COVID-19: Exercise Hacks To Keep Yourself Healthy At Home

With gyms being classified as high-risk areas for coronavirus spread and many across the country being shut to protect patrons and employees, if you're a gym junkie you might be left wondering how you're going to get your daily dose of exercise? It’s a bit like your morning cup of joe. You simply cannot do without it.

Have you considered trying out online classes? Or even a staircase workout? 

Believe it or not you can still do your favourite exercises in the comfort and safety of your home by improvising a little bit with ordinary household articles like duvets and bottles or even putting your living room wall to good use, irrespective of your choice of intensity, be it high, moderate or low.

You can target all the key muscles- abs, pecs, quads, glutes, hamstrings and burn close to 300–500 calories. A pleasant side effect is of course a boosted up immune system.

Dr. Om Shrivastav, Director, Infectious Diseases, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai“The infection spreads from person to person by secretions of the body. If you have even a single person who might be sharing what you are using, you are putting yourself and that person at risk, as well as everybody else who touches it. Just take precaution that you have your very own set of workout articles.”Start With A Warm-Up

A warm-up is a must. At least 5 – 10 minutes of it. Here’s why:

  • It ups your heart rate, increases blood flow and activates the muscles you need to recruit for your exercises, thereby significantly improving your range of motion.

  • According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) it leads to efficient calorie burning by increasing your core body temperature.

  • It also prevents injury and lessens fatigue.

Jogging in place, Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Torso Twists, Arm Circles, Swings, Lateral Shuffles, Toe Touches, Chest Openers, Front and Back Kicks, Calf Raises, the list is endless! Just do at least 6-8 Reps of the exercises you choose.

Duvet Battle Ropes

Go to the foot of your bed, with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, bend your knees. Just remember to not bend so much that the knees go beyond your toes. Keeping your head, neck and spine in a straight line, grab a corner of your duvet in each hand and pump your arms alternating them in swift up and down motions for at least a minute.

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Cushion Froggers

Lying on your back, place your hands if possible beneath your tailbone. Then keeping your knees bent and wide, tightly squeeze a folded pillow or cushion in between your heels. Press your feet out and bring them back in. Do as many reps as you can.

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The Stairs Workout

Jogs

Up and down a flight of stairs popping off the balls of your feet on each stair. Remember to keep your knees soft.

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Quick Feet

Tap your feet up and down interspersed with a hop in quick succession.

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Box Jump

Keeping feet shoulder-width apart, explode off the ground with both feet and land gently into a squat (knees should be bent to better absorb the shock of that jump), step down one foot after the other. Aim for 10 reps.

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Tricep Dips

Hands planted firmly on the edge of the stair on either side of your hips, palms facing down, fingers facing your glutes, elbows pointed back and feet forward with your knees bent. Lower yourself toward the floor keeping your back and glutes close to the stair. Pushing back with your hands, raise yourself back up to the starting position squeezing those triceps.

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Bent Knee Push-ups

Assume the push-up position with your arms on the stair, hands more than shoulder-width apart and a bit forward as compared to your shoulders, elbows straight, knees bent, feet crossed behind you. Keeping your head, neck and back in one line, core tight and glutes squeezed, slowly lower yourself towards the stair bending your elbows. Then push back to the starting position. Inhale as you go down and exhale on your way up.

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Mountain Climbers

Do I hear you singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in your head? Assume plank position, hands placed firmly on the stair, fingers facing forward and shoulder-width apart. Ensure your head, neck and spine is in a straight line, knees and feet hip-width apart. Keeping your core tight, bring your thigh to your chest, driving your knee toward your elbow one knee at time.

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Quick Wall Workout

Glute Bridges

Lie with your lower back pressed onto the floor engaging you core, parking your feet firmly on the wall. Arms by your side, palms facing down. As you engage and raise your glutes up, continue to engage your core and exhale at the top. Make sure you don’t overarch your back. Gently come back down.

Wall Sit

Want to sit this one out? Well, you quite literally can do that! Stand tall with your back against the wall, feet shoulder-width distance apart and facing forward. Walk your feet out to a comfortable distance from the wall. Keeping your upper body against the wall and your core engaged, gently slide down the wall, digging in through you heels, until your legs are parallel to the ground, knees directly over your ankles creating a 90 degree angle. It’s like you're sitting on a chair, except that you’re not! Hold for 30 seconds or more.

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Water Bottle Workout

Don’t have dumbbells? No problem! Simply use your water bottle. Arguably every conceivable exercise that you can do with dumbbells you can easily do with water bottles. Not buying into it just as yet are you? Here’s a demo of a squat with a front raise coupled with a lunge and lateral raise. Ensure your knees don’t go beyond your toes when you squat or lunge.

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Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. It is believed to help greatly with toning, flexibility, weight loss, even good skin and hair, and the effective functioning of every system- digestive, respiratory, lymphatic, nervous, you name it! It even revitalises and refreshes the body and sharpens the mind. If the much-touted 108 Surya Namaskars not doable, maybe you can try 24?

The Cool DownVinata Shetty, Reebok Master Train“You can do Pranayama in these times to de-stress and it’s a great way to cool down. It’s a time to experiment even, try something else. If you haven’t tried yoga then switch on a beginner level yoga program that you can do by yourself at home.”The Buzz Online

Fitness instructors are reaching out to clients and vice versa over Skype and FaceTime, even providing them with a warm-up session before the online class. Additionally apps like GOQii, Freeletics, cure.fit provide 20 minute to half an hour workout sessions as do ‘Pocket Workouts by DAREBEE’ and ‘Home Workout – No Equipment’ catering to all levels and formats.

Keep Your Chin Up Dear Gym Goers: Says Vinata by way of encouragement, ”Look at it as a forced deload for recovery, so you can hit the gym later with renewed strength.”

If you want to have it all, you can even build yourself a home gym. Here’s how...

Also Read: No Time for Gym? No Worries! Working out at Home Just as Effective

For more innovative home workout ideas try these:

Also Read: Want To Burn Fat Faster? Follow This 20-Minute-Full Body Workout

Also Read: Do You Travel Often? Try the “Hotel Room Workout” to Stay in Shape

Tips and Tricks

  • Give yourself a gap of at least half an hour after a light snack and 2 hours after a heavy meal before exercising.

  • Don’t lose sleep or peace of mind over exactly how may reps and sets you need to do. Just do as many as you can. The idea is to get a good, satisfying workout without any burnout or injury.

  • Use your arms in conjunction with leg movements to fire up the intensity and work your upper body as well.

  • For a multitude of exercises, especially so in jumps or explosive movements, it makes perfect sense to keep your knees soft, this avoids undue pressure on the knee joints.

  • Typically you exhale in the toughest part of any exercise or when you’re working against gravity. Tough to remember? Just breathe normally throughout.

  • An exercise is only as good as the form and technique you use to perform it. Closely follow professional instructions and guidelines to reap the benefits of an exercise to the maximum. One of the best places to learn good form and technique for any exercise is the Exercise Library of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

  • If you’re not comfortable doing a particular exercise, don’t push yourself to do it.

  • Feel free to take a break or a sip of water.

  • It’s always a good practice to consult your doctor before you set out to attempt any new set of exercises, especially if you have a pre-existing or suspected medical condition.

(Aruna Ramesh Balaji is a freelance writer, fitness instructor and former television journalist. She firmly believes that one of the gateways to a happy life is good health made possible by significant lifestyle changes. It’s her most cherished goal to make available the collective wisdom, both ancient and contemporary, of masters and experts in the fields of health and fitness, so readers such as yourself can lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.)

(All demos courtesy Sindhu RajKumar, Fitness Instructor)

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