To combat the global coronavirus pandemic, it feels like the whole world is doing its part by staying inside as much as possible. This means however that social distancing however has seriously hampered those pursuing their 2020 fitness goals. To get you back on track, we turned to three exercise experts for tips creating (and sustaining) a simple, balanced workout quarantine fitness regime.
Going faster, harder and stronger doesn’t always yield better results, especially for quarantine fitness. Instead, small daily habits like a 15-20 minute walk can greatly improve your overall health, says personal trainer RJ Deed. The trick however, is “to stay consistent. You won’t see results overnight, but if you make it a part of your lifestyle, you will see results.” Afterwards, Deed recommends 10 minutes of stretching to keep the body nimble, then pushing a little further with ten burpees—one of the most effective exercises for building muscle.
How To: Burpee
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees and squat.
- Place your hands on the floor directly in front of, and just inside, your feet.
- Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
- Jump your feet forward, landing just outside of your hands.
- Reach your arms over your head and jump.
- Lower yourself back into a squat for your next repetition.
To modify for knee or back issues, skip the jumps and step forward and back instead, alternating legs. Support your arms with a box or heavy chair to decrease upper-body strain.
Pro Tip: “Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air, as both can keep you from effectively working your core,” says Reed.
Keep It Simple
The road to failed workout resolutions is lined with overpriced equipment, which are all unavailable during social distancing. But our bodies already come fully equipped, says personal trainer Carlos Alonso. Known as the “Squat Doctor,” Alonso loves recommending this exercise to his clients. “A squat is a functional movement, something we do in everyday life,” he notes. “And it’s the number-one movement to boost testosterone, which decreases as we age.” The hormone is associated with sustaining bone density and muscle mass in both men and women.
How To: Squat
- Start with a shoulder-width stance facing forward, keeping your back straight and clenching your stomach.
- Extend arms, either straight ahead or holding hands, for balance.
- Inhale, squeezing in your abdominals.
- Bend your knees and sit back, aiming for an imaginary chair. Hinge your hips back. Hold your breath, ensuring your knees don’t pass over your toes as you descend.
- Exhale as you stand up to repeat.
Pro Tip: Open the toes and drive your knees into the ground. This will pull the tension from your knees and activate the quadriceps.
Engage Your Heart
A healthy body starts with a healthy mind, so a well-rounded exercise regime should engage your emotional needs, says Sheba Munn Thompson, a hot yoga instructor at the Sol Yoga studio in Fort Lauderdale. “Stress can have a devastating effect on your overall health, causing a string of tension throughout the human body,” she explains. “We also tend to hold emotional trauma in our hips. As we say in yoga, closed hips lead to a closed heart.” To open up the hips and the heart, she suggests the simple “Kapotasana” or pigeon pose.
How-To: Pigeon Pose
- Sitting down, start with five full breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
- Move to a table-top position on your hands and knees, palms down.
- Move your right knee forward, behind the inside of your right wrist.
- Extend your left leg behind you, in a straight line from hip to toe.
- Lift your upper body from your fingertips, elongating your spine.
- Gently heel-toe your right foot towards your left wrist. Work your ankle forward as much as possible, so your shin is perpendicular to your torso.
- Gently work your right hip back and left hip forward to square your hips.
- If comfortable, lift torso and rest hands on thighs.
- Once properly aligned, walk your hands forward lowering your torso onto your shin, resting your forehead on the floor. Hold for five full breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Pro Tip: Place a yoga block or rolled-up towel under your right hip to align both hips parallel to the floor.
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