Not going to the gym doesn’t have to stop you from exercising. You can have fantastic workouts and stay active at home with the right plan in place.
Everyone has their opinion of what makes the best exercise. But the truth is—a lot of the claims that there’s a “best” type of exercise is nothing more than personal opinion.
We often complicate exercise to the point it becomes dreadful. And we create unrealistic expectations and routines that are impossible to stick to.
The most important thing about making time for exercise is to find something you like and keep doing it.
But that may be harder for many of you right now. Your gym may be closed right now. Or if your gym is open, it’s harder to get in with limited capacity rules in place.
And then there are reasons totally unrelated to being in the middle of a pandemic that influence whether or not you want to exercise in a gym.
Some gyms are intimidating, especially if you’re new to exercise. You may not live close to a gym. Or you may not have extra time to add it to your routine.
But the good news is that you don’t need a gym for effective workouts.
Whatever your reason for wanting to exercise at home—it can be done, and you can do it well.
So let’s break down everything you need to know about getting a great workout done at home.
How much exercise do you need?
Your ideal exercise routine depends on how much exercise your goals require.
Whether it’s weight loss, strength gain, or increased mobility, your exercise plan will be unique and depend on where you start and where you want to end.
But there is a minimum amount of exercise that’s recommended for every adult.
These are the CDC recommendations:
- 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training
- 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training
The reason the CDC includes both aerobic exercise and strength training is that they have different benefits for your health.
Aerobic exercise—a.k.a. “cardio”—is any exercise that conditions your cardiovascular system.
Your cardiovascular system is also called your circulatory system. It’s your heart and blood vessels that transport blood and oxygen around your body.
Cardio workouts keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy by targeting these systems in your body. When you do cardio your breathing intensifies and your heart pumps faster.
Some examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming, biking, hiking, or power-walking.
On the other hand, strength training is any exercise that’s intended to build muscle.
These kinds of exercises are done in short bursts or for limited amounts of time (while cardio is sustained for longer stretches of time).
Strength training is an important component of your workout routine because it improves your balance, mobility, and bone density.
How to stay active at home
You don’t have to worry about missing out by not going to the gym.
Home workouts can be fun and effective. Even without a full home gym.
Here are the best ways to stay active at home.
Take stretch and movement breaks throughout the day
Many of us don’t spend all day on our feet. If your work requires you to spend most of the day sitting, then you’ll benefit from short movement breaks in your day.
All these breaks do is get you up and out of your chair to get your blood flowing.
You can make them 5 or 10-minute breaks. Do some stretches, air squats, or just go for a little walk around your home or office.
The key is to break up your day with bouts of movement until you reach 30 minutes of movement over the course of your day.
You’ll not only get your body moving, but you’ll notice other benefits too.
Taking a short break away from your work can improve your concentration when you return. Plus, movement improves your mood—so you can return to your work feeling reinspired and content.
These breaks are good for days you don’t work too. Take some time to move between your Netflix episodes!
Follow workout videos online
Staying active at home is easier than ever thanks to the internet.
There’s a never-ending stream of workout videos online. Many of them posted by expert trainers who are so passionate about seeing you improve that they post short workouts for free. There are classes you can pay for online as well, but it’s worth checking out those free videos (often available on YouTube) to see what you like first.
Here are some of the best types of workouts to look for:
There are so many types of yoga classes out there. Your favorite types will depend on your ability level and
You’ll find yoga classes that are slow-paced with deep stretches, moderate classes that challenge you just a little bit, and classes designed to get your sweat on and your heart pumping.
It’s worth finding a few different types of classes you can enjoy if yoga becomes your go-to for online workout videos. That way you get the benefits of a varied workout routine and yoga practice.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This is a type of exercise where you go through phases of high-intensity exercise and rest.
These workouts are perfect to do at home. They don’t require equipment. They’re great for cardio (especially if you hate running).
You’ll find a ton of strength training workouts that require nothing more than your body. Many of these videos range from 20 to 30 minutes that help you get stronger at tough exercises that require no weights at all. Movements push-ups, planks, or pull-ups.
So they’re great for building strength and require a minimal time commitment each day.
Sign-up to work with an online personal trainer or yoga instructor
Working with a personal trainer is one of the best ways to ensure you get results. They hold you accountable and they’re experts in designing training routines for a wide range of needs.
Now, with the rise in online training, there are so many ways you can get a trainer without ever stepping foot in a gym.
Some online trainers still offer very personalized plans online. While others offer a subscription to general classes for anyone to take.
Many online trainers offer more cost-effective online training programs on a month-to-month basis. And you can choose a level of personalization that’s right for you.
The reality is, it’s easier than ever to find a personal trainer. This means you have even more support options as you go through your weight loss journey.
Need help staying active at home?
If your goal is to lose weight, exercise will help you get there. And it’ll make you healthier in other ways, like elevated mood and improved heart health.
But it’s hard to figure it all out on your own.
Our weight loss specialists help you create and stick to an exercise plan that’s right for you. One that goes along with the diet and weight loss plan we create just for you.
So if you need support and guidance in your weight loss goals, reach out to your closest Valley Medical location today.
- “How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm.