As lockdown and social distancing measures continue, gyms and leisure centres remain closed – and many of us are now maintaining our fitness levels by exercising at home. Although we are allowed to leave our homes to exercise, there are also many ways you can work out at home without expensive gym equipment.
- Free workouts and apps
If you’re missing exercise classes or the support of a personal trainer, try a live stream exercise class or the many free videos available online. Many gyms, personal trainers, and fitness influencers are providing classes specifically designed for those who wish to exercise at home. This includes classes and routines for those who do not own gym equipment. Often the classes encourage people to use alternatives to gym equipment such as dining room chairs, sofas and water bottles.
In addition to online video classes, many apps also provide exercise routines for those wishing to stay fit at home. Some apps require paid subscriptions, but often you can try out an app for a limited free period.
- Bodyweight exercises
If you do not have equipment at home, try a bodyweight workout. These types of workouts use bodyweight and movements to help build strength, endurance and burn calories. Push-ups, squats, lunges, and burpees are all types of bodyweight workouts you can do at home without equipment. Bodyweight workouts are also perfect for those who are new to fitness and worried about injuries. Most exercises can be modified to make them easier for those starting out – and you can add in or remove reps inline with fitness levels.
There are many resources online for those wanting to try bodyweight exercises. The Body Coach Joe Wicks has a 20-minute full-body workout video on his YouTube channel, and apps such as Freeletics Personal Trainer provide bodyweight routines which include videos explaining each move.
- Create home equipment
If you like to lift weights or use strength machines, try creating exercise equipment at home. Chairs, benches and sofas can be used to support the body for weighted exercises – and you can even create weights with items you might find in your recycling bin and kitchen.
Tins of baked bins typically weigh 415 grams, or just under a pound – making them perfect for adding resistance to an aerobics or dance workout. You can also make a medicine ball at home by filling an old football or basketball with sand. Make sure you test the safety of any homemade weights before attempting any exercise.
- Take part in a challenge
Many of us were inspired by the heroic efforts of Captain Tom Moore and the millions he raised for the NHS. If you want to combine your fitness goals with raising money for a charity you support – there are many challenges online you can join.
The 2.6 Challenge has raised over £10 million to date. Those who wish to take part are asked to pledge to complete a challenge that revolves around the numbers 2.6 or 26. This could be running 2.6 miles or walking non-stop up and down your stairs until you complete 26 miles. Visit the website to learn more.
- Create a manageable routine
Many are feeling the pressure of maintaining intense fitness routines in lockdown. Exercise can help provide structure to lockdown days and can help those who feel frustrated with the restrictions with a way to relieve stress. Even so, it is important to take rest days and to create a routine that is manageable and in line with fitness levels.
Rest days are as important to fitness, as exercise. Our bodies need rest to repair muscle fibres which may have been torn during exercise. In addition to rest days, sleep is also very important to fitness, and studies show that growth hormones required for muscle growth are increased when we sleep.
It is generally recommended that you leave a rest day between exercise days, or if you want to exercise every day, that you work different muscle groups each day, so the previous muscle group has time to rest.