Staying strong while staying at home
With nearly five million Canadians (or 40 percent of the workforce) currently working from home, many of us are starting to feel the effects of being cooped up with limited options for physical activity and no time to destress. But according to Kim Lavender, GoodLife Fitness Vice President of Group Experience, now is when we need to move more and take care of our bodies and minds.
Not having access to the gym can pose a problem for some, but Lavender says there are plenty of workout options at home using whatever you have around you. But she cautions it’s important to create the right environment for home-based fitness. Make sure the space is clear of tripping hazards and has sufficient room for your exercises. Also, remember to wear appropriate footwear and have some water nearby to ensure you stay hydrated.
No weights? No problem.
If you’re used to strength training, it can be tough to match a workout with weights or kettlebells. But there are lots of household items you can use to add resistance to your workouts. Lavender suggests using full dish soap bottles, cans of soup, large jugs of laundry detergent, or paint cans as hand weights for bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, or just to add some extra weight to functional exercises like lunges and squats.
Fill a backpack with books or other heavy items and wear it on your back or carry in front in your arms while you do walking lunges down the hall. You can even get creative and #squatyourdog or use your significant other or a family member as resistance with some partners exercises like leg lifts or push ups.
A good workout is as close as your living room, or kitchen, or hallway. Set your oven timer and get to work while dinner cooks, or while you keep an eye on the kids. Lavender suggests trying push ups off the countertop, step ups onto a kitchen chair (make sure it’s stable), chair squats onto an armchair, or maybe glute bridges with feet on the couch. After you put your shoes on, do some tricep dips from the bench in the hall or a timed wall sit.
Outdoor exercise ideas
If you have a patio, a yard, or a set of stairs, you have enough space for a quick high-intensity interval training workout to build your cardio endurance and burn calories. Lavender suggests picking 4-5 main exercises and doing them in a sequence for 45 seconds at a time, with a short rest in between. Push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, step-ups, mountain climbers, speed skaters. Sprint up and down the stairs, or just carry your groceries up and down a couple of times to get your heart pumping and take your mind off your worries for a while.
As with any physical activity, Lavender reminds Canadians to always make time to warm up and cool down, as well as do some dynamic stretching. In her free daily online workouts through #GoodLifeatHome she tells participants to brace their core and listen to their body to avoid injury.
Lavender is available to talk more about home workout ideas and the importance of staying physically active to build resilience and boost the immune system so we can push through tough times.