance Coaching
Below are the variations of Squats -
Keep your feet slightly apart and your arms down by the sides. Bend your knees and make a sitting position in the air, just like you are sitting on a chair. Raise your arms in front of you while you bend. Hold for a few seconds and come back to the standing position again.
Stand with your back stuck against the wall and keep your feet away on the floor (about 12 inches from the wall). Keep your back still restrained to the wall and perform the basic squats.
Keep your feet wider than the shoulder-width with your toes pointing out. Bend your knees until your thighs become parallel to the ground. Repeat the movement.
Bend down in the position of a basic squat and walk one foot in front of the other, sideways, without coming up in the normal standing position.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Stand in a standard position in front of a chair or seat and rest your right foot upon the chair or seat. There should be enough distance between the chair and your body so that you can comfortably squat down. Repeat the process for your left leg.
Planks are meant to strengthen your abdominal muscles and your core. Planks also help support your back.
Below are the variations of Planks-
Lie on the floor facing downwards and bend your elbows directly under your shoulders, and palms resting flat on the floor. Keep your feet hip-width apart, elbows shoulder-width apart and hold yourself in the air, away from the floor. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet and hold your body for 30-60 seconds.
This type of plank is like the forearm plank, the only difference is, instead of keeping your arms flat on the floor, you keep your wrists directly under your shoulders. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet and hold your body for 30-60 seconds.
This exercise strengthens your glutes, core muscles, hamstrings and lower back, and is also known as glute bridge. Lie down on your back and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Now raise your hip while still keeping your upper back on the ground. Hold that position for a few seconds, then return to the ground.
This type of plank is helpful to strengthen your muscles on the sides of your midsection. Lie on your right side with your hips, knees, and feet stacked. Keep your right hand on the floor and press against it. Lift your hips towards the ceiling. Lift your left arm towards the ceiling, making a T shape with your arms. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat the process for the alternate sides.
Push-up Side Plank
This is a combination of side plank and push-ups. Lie down facing the floor and bend your elbows directly under your abdomen, pressing against the floor. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Now take a push-up and come back to the standard plank position. Then do the side plank on the right side. Now repeat the process with the left hand.
With the help of these simple exercises, you can stay fit during the coronavirus pandemic situation.
Resistance Band Training: Get Better with Bands
Many useful fitness apps are also available on Android & iOS that will be your virtual trainer until you can head back to your regular workout routine. For example, iCardio Workout Tracker, BodySpace- Social Fitness App, Myfitnesspal, Strava, and more. These apps consist of useful features like built-in GPS, voice feedback option, history of your workout sessions, workout goal locator, instructional videos, heart rate graphs, nutritional insights, and much more.
In addition to the fitness apps, resistance bands are likely the best and the most inexpensive training tool for working out at home. Resistance bands have different shapes, sizes, and colours, depending upon the level of resistance they cater.
By shape and size:
Non-looped bands: These bands are available with or without handles.
By colour & resistance level:
Resistance bands come in different colours, and each colour represents a different level of resistance, from light to heavy.
Here are the top 5 resistance band upper-body exercises
- Press ups
- Seated rows
- Bicep curls
- Shoulder Press
- Overhead tricep extensions
Here are the top 5 resistance band lower body exercises
- Hip Abduction
- Stiff Leg Deadlift
- Banded Split Squats
Storage and Care of Resistance Band
While you are exercising, your resistance band comes in contact with your skin, and hence your sweat. So, it is vital to take care of your resistance band regularly after every use. Use a moist cloth and clean the band with it from both sides. If the band is a little wet, let it dry overnight before your next use. Do not dry it under the sun; instead, let it dry at room temperature and store it under dry conditions.
Running during COVID-19
Running is another essential part of exercising. During the coronavirus lockdown, when you have to keep yourself isolated from others, running is one thing that you don’t need to compromise. When you run, your body produces ‘endorphins’, which act as analgesics and help to diminish the perception of pain. Thus, running helps in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, boosts self-esteem and improves sleep. During the COVID-19 outbreak, you don’t have to stop going out for a walk or a run, as long as you take the necessary precautions:
- Try to opt the empty or less crowded roads or trails for running
- When you are out for running, go solo and practice social distancing by keeping yourself six feet away from other people.
- After you come back home from the run, practice washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water, avoid touching your face, nose, mouth, or eyes, and use a sanitizer with a minimum of 60-70% alcohol when you are out in public.
- Do not touch the public toilets, park benches, crosswalk buttons, public water fountains, etc. You can carry a hand sanitizer with you during your run also.
- Stay at home if you feel sick and weary.
Also Read: Surviving Long Runs: Challenges Involved & 5 Tips to Make Your Long Runs Easier
Some Do’s and Don’ts of Exercising Outdoors During COVID-19:
- You can workout outside in a park with the help of dumbbells or resistance bands.
- You can take one person from your family or friends to workout in the parks.
- Use different equipment for exercising when working out with a partner.
- Keep at least 6 feet distance from others, while exercising & sanitize your hands in between the workout if required.
- Look for a particular time to exercise in a park when the least amount of people are present.
- Avoid crowded places or places where you might find more people exercising around.
- Avoid inviting all your friends to workout with you in the park.
- Don’t leave your equipment unsanitized after use.
- Avoid touching your face to wipe the sweat after exercise.
- Do not stay long in the parks once you finish off your exercise.
Fuel up before exercise
Before you begin exercising at home, remember to always warm up and include a full body stretch so your body is prepped and ready. It is always important to achieve the right balance of proteins and carbohydrates before you begin your workout at home. Foods that have a combination of proteins and carbs can help boost your energy so you can get the most out of your workout.
Consider these simple snacks before you hit the workout at home:
Bananas- Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which are essential elements for the body. Eating a banana will help you to fuel your workout since it has natural sugar and these necessary elements.
Oranges, Grapes, and Berries- These fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and water content. They are easy on your intestines and have fibres that help in digestion, and keep your body hydrated. You can also mix certain portions of these fruits with yoghurt to get protein as well.
Nuts- Nuts are a rich source of healthy fats and essential nutrients, which are suitable for your heart. You can attain a healthy dose of carbohydrates by pairing up nuts with dried or fresh fruits. Nuts can provide you with a sustained amount of energy during your workouts.
Many are facing financial difficulties, and many others are facing a shortage of groceries to cook healthy food. So here are 16 foods that remain fresh for a week or longer, and have nutritional value too:
- Juices (refrigerated, frozen, canned, or boxed)
- Soups & Broths
- Nuts and seeds
Frozen meals are high in calories, fats, and sodium. So, limit yourself from eating frozen foods in your meals.
Try to limit spending your money on tempting foods, such as cookies, ice cream, chocolate, soda or crisps. These foods will run up your bills and provide just empty calories, which does no good to your health. Frozen fruits and vegetables contain the same nutrients as fresh vegetables and fruits do. During the coronavirus quarantine, many of us have to modify our diets to make the best of the insufficient supplies and tighter budget.
Some bonus points:
Stay healthy during quarantine
- Have fun in the kitchen
- Stay active and engaged
- Enjoy healthy foods
- Hydrate properly
- Prioritise mental health
Practice home food safety
- Clean and disinfect everything
- Wash hands, surfaces, and fresh produce every time
- Separate raw meat, seafood with ready-to-eat foods
- Cook food to the proper temperature
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours
Frozen food tips
- Pick high fibre, vitamins and minerals rich foods
- Read nutrition facts labels
- Limit foods with added sauces
- Compare brands to find the most nutritious food
- Choose those foods with lower saturated fats, added sugars, and salt
Include these nutrients in your eating plan
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Beta carotene
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.
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