Ideas for Starting an Exercise Routine in Quarantine

So that’s not a post I had on my list of ideas but it actually seems like a need that is coming up right now. I think we’re all using the term quarantine when what we really mean is social distancing. Whether people can go for a walk and where has been one of the biggest controversies around here at least so I figured I’d come up with a few more ideas than that. I think that every situation has a silver lining no matter how bad it is. I have always been able to even find one in even the worst things that happened to me in time, like literally every single bad thing. That’s something my parents always taught me and I hope that there will be some after we all pull through this too. It seems everyone is desperate to get out of the house and move on the regular now which would be a great thing if it continues for lots of people once we’re all through this. The problem here right now is that everyone has the urge to go for a walk at the moment and they’re all heading to the same places at the same time. Mostly mid day on the weekends. But there are lots of options besides that! Now really is the perfect time for you to start exercising now that you have the time!

There are lots of places where you’ll likely never see a soul

Before we get into a list of ideas and how to start them let me be absolutely clear that you NEED to follow the rules of your public health authority. We are currently socially isolating which means we are cleared to exercise because we have not traveled outside the province, come into contact with anyone who has and do not regularly have to interact with anyone who is high risk. So public health says I can still run or bike with people I live with and to stay 2m apart form everyone else. Honey has put down a hard no so as always I’m on my own. If we were in isolation I would not be allowed to leave my yard and I wouldn’t. If one of our employees get’s it than that’s what we’ll have to do. Even if that describes you I have some ideas too so read on! Make sure only members of your own household join you.

If you can leave the house

Go for a walk: People here are all heading to the same beaches and trails for a walk so they’ve been closed under the emergency measures act now. We live one one of the more popular beaches in the province and I can report that the RCMP are in fact chasing COVIDIOTS away daily still! Right now the best advice to follow is in line with that of our province walk from your house don’t drive anywhere to go for a walk. Stick to the boring old sidewalk if trails or parks are likely to be more crowded. Maybe even go on the ‘ugly’ streets to avoid other walkers. If you live in a crowded area and it’s hard to keep 6 ft apart try going at an unpopular time like very early in the morning, during mealtimes or after dark.

Start running if you want: Early spring is the perfect time to start running since the colder temperatures are here and a couch to 5k plan is a great place to start. It’s a phone app that will have you 5k ready in as little as 6 weeks. No pressure but I do have a companion guide full of tips and tricks for new runners and those that may have an underlying health condition. Take it easy and leave extra space since you will be huffing and puffing!

Ride your bike: Unless you previously had a career as a bike racer you won’t want to get within 6 ft of your riding partner. Take out that bike, grease it up with whatever you got and go for a ride. You might even be able to borrow one from a friend who isn’t using it just pick it up outside and give it a wipe.

Wipe it down if you want but seldom used bikes aren’t likely to carry germs

Do some work on the house: Construction has been deemed an essential service for better or worse and building centers deliver. We have some deferred maintenance to do like put a roof on, build a deck, dig a hole in the basement, tame the gardens, add baseboards and clean up the yard and the shed. We could also stand to paint the whole house. I didn’t think it was that much until I started typing! Plan your project carefully so you can minimize or eliminate trips out for supplies. Remember to order fasteners too!

If you’re stuck at home

Yoga videos online: There are so many out there. I love a style called Ashtanga which has you doing the same routine day after day. There are three different series though. But I might be biased. There are so many on YouTube just look for ‘Astanga yoga primary series’. That way you can learn the moves over time and it’s predictable. It’s also a very physical, fast moving style which is a bit better of a workout.

Practicing in front of a heater might not be zen but it’s good for hot yoga!

Lift some wights or cans of soup: You can look for videos or lists of moves online for a place to start. Jugs of milk, filled cloth grocery bags, dog food, paint cans, books and resistance bands can all be great substitutes. It’s not my thing, though maybe it should be but I understand that people work different body parts on different days so maybe focus on the upper body one day and the lower body the next day.

Active play time: Do you and your kids need to burn off some steam? Take an hour to play in the yard at a level that can also count as a workout for you. You could play tag, capture the flag or even just chase the dog if you’re not feeling all that rules based today. Put on the right clothes get outside and lock the door for an hour. Don’t go back in until everyone is tiered!

Dig out any and all old equipment: Did you get roped into buying something you never used well now is the time for that to shine! I had a total gym, elliptical and really old exercise bike for a time and I loved to watch movies while I used them but unfortunately we don’t have space for that here. I do have a bike trainer though which gets occasional use at best. But you might as well get some use out of it now right?

HITT video: High intensity interval training is a great thing to do for you body. Look for a video online that has no equipment. Get ready to really sweat though interval training is hard work but if you do this a few times a week you really could be in great shape by the time you’re let out of the house.

A calisthenics circuit: This is just a routine of things like sit ups, push ups, lunges and other body weight exercises. It’s not going to make you super fit or really change your body but you will feel a boost in your mood and stronger over time if this is the route you choose. Make it a routine if you can. Even though you can do this sort of thing in you pajamas change into your workout clothes and turn on some tunes.

A sport you can do at home: If you have some equipment hanging around like a badminton set, basketball net or wiffle ball set get it out and form a team. You might have to get creative but you can play t-ball with a hitter pitcher and one outfielder. You’ll all get to move around more that’s for sure! You can make a net out of some rope and you can even invent your own sport. Balloon volleyball anyone? For example if we just spread out the stuff in our yard a bit more we’d have one hell of an obstacle course! Given the rain we’re getting now it might even rival mud hero!

Making it stick after this is all over

I think now is a great time to start a fitness routine if that’s what you want. You finally have the time, it will give you some much needed structure and do wonders for mental health and anxiety. I also really hope that you fall in love with it and stick with it after the fact after all that’s the dream right? To maximize your chances you can do certain things that might make it easier to stick with once this is all over even if your current routine isn’t exactly at the olympic level:

Running on a not too busy road might be the best bet
  • Workout when you would have time to in your regular life so you’re carving out a realistic chunk of time.
  • Create a ritual around it, get dressed, shower after and fill a water bottle. 
  • Tell people you’re going to the ‘gym’ so don’t bother you and maybe ignore them while you’re doing it.
  • If you would be with a buddy FaceTime them instead.
  • Even if you’re watching TV try to maintain your workout at the top of mind priority.
  • Visualize what you will be doing after like say running outdoors while you are working out at home.
  • Get the whole family involved if you can once and a while. That way you can continue to stick with it after as a group.

As long as I can follow the rules and keep working out I will be. I’ve actually found I’ve has less time to do so since this all started. Probably because we’re still working and doing everything myself at home is time consuming.  I’m also in a pretty privileged spot. As this goes on I could run, bike on the trail, paddle board, swim and walk from my home, plus honey just built us a huge new deck to do yoga on. Our property is also pretty big at half an acer by lots of standards. Has being cooped up made you feel like starting to workout? What creative ideas have you found to keep active during social distancing? Leave it in the comments below!

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