Like most Americans, you probably spend a lot of time at home unable to go to the gym. Staying physically active is very important to maintaining good health, both physically and mentally. Studies have shown that remaining active can do wonders for keeping pretty much every part of the body in good shape, and it can even improve a person’s mood.
Yet global pandemic control measures mean that for the inhabitants of many countries, the usual avenues for exercise, such as gyms, wellness studios, public swimming pools, and even parks, are now off limits. In many places, regulations even bar people from stepping outside their homes other than making irregular supermarket runs for the essentials.
In this context, staying active and keeping fit may seem more daunting than ever, but there are several good ways to avoid becoming sedentary even when having to stay home.
Here are exercise recommendations that you can do at any time to increase your level of physical activity from the comfort of your own home.
Calisthenics is a form of exercise that makes use of a person’s body weight to train the major muscles.
Some calisthenics — such as pullups that require a bar — may be difficult at home, but most of them are achievable.
Calisthenics can include squats, crunches, pushups, and planks, all of which people can do pretty much anywhere.
Research has suggested that calisthenics can bring many benefits to both individuals in good health and those with underlying health conditions.
For instance, studies have shown that calisthenics may prevent the reduction of skeletal muscle volume in people with type 2 diabetes, improve respiratory muscle strength in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and improve posture and body strength in healthy adults.
Cardiovascular exercise works by boosting a person’s heart rate and can help a person lose weight, maintain brain function, and keep cholesterol levels in check.
Examples of cardio exercises include running in place, jumping jacks, lunge jumps, and skipping in place.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom provide a handy 10-minute cardio exercise routine.
Pilates at home
Pilates is a physical training method that can improve balance and posture, as well as body strength.
Research has confirmed that a nonstrenuous Pilates routine can improve muscular endurance and flexibility. Other studies have indicated that Pilates can help manage chronic low back pain and possibly even improve sleep quality in some people.
People can do most, if not all, Pilates exercises at home, and there are many online videos offering tailored routines to meet specific aims, such as improving back pain.
Beginning a yoga practice as an older adult can be intimidating, especially if you’re out of shape or working with health conditions. Still, yoga is a great option for becoming more active and flexible. There are many different types of yoga, each of which has a different level of intensity and difficulty.
Studies have suggested that the benefits of yoga include managing back pain, relieving stress and anxiety, and lifting a person’s mood.
There are many different online yoga classes to choose from, but if you have never practiced yoga, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here's a list of five of the most helpful online yoga channels.
Fun Home Activities
It is not always necessary to engage in a structured exercise routine to stay active. Research has shown that simply “avoiding inactivity” can make a difference.
One study suggested that doing as little as 10 minutes of leisurely activity — such as gardening or dancing in your living room — per week is associated with a lower risk of premature death.
Therefore, besides a reinvigorating morning workout and a relaxing yoga session before bed, it could be equally healthful to try planting some cilantro in your kitchen garden or having a little disco moment by yourself or with your family.
Now is the time to engage in all the activities that we never had quite enough time for — including dusting all those bookshelves — secure in the knowledge that they will contribute, even just a little, to our well-being.