Regular physical activity is key to living a healthy life – the American Heart Association recommends that you aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for the most benefits!
However, with stay-at-home orders enacted by governments across the country to combat COVID-19, going to the gym and getting your workout in can seem impossible.
But you can stay active while social distancing – as long as you stay safe.
If you’re looking for ways to get active indoors, here are a few easy exercises you can do at home.
#1: Running Up and Down the Stairs
The AHA specifically recommends that we aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week – this is the kind that gets our heart racing and our blood pumping.
One of the best ways to increase your heart rate is by running – but without access to many outdoor areas due to COVID-19 restrictions, there’s little space to go for a jog.
But if you have stairs in your home or apartment, you have a built-in race track!
Start at the bottom of the stairs and run up them as fast as you safely can. When you reach the top of the stairs, run back down.
Once you reach the end of your set, take a short break if needed and start again. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable doing so.
Watch your step and be careful not to trip while performing this exercise – safety is key!
Don’t believe it’s possible to bust a move and burn calories? Think again!
If you’re not a fan of running or other traditional cardio exercises, dancing is a great way to get your heart pumping while listening to your favorite tunes. All you have to do is clear a space in your home and press play!
Let your body move and see where the music takes you. Choose high-energy, upbeat songs to get your heart pumping – you can find several premade workout playlists on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube.
Here are some higher intensity dance routines that can help you burn calories while enjoying great music:
- Salsa dancing exercises your core and glutes, thanks to its hip-swinging moves.
- Zumba is a highly popular fitness program that incorporates many high-intensity dance styles, including salsa and cumbia. It’s highly versatile and flexible for all fitness levels, and you can find many Zumba resources online.
- Hip hop freestyle dancing incorporates many different muscle groups and involves large, wide movements of your body – making it an exciting workout.
- Have a partner? Try swing dancing! When you increase the intensity and kick up your heels, swing can help you get your heart pumping and build your strength by throwing around your (and your partner’s) body weight.
#3: DIY Strength-Training
In addition to the 150 minutes of cardio per week, the AHA also recommends that we engage in 2 days of strength training as well. Strength training exercises help build our muscles and increase our strength, such as lifting weights, doing pull-ups, or using resistance bands.
Without access to a gym, strength training can seem difficult to do at home – but with some DIY equipment, you can strengthen yourself indoors.
Try these simple exercises for at-home strength training:
- Amp up your squat sessions by performing arm raises as you squat. You can begin by raising your arms in the air as you squat without any weights, and then increase the intensity by lifting gradually heavier objects while you squat.
- Pushups and sit-ups are easy and accessible ways to strength train without any equipment, relying on your body weight to strengthen your muscles. Simply find a flat surface to begin your routine, and get to work.
- Have fun with resistance bands to strengthen different parts of your body. For example, you can loop a resistance band around both of your ankles to strengthen your legs and hips. Begin by pulling your left leg as far back as you can, return to the starting position, and repeat 12 times. Repeat with your right leg.
Before you begin, you may need a towel or chair to complete a strength-training session. You may also want to invest in equipment such as weights, resistance bands, kettle bells, or a yoga mat to help make these exercises more effective.
If you don’t have access to this equipment, you can use many household objects to help with your strength training routine. Fill empty jugs with water, find heavy cans in your pantry, or use those sandbags in your garage. Remember to start easy, and increase intensity over time!
With these exercises and more, you can adhere to stay-at-home guidelines and protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the spread of COVID-19.