If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we must be prepared to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. From how the world works, how you learn, how you shop, and how you party, 2020 has been about finding new ways to do ordinary things, including hitting the gym.
The fitness and wellness industry has seen some of the most significant changes as countries, regions and cities develop COVID-19 mitigation plans that limit how fitness facilities operate. With many closing or reducing hours, Americans are feeling the impact. Research points to a range of health problems associated with sedentary lifestyles during the COVID-19 lockdown, including weight gain, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Some fitness facilities continue to offer streaming classes, outdoor workouts and online classes for members. However, if your gym doesn’t offer an online option, you may need other ways to stay fit. Whether in the comfort and safety of your home, or outdoors at a park, track, or other venue, there are plenty of ways to stay active until the fitness world returns to normal.
Fitness experts offer these tips to stay healthy during changing COVID-19 restrictions:
Make life your sport. Not every workout needs to be done on a treadmill or in a spin class. When time is of the essence, use daily activities as an opportunity to incorporate exercise. Pick up your pace when walking your dog. Create home workout challenges while playing with your kids. Make cleaning an aerobic exercise by adding aerobic activities like stair climbing.
Walk into a streaming class. Group fitness is a highlight of the gym. If your gym doesn’t offer streaming classes, look for free online streaming workouts on platforms like YouTube. Just search for your favorite class type (for example, “30-minute cardio HIIT” or “45-minute low-impact intensity”) and see what pops up. Online classes seem endless, with paid apps like Daily Burn, Apple Fitness+ and Peloton also offers monthly streaming packages.
Create your own home gym. You don’t need expensive cardio equipment or a full set of weights to create a home gym. Just buy some affordable items to make exercising at home easier, like a good quality yoga mat, a basic set of dumbbells (5, 8, and 10 pounds to start with), jump rope, and steps/benches. With these items, you’ll have a home gym setup that doesn’t exceed a room and can be easily stored.
Explore your surroundings. COVID-19 may have closed indoor sports in your area, but outdoor activities remain open (check local regulations and restrictions). If the weather in your area permits, explore new parks, tracks, bike paths and bodies of water. Outdoor exercise can provide countless benefits and challenge your body in different ways than using indoor equipment. Always follow COVID-19 safety recommendations, such as staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask when around other people, and washing your hands properly when using public facilities.
Work online with health and exercise professionals. Over the past year, many personal trainers and health coaches have brought their businesses online to help clients focus on their goals. Having a plan and someone to hold you accountable will increase your chances of success. Find a qualified and experienced trainer who can support your goals online and provide that sense of responsibility.
Despite the many uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remains true: Your health should be the number one priority. Incorporating exercise and finding support for your goals just takes some creativity and a willingness to explore new ways to adapt to exercise.