Fitness is the foundation of physical health, longevity, fighting ability, and mental health as well. Now, during the Covid 19 lockdown, staying fit may be a challenge for many, yet maintaining an exercise program is more vital than ever. I certainly miss the gym, and I am not sure how soon I will be back to it. Thus, I am exercising at home.
A key element for maintaining health, especially mental health, is to spend a good amount of time outdoors during this new normal. I get out in the late afternoons with my wife and children for a long walk almost every day, weather permitting, and this does wonders for our health and our spirits. It is a family activity we look forward to, usually doing a couple of miles along the various walking trails in our neighborhood.
Beyond this, however, a serious exercise regime needs to be maintained. My suggestion is to strive for cardio work at least three days a week, and strength training at least twice a week. However, if limited in your ability to work out now that you are stuck at home, how can you accomplish this?
First, consider your cardio. Are you into running or jogging? If so, this is the obvious outlet when the weather is good. Due to my back condition that I have had since a young age I don’t run much, save some sprinting once in a while. Long distance walking is fine for me, but long distance running is not in the cards for me. Therefore, I rely on stationary bikes and elliptical machines for the bulk of my cardio. At home, I have a good exercise bike that I have been using three days a week. If you are not much of a runner, I think investing in a stationary machine like a good recumbent bike is worth the investment. I typically do half an hour of intense work on the bike, then follow that with about 10 minutes of hitting the B.O.B bag, resulting in an intense 40 minute cardio exercise, and I try to get this in three days a week.
Concerning strength training, I don’t have much of a weight system in my home as I always did this at the gym. Therefore, I have been relying mainly on body weight exercises. When using the gym under normal circumstances I usually do two days a week of actual strength training, involving the big movements of squats, overhead presses, pull-ups, bench presses, etc… But in the new normal I have been relying on exercise that requires little equipment.
My routine has been 4 to 5 sets of pushups, 25 reps a set. Sometimes I will start off with a 50 rep set. Next, 4 to 5 sets of pull-ups, typically 10 reps a set. I also do 4 to 5 sets of sit-ups and leg lunges as well. I have also been doing several sets of plyometric pushups (throwing your upper body into the air on the pushup) and several sets of box jumps as well. These are power movements, a beneficial exercise that is different than just strength training. This whole routine only takes about half an hour, but it is a very intense half an hour. Depending on the day and mood, I will substitute dips for the pushups and bridges (for the lower back) instead of the pull-ups.
Another tool I have put to use that is of minimal cost and can be used anywhere is resistance bands. I like to use these for sagittal movement exercises. Twisting type movements, that your body does often in daily life, are usually not targeted in common exercises. At least once a week I like to do several sets of twisting with band resistance for abs and back. I have also put the heavy bands to use for squatting at home. Obviously, this is not a replacement for a squat rack, but I don’t have one of those at home.
So, if you are wondering how to go about staying in shape during quarantine, or perhaps using the lockdown as an opportunity to get in shape, maybe this routine will give you some ideas to get you started. Realistically, this is not going to be a massive strength building routine to become a power lifter. It will, however, build and maintain functional fitness.
Stay in shape guys. Oh, and get your dry fire practice in as well. Now, if only I could put down the fork and eat better I might start looking like I am in good shape as well, but that is the hard part for me.