This is part of my series on wellness during the COVID-19 social distancing period. Click here to follow through the full series!
It is really easy to just sit around since we have to stay at home, but this can make us more tired and less productive and be harmful to your health as well as - and it is even more important now to take care of your health! I learned a lot last fall in medical school about how sedentary lifestyles can contribute to many chronic diseases and overall worse health outcomes. For both your physical and mental health, getting in some movement throughout the day is very beneficial.
Side note: It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity physical activity or some equivalent combination. If you’re interested in finding out more about physical activity recommendations, here are the most recent official US guidelines and here is a nice breakdown.
I know I personally get very antsy when I have to stay inside for long periods of time - I had a lot of practice doing that in college for two years as an RA when I was on call. When I was stuck inside, I typically did an at-home workout in my apartment, moving my furniture so I had space to spread out a yoga mat and some small weights, sometimes also using a yoga block or ball or stretchy bands. I love stretchy bands for extra resistance, and they barely take up any room so they are great for travel or at-home workouts (this is the kind I have)
You can definitely do at-workouts even if you don’t have any equipment and if you have a small apartment! Most of the workout and stretch videos on my blog require minimal or no equipment, so check those out for ideas! Here is a full-body workout that uses the stretchy band, and here is a 30-minute full-body workout video that you can follow along with!
I also have put together a series below that you can do. If you don’t have weights, do some creative searching around your home for anything heavy you can hold, such as cans of food, bottles of water/wine/pop, grocery bags filled with anything - you can even make a barbell by placing filled grocery bags on the end of a broom! As well as traditional workouts, you can find ways to incorporate more activity into your days, such as taking the stairs (also a better option than elevators because there are less germs and close contact), or having a little dance party with yourself or your quarantine partners.
Here is my new workout series for you! Thanks to Babe+Co for sending me this new fun mat! It’s perfect for taking workout videos and I love the pattern!
It is important to stretch your muscles before and after working out to help prevent injuries. This is the stretch sequence I do before workout classes. It is great to do as a cool down after a workout, or if you need a stretch break during the day! Here are my other stretches for more.
Again, if you don’t have actual weights, don’t worry! Just find something heavy that you can safely hold and lift.
Core and Balance
Challenge yourself and see if you can do all three versions!
Low Back Roll-Ups
You can use a foam roller, a rolled up yoga mat, or maybe even a large rolled-up towel (tie it together so it doesn’t unroll) to do this. You’ll also get a nice core stretch!
Jumping Jack Progression
This is a cardio burst with a low-impact option as well. It includes core and back work too!
This will work your thighs and you can add weights for more difficulty. Sink your hips down to their lowest point where you feel challenged. Your goal is to keep your thighs parallel to the floor (except when you are lifting up halfway in the beginning).
Feel free to hold onto something for stability, and you can do this with or without weights.
There are lots of options out there for free or inexpensive physical activity, so you can try different things out to find what you most enjoy! Check in with yourself to see if the activity you chose makes your mind and body feel good - working out should be enjoyable! And don’t feel that you have to do an intense workout (or even workout at all) every day; these are trying times and every day will be different in terms of how you spend your time. We shouldn’t feel pressure to “get in the best shape of our lives” at this time (something I have seen going around on social media) or anything like that; regardless of how you spend this time, we will all grow and be stronger mentally and individually. Finding moments to incorporate types of movement that you enjoy can help you find a deeper appreciation of your ability to move and its impact on your health and happiness.
So many fitness studios are doing free, live workouts and it is so awesome! I have made a highlight on my Instagram and keep updating it with others that I find! Check it out for ideas and feel free to send me any recommendations you have! I am also very happy that there are so many live dance classes, because I was worried about being able to keep doing ballet and dancing during this time.
Here are some of my favorite free fitness resources right now:
Blogilates - My favorite resource for at-home videos! She is so fun and encouraging, and it really feels like you are taking an in-person class! You can do full body or filter by body part focus!
Here is a ballet barre class from Juilliard
Live Workouts and Dance Classes
I am loving all the live classes because they have a great community feel and keep me accountable by setting a specific time to workout and having someone else plan the workout and encourage me! With live classes on Instagram, the video will save to their profile for 24 hours, so if you miss a class, you can still take it on your own time!
Studio Three has their full schedule of virtual live workouts with a membership, but also they do at least two free classes via Instagram Live each week! Check out their Instagram after 7 PM to find out the class types and instructors for the next day’s classes, and for the Spotify link to the playlists! Studio Three is one of my favorite fitness studios in Chicago and they have such a variety of classes with incredible instructors and it’s an amazing opportunity to take them for free right now and from anywhere in the world!
SolidCore is doing Instagram live workouts at 1 PM CST every day - they are 10-20 minute workouts, so great for something quick but still challenging! They post the videos on their YouTube so you can also do them later.
305 Fitness does live workouts regularly - check out their social media! These are so much fun and you don’t need to be a dancer to take the class!
Dance Forever Fitness does live classes at noon CST on their social media every day as well! They are another of my Chicago faves! They have cardio dance classes that dancers will love, as well as 30-minute toning and conditioning classes.
Ballet Nova Center for Dance does scheduled live dance classes at various levels and styles of dance! I took their adult ballet barre class and it was great!
Tiler Peck is a professional dancer who is leading live ballet classes every day Monday through Saturday!
Here is a great resource for a line up of live dance classes, as well as creative ways to make your own dance choreography, and videos of dance performances.