We’ve lost access to our gyms.
It’s going to take a while to get used to the idea that our favourite places to workout are now closed for the foreseeable future.
Gyms aren’t just where we go to get fitter, they’re also where we manage our mental health, socialise with our friends and de-stress after a rough day; it’s where many of us go to unwind and relax.
But living in the midst of a global pandemic is no excuse to slack on your fitness goals.
Home workouts will become the new normal for many of us
and whilst they may not be anything you’ve tried or even thought about doing before, they can be a highly effective way of keeping fit during self-isolation.
And with UK cases expected to rise in the coming weeks, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be self-isolating, too.
Can I Exercise if I’m Self-Isolating?
Provided that you’re well enough to do it (30-seconds of burpees with Coronavirus symptoms, anyone?) and that you do it at home.
Anyone with the symptoms of COVID-19, anyone who has had contact with the virus or anyone deemed as being especially vulnerable should remain indoors.
And that means exercising indoors, too, unless you have a private garden.
As of 20.30 in the UK, we're all permitted to exercise once per day.
How Can I Keep Fit When I’m Self-Isolating at Home?
Most of us won’t have the equipment to rival our local gym but unless you’re an Olympic athlete, you don’t need to.
There’s a range of basic equipment that’s more than enough to keep you fit during a stint of self-isolation and lots you can do using only your bodyweight.
Skipping is so simple but it’s also extremely effective at giving a great workout. Men’s Health reported on a 2018 study that showed how 10 minutes of skipping for 6-weeks gave the same cardiovascular improvement as running for 30 minutes every day.
You can use it either for a warm-up or for a session in itself. Buying a skipping rope when you’re self-isolating from COVID-19 is ideal as it not only burns calories but, according to Keira Carter who writes for Runners World, “increases your metabolic rate 10 to 12 times above resting, depending on your cadence, similar to jogging at 6 to 7 miles per hour.”
Skipping strengthens muscles, too, and helps with hand-eye coordination which is why it’s a staple for boxers. You just have to make it count. Once you’ve mastered the basics work to improve you speed and you’ll feel the benefit of a simple but highly intensive session.
Use Resistance Bands Instead of Strength Training
Resistance bands were first used to help physiotherapy patients regain muscle and strength but, thanks to their portability and affordability, they’re now popular both at the gym and for at-home fitness practices.
The bands come with different levels of resistance (often colour coded) and are sold together in a set which not only makes them versatile but means there’s something for every level of fitness. You can build strength and muscle even without the benefit of the weights in your gym. Resistance bands can help improve and maintain good posture, too, ideal if you’ve just started working from home.
Use an Abs Sliding Disc for Core Strength
When Nike Trainer Luke Worthington spoke to the Telegraph about home workouts, he said “All we have to do is remember to cover the fundamental human movements of push, pull, squat, hinge, lunge – working through each of these movements two or three times a week will make a huge difference to how your body moves, looks and feels,”
And sliders can help you do this in an incredibly powerful and effective way.
Sliding discs help improve balance, flexible, strength, endurance and core strength.
Small but powerful, they work by making it so that you have to engage your muscles throughout the duration of each move.
These small discs challenge your stability by sitting between either your hands or feet and the floor and can be used anywhere. The Furthermore website offers some great GIFs (courtesy of New York fitness instructor Mary Onyango) on simple but effective workouts you can try during your extended break at home.
At home workouts don’t have to mean raiding your mum’s loft for her Jane Fonda aerobics tapes. Using a skipping rope, a resistance band and slides are just a few of the highly effective and affordable ways to maintain your fitness until your quarantine is lifted.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, EarHugz is offering an Isolation bundle kit that includes all three items as well as an N95 Covid-19 face mask.
Keeping Fit without Equipment
Of course, there are other ways to keep active at home during your period of self-isolation.
If you don’t own any weights, use canned and bagged items from your kitchen cupboard in lieu of dumbbells or barbells. At the end of the day, weight is weight. Maintain the correct form and you’ve got a pretty solid temporary measure.
Self-isolating is the ideal reason to do a 30-day plank challenge. Setting targets is a great way to stay motivated.
Used to the Stairmaster? Use the stairs in your house or block. Mimic the action of stepping if you live in a bungalow.
Burpees. Say no more. Personal Trainer Brian Goldberg told Business Insider that "For the most bang for your buck, the burpee is the best," he said. "No matter where you are in the fitness spectrum, there aren't many things are so simple but have such a profound effect as a burpee.”
And he’s not wrong. And you only need yourself and a little bit of floorspace to do it in.
Yoga is great for the body and the mind. Choose between more physically demanding sessions to help tone and strengthen or more restorative moves for gentler moves. Don’t underestimate the importance of giving your mind a bit of calm during these anxious times. Hard floors can be a killer on the knees so don’t forget to buy a yoga mat.
And not forgetting YouTube. What a phenomenal resource that is for fitness. There’s everything from military fitness, dance-based exercises, gymnastics and self-defence styles.
You may find that your gym has online resources, too, or that they’ll be streaming classes in the coming days and weeks.
The Coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to last forever.
The gyms will open again, and EarHugz will be back to flogging sweat-proof headphone covers (which FYI are still available and still amazing), but in the meantime – stay well, keep exercise and stay indoors if you’re self-isolating.