Sunday, March 15, 2020

How to Keep Exercising During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Well that's a headline I never thought I'd write.

But here we are, in this unprecedented, ever-evolving, global situation, having to make decisions or abide by guidelines that go completely against our routines and human nature.

OK - so we all have to figure out our new normal for a while. Above and beyond the obvious, "How do I keep from getting or passing on coronavirus" questions, which is kind of hard for us all to even wrap our heads around, we have questions more like, "What am I going to do with my kids?" "How am I going to get work done?" "What if I can't get my medications or groceries?" "What do I do if I have to go to the doctor?"

Obviously I'm not qualified to answer any of those questions. But what I can do is remind you that it's important to continue to exercise during this time - for your own health and for the benefit of those you take care of.

It's very easy after being told to "stay home" to think, "What a great time to sit on the couch and binge-watch (insert favorite shows here)." Which is fine, to an extent. But if you're like me, you're probably not going to get those 10,000 steps in during the day if you're working from home THEN binge-watching Netflix. While I believe the gyms and health clubs in my area are still open, I'm wondering if it's only a matter of time until they are forced to temporarily close their doors. And honestly, I have not been going to my gym, not necessarily because I'm afraid of contracting the virus, but because I have an 89-year old father that I'd like to have around for a while, so I'm not taking any chances.

So, back to exercise. Here are a few of my thoughts on how you can get up, get moving and stay healthy during this crazy time:

Get Outside
Last time I checked, outside is not closed. I walked my dog today and saw very few people out and about. Lace up those tennis shoes and hit the sidewalk, the trail, whatever you have. Take a hike. Ride a bike. Go for a run. Go play touch (or no touch) football with your kids. Play go fetch with your dog. It's practically spring - bundle up if it's cold and get out for at least 20 minutes and get your heart rate up a little. This is also good for your mental health, which I'm sure has taken a hit in all of us lately.

Workout at HomeIf you're a gym rat, you're probably well-versed in adapting the routine you have at the gym for home. I'm not too worried about you. But if you're like me, who still struggles to make it to the gym two or three times a week as recommended, you might have some well-intentioned equipment sitting around at home. Maybe some hand weights, or exercise bands, or a treadmill hidden under some laundry. Now's the time to bring that stuff out of hiding and start using it. There are a plethora of exercises online and plenty of YouTube videos out there to guide and motivate you.

Disclaimer: Make sure you're using trusted sources and not something like, "Karen's Beginner Strength Training Workout Using 50 Pound Weights". I honestly am not in the fitness profession, so I don't have any specific recommendations. If anyone who is reads this, please feel free to include any resources you know of in the comments section below and I'll add them.

Using the TV for Good, Not Evil
Depending on your TV provider or streaming service, you may have access to quite a few fitness channels. I have Hulu Live and Amazon Prime, and a quick search brought up an array of videos including Pilates, Yoga (um, even Face Yoga and Nude Yoga popped up, WTF), Zumba, Kung Fu Girl Fighter (not kidding),  Dumbell Workout, Resistance Band, Dance Cardio, Kickboxing and Tai Chi.

Disclaimer: Again, see above disclaimer. 

For All You Fitness Instructors Out There
I am very lucky that my company provides on-site fitness classes over the lunch hour during the week through a local health club. I'm really going to miss those for however long they're on hold. So, here's an idea for both gyms and instructors. Consider making some of your classes available online! Maybe they're only available to your members, who are paying a monthly fee anyway, or maybe you're a freelance instructor or personal trainer who would be willing to teach out of your home. There are plenty of online webcasting platforms, but the one that comes to mind is Facetime Live. Totally free. This is a great way to not only keep your customer base but expand it as well!

Or do like this guy in Spain, who trains from the rooftop!

So, that's my small contribution for today. Don't neglect exercising. I know this is the PERFECT excuse not to, and believe me, I have made plenty of them. But I guarantee your body and your mind will thank you, and once this is all over, you can pick up where you left off without missing a beat.

I feel the need to post the usual disclaimer to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program, but you're probably not going to be able to get in to any doctor, so just be smart and be safe. And as I mentioned above, if you have any exercise tips or recommendations, please mention them in the comments section below.

Wash your hands and stay healthy, everyone.

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