In a world that is constantly changing, we are all looking for stability, positivity, and ways to stay motivated. Research shows that exercising regularly can boost your mood as you release “feel-good” endorphins and forget worries. Personally, I am used to working out at the gym four days a week and adhering to a strength training program, so working out at home has been an adjustment. If you are also used to going to the gym and are wondering how to exercise at home, or you are a beginner looking to build an exercise routine, this list of activities will inspire you to get off the couch and get moving!
Note: I mention several different apps throughout the article; click here to check out where the app is available for download!
EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS.
A proven mood-booster is going outside; studies show that being outside reduces anxiety and depression significantly. Exposure to sunlight also releases serotonin, the hormone associated with focus and calmness. When you have a chance, get your daily dose of Vitamin D and:
- GO FOR A WALK: I have found that taking a 15-minute walk mid-afternoon boosts my afternoon productivity. Control your speed and take a leisurely stroll, or intensify your walk by using weights and power-walking.
- ENJOY A HIKE: Take advantage of Chattanooga’s beautiful scenery (as long as you maintain social distancing). With over 50 trailheads within 30 minutes of downtown, find diverse trails that are among the most beautiful in the country.
- RIDE A BIKE: Now is the best time to wipe the dust off the bike that’s been sitting in your garage! Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise that targets different muscles than when you walk or run, diversifying your workout. Also, riding bikes in the evening can serve as a family bonding activity that even the little ones can enjoy.
BREAK OUT THE BLISS.
Have you ever been interested in meditation, but never slowed down enough to start? As a self-proclaimed “busy” person, I have recently learned the benefits of taking time to meditate and not constantly rush throughout my day. Now is the perfect time to learn meditation techniques and train your mind to be more attentive and aware with:
- PILATES: While yoga focuses on the mind, body, and spirit connection, Pilates gives attention to the alignment of the body through systematic movements. (Learn more about the differences between Pilates and Yoga, and find the best fit for you, here). Studies show that incorporating Pilates into your routine improves flexibility, balance, and abdominal endurance. One of my favorite workouts is completing Blogilates videos, where the instructor, Cassey Ho, fuses pop music with working different areas of the body in her classical Pilates routines. I love how I can choose which areas of my body to target through her customized workouts and how she constantly encourages her viewers to push themselves. Other options are the apps Pilates Anytime or Pilates Training.
- YOGA: The benefits of yoga are numerous, ranging from perfecting posture to increasing stamina. With over 6.5 million YouTube subscribers, Yoga With Adriene has videos that target various areas such as weight loss or back pain. The Glo App offers over 3,700 classes for yoga, Pilates, and meditation. If you are a beginner looking to learn the basics, check out Pocket Yoga. The app includes a comprehensive pose dictionary that breaks down each pose, ensuring you have proper form.
GET YOUR HEART RATE GOING.
Here are some of my favorite ways to build cardiovascular endurance (no treadmill necessary):
- GO ON A RUN: Time to make those dreams of running a 5k or marathon a reality! Whether your goal is to maintain your overall fitness or get back into shape, running has several health benefits. Use apps such as Adidas Running or Runkeeper to keep track of your time and distance. Additionally, use the apps to measure progress toward your goals.
- SEE YOUR HEART RATE RISE: I love this comprehensive list Healthline created of HITT apps (high-intensity interval training) that will cause your heart to start pumping. There are also several YouTube videos that focus on providing you with no-equipment necessary, at-home cardio workouts. I personally love the 30-minute Cardio HITT workout from POPSUGAR Fitness; the workout leaves me drinking two full water bottles once all is said and done.
One of my best guy friends classifies himself as a “gym rat;” we have had several discussions about how he has learned to incorporate strength training into his home workout, such as:
- P90X: From core synergistics to back & biceps, P90X will, as my friend put it, “whip you into the best shape of your life.” Cardio is also implemented into the routines, but the videos are primarily advertised as “muscle training.”
- FEEL THE BURN: Fitbod is an algorithm-based app that uses your fitness information to personalize your workouts. The app recommends which exercises to do, along with sets, reps, and weights for each exercise, based on strength-training best practices. As you build your strength, the app pushes you to work harder in your next workout by adding more reps or suggesting you use heavier weights. Whether you are a seasoned weightlifter or a beginner, this app is ideal for those wanting to lift weights. If you want to avoid weights in your strength training, check out apps like Bodyweight Training: Your Gym that require no equipment. Other apps, such as BodBot, allow you to restrict the app to bodyweight-only exercises.
CAPITALIZE ON CREATIVITY.
There are several ways to exercise outside the norm of a “standard workout routine”:
- DANCE: Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Use YouTube videos, such as the ones by The Fitness Marshall, to learn dances to popular songs. I know I’ve enjoyed pretending my room is a stage, my hairbrush is the microphone, and dancing along with Caleb’s infectious personality coaching me! If you want to incorporate interval training with Latin and international music, Zumba will improve your cardiovascular fitness in a fun way. Zumba has digital workouts available that target everything from total-body wellness to learning beginner moves.
- DAILY ACTIVITIES: Squat while picking up dirty laundry off the floor. Do sit-ups when the TV show you are watching has commercial breaks. Stretch your torso from side-to-side after emptying the dishwasher. Find ways to build exercise into your daily routine and feel refreshed as you go about your day.
- SELF-DEFENSE: From an early age, I have been taught the importance of feeling empowered and learning how to protect myself. That’s why I have been looking into signing up for a self-defense class where I can learn moves and use them as a means to take care of myself. In my search, I have found several affordable resources through sites like Udemy or Skillshare.
BONUS: If you are looking for motivation to get started, check out this article showing you how to create the perfect playlist for exercising based on BPM (beats per minute).
I hope these activities inspire you to take action and make the best out of a no-gym situation!
Check out this comprehensive list of apps mentioned in the article. Unless otherwise noted, they are all available for iOS and Android.
- *Pilates Anytime
- **Pilates Training
- Glo App
- Pocket Yoga
- Adidas Running
- Bodyweight Training: Your Gym
*Available only for iOS **Available only for Android ***Currently available on iOS and coming soon to Android