This post will attempt to answer the following questions:
- How can I exercise at home without the aid of a gym?
- What are some workouts I can do in less than 30 minutes without any equipment.
I have now joined the telehealth revolution. Even though I am virus free and likely immune, my office where I see patients with respiratory conditions is now officially closed until further notice. This has not stopped the practice from trying to see patients through other means. We have started using a telehealth platform that allows video chat doctor visits. While it’s not as good as the real thing, it’s better than nothing.
One of the issues I have been discussing with my patients is how to stay active with all the restrictions on movement. These restrictions have allowed people a lot more free time but have restricted their access to going to the gym or to exercise classes. A common refrain I hear is that people cannot exercise because they can’t go outside or can’t go to the gym. This, by the way, is not a new thing for me to hear more common in the winter months. The reality is that you can get in amazing shape in your own home without paying a gym membership or buying expensive equipment.
The benefits of exercise are more pronounced now than ever. Everyone knows that exercise is especially good for your physical health. It pretty much benefits all medical conditions (except perhaps broken bones). What is really crucial to understand currently is its benefits for your mental health. Human psychology thrives on social interaction which is limited currently. This leads those with perfect mental health to be a bit down in the dumps. For those with serious mental health conditions it could even be life threatening. Exercise has been shown in multiple contexts to improve mood in many different ways and is essential for staying healthy in body and in mind.
So how do you do it? If you are one of those people that exercises regularly, you probably already are. If you are not someone who exercises regularly you may not know where to start. My hope is to help with that. To start with there are subscription services (usually about $10 a month though they almost all give a free month trial) that can guide you. These usually contain thousands of videos for people of all levels. Some of them utilize minimal exercise equipment such as hand weights but most do not require any equipment at all. They all can be done from home. The advantages of this are obvious when your locked at home but even extend to after the restrictions will be lifted and include:
- You don’t waste time going to and coming from the gym. Not having time is a major obstacle that this addresses.
- You don’t have to worry about people staring at you. Go ahead and grunt, moan, and sweat, nobody’s watching. You don’t need to do your hair or makeup either.
- You just have to press play. The fewer obstacles you have to overcome the more likely it is that you will stick with the program.
- You don’t need to know what to do. Usually you find the videos on your level and press play. Then just do what the instructor tells you.
Some popular sites that are great for this are dailyburn.com, beachbody.com, seanviguefitness.com, and probably many others that you can find on your own.
If the videos are not your thing there are many ways to get good exercise in your own home:
- Stairs are an underappreciated source of exercise. If you walk up and down your stairs for 20 minutes, you’ll get a great workout.
- Standing and sitting on a chair for as many reps as you can is a great exercise for your legs.
- You can use canned foods or fill up milk jugs with water to create hand weights. In fact, if you have anything that is heavy you can carry it and walk around the house (for example big bags of animal food or flour).
- You can fill up grocery bags with cans and walk around the house carrying them.
You get the idea. The point is that lack of access to a gym or the outdoors should not prevent you from getting exercise. It is so crucial when you are stuck at home.
I maintain another website that I created to help educate my patients on weight loss. There are a lot of posts about exercise in general. On it I created some workouts you can do at home in less than 30 minutes without any equipment. The website is wlcrblog.com. Some of the workouts I created you can do also:
The most important thing is that you stay active in whatever way you can and as much as you can. See if you can get 10 minutes of exercise for every hour of TV or netflix (for some of you that could be several hours of exercise).