Covid-19 has certainly wreaked havoc on our usual routines but that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a schlub while you are working from home. With lockdown restrictions coming and going arbitrarily, you can never be certain about your gym’s schedule. It might be open now but it could very well shut when the country experiences another coronavirus spike. Starting an at-home fitness programme therefore makes sense on two counts: you won’t be hamstrung by lockdown restrictions, and it’s safer to stay in while the pandemic rages on.
Working out at home isn’t the easiest though, you need space (for your mat or equipment) and what you most definitely need to have in spades is the intrinsic motivation to work out and stay the course if you want to hit your fitness goals. But the benefits of establishing a home fitness routine are manifold.
According to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, “Sedentary behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals. Self-quarantine can also cause additional stress and challenge the mental health of citizens. Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time.”
WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. No matter your fitness level, there is a work out you can do at home that will match your interests and get you moving.
Free home workout apps and videos
Nike Training Club
There is a wide selection of home workouts to choose from on this free app, including programmes that help you set an ongoing workout schedule. Even if you do not have access to a gym or equipment, workouts can be filtered so you can easily search for body-weight-only exercises.
With over 5 million subscribers on YouTube, Blogilates offers a huge library of pilates-style videos. When lockdowns were first imposed last year, founder Cassey Ho, a certified Pilates and Fitness instructor, prepared a 14-day Quarantine Workout Plan in response. Her channel has videos targeting specific areas like abs or thighs and if you like challenges; follow her 21-Day Tone Challenge.
FitOn features full video workouts by a number of celebrity trainers, including Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union, Cassey Ho, Kenta Seki, and others. You can upgrade to the “Pro” version with a monthly subscription that includes customised diet plans, recipes, integration with your fitness watch or wearable, streaming playlists, and more. However the free version itself is pretty robust with workout videos for just about any home-workout you can think of, including Yoga, strength training, HIIT, cardio, dance, pilates, and kickboxing. To get started, download the app from the app store and create a profile. You will then be walked through the setup process which will ask you a series of questions based on your fitness level, demographics and fitness preferences. Next, create a designated plan to follow or just pick and choose which videos you like and watch them on demand.
Basic workout equipment under $50
If you are not ready to invest in a home gym set-up but still want to build strength or increase your efficacy, some basic gym equipment can make a difference.
A great addition to an at-home work out. They build strength and tone arm muscles.
Skipping is fantastic for cardiorespiratory health, tones calves and tightens the core.
Yoga (or workout) mat
Choose a mat depending on your form of exercise. A yoga mat for yoga or pilates-based workouts. Higher density mats for HIIT-type workouts.
Has a range of activewear shoes to accompany your at-home work out sessions. Made in Italy, their proprietary technology Piumatech™ polyurethane soles cushion your feet, absorbing the impact of jumps and providing stabilising support.