Why do we want to get fit at home?
Everyday we are challenged with the busyness of life: taking care of our families, going to work or school, taking care of our home, making time for friends, the list goes on. But how do we take care of ourselves? One vital component is physical exercise. The list of benefits is endless but, in a nutshell, it promotes strong muscles and bones. It improves respiratory and cardiovascular health. Staying active can also help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and reduce your risk for some cancers. Exercise can help with your mental well being too. So now, how do we achieve these goals with at-home fitness?
What are your at-home fitness goals?
For those who have already begun the journey, the challenge right now may be how to get fit at home. For those just getting started, the additional challenge may be what to do, how to get started. For everyone, I think it’s important to remember the why behind what you’re doing. Setting goals- a vision for yourself will keep you on track.
Everyone’s goals are different and most importantly we must remember to not compare ourselves to anyone else. The only comparisons we should be making is between workouts or within the goals you set out for yourself. We are all unique and therefore to compare yourself to someone else will be fruitless and frustrating. Write down your goals to help keep you on track and stay focused on your vision for yourself. In these times, when you’re trying to get fit at home, perhaps a different set of goals is needed because the challenge will be- how do I achieve my goals without the resources I had before the lockdown? Changing your goals, even if it’s temporary, is okay. If you’re used to working out at a gym where you had all the resources and equipment at your disposal, your challenge may be to let go of the goals you had set out for yourself pre-pandemic and setting new goals for your fitness at home.
How do I achieve at-home fitness?
If you already have equipment, great! But for some, the option of equipment may be out of the question because of lack of space or because buying equipment is too expensive. So, for cardiovascular fitness, walking, running or biking outdoors is a great way to work towards your goal. If can’t do any of these there are options like walking or running up and down a staircase (tip: gradually add weight to make it more challenging), or dancing to your favorite tunes. And, since you are at home you can check out the enormous library of online workouts that are geared to suit your needs and your goals without the use of equipment.
Strength training at home is achievable you just have to get creative if you want to use equipment. Ever thought of things like jugs of water, bags of rice, cans of food, or even kitty litter? Yes!! All these things can be used for weight training. I bet your wondering “I don’t have a cat so why would I buy kitty litter?” Well, along with doing yourself some good you can do your local animal shelter some good too! When you are back to your normal routine at the gym you can donate anything you don’t need. Click here if you’re interested in building strength
But remember it’s not always the amount of weight that makes an exercise challenging or stimulates muscle growth. Using lighter weight correctly will cause that muscle to burn!! Try this, take a weight (whatever it may be) and really slow down the movement. There are a couple of ways to do this. If an average count for a bench press (for example) is 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down, then try a 4 second count up and 2 seconds down. Try the opposite or slow down the count for both up and down. The idea here is, to use a variety of counts to challenge your muscles AND always change it up. Your muscles have a memory so they will adapt quickly to an exercise. So, the goal is to change the way a muscle is challenged and if you can’t do it by increasing the weight you use because you don’t have that option then change the intensity of the exercise by changing the speed with which you do it.
There are a variety of strengthening exercises that just require your own bodyweight. And, believe me, when done correctly they are incredibly challenging. You can checkout examples of exercises online.
Fitness at Home – How do I get started?
If you are just starting on your at-home fitness journey, the important thing to remember is to start out slow and build up. If you start out too aggressively chances are you will quit because you will be sore and feel horrible. Keep a journal so you can track your progress, be accountable and stay focused. Always start by a warming up. This could be a light walk or even dancing. A warmup will allow the blood to start flowing to the muscles and lubricate the joints in preparation for the demands you will be placing on your body. It is also a good idea to do some stretching before and after.
As a retired registered massage therapist, I’ve always been interested in health. I grew up loving sports so that carried into my adult life in my chosen career paths and in my personal life. I now stay active with weight training, hiking and biking. My professional life has always been in health care. This has inspired me to seek out and adopt a life of natural health and wellness.