Have the gym closures thrown your workout routine out of whack? Do you find yourself reaching for a chips bag more than your workout gear? If you answered yes to these questions, it is time for you to take charge of your physical health and establish a healthy routine to stay in shape during the quarantine.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial for you to take care of your body, diet and workouts, as they are the vital keys to maintaining your physical health. With gyms and fitness centers shut, you might be finding it difficult to motivate yourself to get in your daily workout. And once you stop working out, your mind convinces you to have the extra slice of cake. You tell yourself that you will make up for it once the gyms reopen. And if you are like most people, you probably do not have exercise equipment at home which makes it even more difficult to workout.
But regardless of your fitness levels, there are a lot of different ways in which you can stay in shape and be fit during the quarantine. You do not need any fancy exercise equipment or an elaborate workout routine to stay active and healthy. Just follow these six simple tips to come out of the quarantine with a healthy body and mind.
1. MAKE YOUR HOME AN INEXPENSIVE MINI GYM
Lifting heavy weights at your favorite fitness center is not a possibility right now, so the next best thing you can do to get your daily workouts right is – bodyweight exercises, cardio sessions, Yoga, pilates, etc. You do not need a lot of exercise equipment to get a good and intense workout, using your body is enough to give you a good burn.
Simple things like walking around the house, dancing for an hour, or jumping rope are great options to replace your cardio sessions.
If you prefer a more intense workout, try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Tabata workouts. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube and various fitness apps that you can browse through to find one that suits your current fitness levels
Want to add some more strength training to your body weight exercises? Try muscle specific workouts like push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, etc. to work on isolated body parts. You can also choose workouts to build your core strength
Still not sure if this is your workout style? Don’t worry; there are more options to try. Yoga is another great form of exercise that can help you improve your flexibility while also increasing strength. Also, you can try Pilates; it is a low impact workout that helps you tone your muscles and build your stamina.
And just because you do not have fancy exercise equipment at home does not mean you can’t get creative with objects around the house. If you are bored of just doing body weight exercises, use filled water bottles in place of dumbbells or carry a backpack full of your heaviest books, heavy pots, laundry detergents, small pieces of furniture – the possibilities are endless.
You can also invest in simple exercise equipment and accessories like a yoga mat and inexpensive resistance bands to help you out during this time. Experiment with different household objects and build your own mini gym at home.
2. GO OUTDOORS ALONE!
Going on a walk or a run, riding a bicycle, or going on a solo hike are great ways to get in some sunshine and fresh air while getting your workout done. Avoid engaging in team sports and group activities until it is safe to do so.
Practice social distancing when outside and take all precautions to protect yourself and those around you when you are in a public place. Once you are back home from your workout, do not forget to wash and sanitize your hands and any other objects like your phone, keys, and water bottles that you might have carried with you outside.
In this quarantine time, doing these safe outdoor activities would give you a boost and will make you feel positive and refreshed.
3. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Your workout is only one small part of your overall physical health; your diet makes up for a major chunk of your fitness and health. Now is a great time to be mindful of what you eat every day and give your body nutritious food.
Try to reduce your intake of processed junk foods and alcohol. Make sure you consume proteins and vegetables in every meal. It is okay to enjoy a chocolate bar occasionally. You can also treat yourself with your favorite pizza once in a while, but do not turn your cheat meal into cheat weeks.
Focus on giving your body the right nutrition it needs to stay healthy.Eat foods rich in antioxidants it will help you increase your immunity. Whether you are a vegan, eat meat, or have different dietary restrictions, use this time to understand your body and how different foods affect you not just physically but how they also impact your mood and productivity levels.
Learn to cook healthier alternativesfor your favorite dishes from restaurants and indulge in low-calorie and sugar-free homemade desserts. Plan your meals in advance, so you do not have to resort to grabbing the nearest pack of cookies when hunger strikes.
Meal planning and prepping help you stay organized, keep track of your calories and the different nutrients you are consuming. Even if you do not plan your meals, having a general idea of what the week ahead looks like will make it easier for you to avoid cheat meals.
4. STAY ACTIVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
The 45-minute workout you did in the morning is going to do little to your overall health if you spend the rest of the day on your couch or your desk. You are probably sitting more than you did before the quarantine. This means that you are also probably hunched over your desk or slouched in bed. And then you wonder why your back is always hurting!
Since your overall activity levels have reduced, you need to find ways to keep moving throughout the day to keep your metabolism rates high and your body working efficiently. Tight muscles can reduce the mobility in your joints and having a full range of motion in your joints is extremely important to prevent injuries.
For every hour, you sit at your desk, walk around the house for five minutes. After every couple of hours, try out some simple stretches for your back, neck, and shoulders to counteract all the slouching you have been doing. If possible, invest in a standing desk and work standing up for as long as you can. Even if you cannot get a standing desk, you can create your own by simply stacking up a few old boxes or heavy books on your desk.
Watch an episode of Netflix or listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast while walking around the house. These simple tasks might seem simple, but they work like charm.
5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP AT NIGHT
When it comes to staying in shape, food and exercise are often what most people tend to focus on. But did you know that your sleep also plays a huge role in your physical health?
Regardless of how much you exercise, if you do not give your body enough time to rest and recover, you will not see the results of your hard work. When you sleep, your body gets to work. Your body works on repairing the micro-tears that are created in your muscles during the workouts. This is crucial to prevent fatigue and muscle injury.
That’s not all, lack of sleep can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels – your stress hormones. High cortisol levels are responsible for those sweet and salty food cravings you get throughout the day. Your appetite is also elevated when your cortisol levels are high, which is why you find yourself eating more than you usually would on the days you are stressed.
To prevent all of this from happening, you should aim to get anywhere between seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. By sacrificing your sleep for that one extra episode of your favorite show, you are not only putting your next day’s mood and productivity at risk but are also sabotaging your fitness progress and making it tougher for yourself to reach your goals.
Establish a calming nighttime routine that signals your brain that it is soon time to shut down and go to bed. Put away your devices, put on some calm music if you like, read a book, and help your mind unwind before you sleep. Some people also find it helpful to meditate or do some light stretches before bed. Do whatever you need to do to ensure a good night’s rest.
6. DO NOT STRESS ABOUT THE SCALE
Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle and bulk up, the scale is a good tool to track your progress. But remember, the number on the scale is no way an absolute measure of your hard work and dedication. And while you are living through a pandemic, how much you weigh should be the last thing on your mind.
While it is okay to occasionally check your weight to keep track, do not let the number on the scale affect your mood. Your body is probably going through a lot of changes now that your activity levels have changed. Thus, instead of focusing on how your body could have changed if you had access to a fitness center, be grateful and thankful that you are safe and healthy. Your weight loss or muscle gaining goals can wait. Use this time to build a healthy relationship with your body and the scale and use the weighing scale only as a guiding tool.