For many years, magazines, websites, and streaming services have offered ways to avoid the gym and workout at home. Now that the entire country has been asked to practice social distancing and some gyms have closed temporarily, figuring out how to stay active while staying at home is more important than ever. But even at home, there are lots of great workouts you can try.
Here are the best workouts to do at home.
Stretching, Balance, and Flexibility
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that older adults get four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Luckily, flexibility and balance workouts are the easiest to try at home. Go4Life, an exercise campaign from the NIH's National Institute on Aging, has a series of 18 flexibility exercises and 3 balance exercises that anyone can do from home with a chair and a yoga mat (or even just a towel). These range from sitting in a chair and rotating at the hips for a back stretch to getting up and down off the floor.
For people who have been attending a yoga or flexibility fitness class regularly and are looking for something advanced, online streaming services offer a virtual class. Amazon’s Prime Video service offers hundreds of yoga videos, free with a Prime subscription, and some cable and internet providers like Xfinity also have yoga classes. Some yoga teachers also have free lessons on YouTube, like Yoga with Adrienne. However, just like taking a class at the gym, it pays to find the instructor who has the right style for your needs.
Strength Training at Home
For many people, strength training at home can seem harder than flexibility or balance training. Many of us go to the gym precisely to use weights or weight machines. However, with little to no equipment, older adults can still do muscle toning workouts from home.
The "New York Times" developed a routine of eight exercises for traveling, where the only equipment needed is a bed, a chair, and a suitcase (or some other light weight like a can of soup or a bottle of water). These exercises aren't an intense strength workout, but they're simple and easy to execute.
Similarly, "Women’s Health" magazine offers a slightly more advanced 20-minute workout that combines strength and cardio training, and "Men’s Health" offers 5 home workouts, both of which require nothing more than a chair.
Smartphone and tablet apps also offer strength training workouts at home, like the Workouts for Women routines which range from 5 to 30 minutes on a range of levels. Many of the workouts are strength-building routines that require only body weight.
Endurance and Cardio Workouts
An endurance workout is anything that raises your heart rate and breathing. Although containing the spread of the novel coronavirus means staying at home, health agencies still encourage walking or exercising outside as long as people remain at least six feet apart.
For those who like walking, jogging, or bike riding, the best idea is to enjoy your outdoor exercise alone. Getting out for normal exercise or even a new exercise, like walking down the block or even gardening, can go a long way both for physical and mental health.
For people who are unable or uncomfortable going outside their home, cardio workouts (without specialized equipment) are another option. Many of the workouts on apps, streaming services, and fitness websites include both strength or flexibility and endurance training. After all, doing a series of strength exercises for 20 minutes increases endurance. However, many also offer guidance on indoor cardiovascular workouts, like 9 cardio exercises for a home workout from "Women’s Health" or "Self’s" 20-minute indoor workout.
While staying at home, it's important for people to stay active as much as possible. While workouts from home may not be as fun as workouts at the gym or playing sports with friends, activity benefits our mental and physical well-being and can stave off anxiety and depression in times of uncertainty.