Bring the Gym to You & Workout at Home
In the wake of this new normal, taking care of your body, mind and spirit has never been more important. Sure, working out will keep you in physical shape, but equally meaningful are those sweet endorphins that help relieve stress and elevate your mood, so when it comes to getting exercise and caring for your body, it’s time to get creative!
Certified personal trainer Holly Roser, says that some of the biggest obstacles preventing people from showing up were, “time constraints and the ability to prioritize fitness in front of other events and hobbies.” Now that time has suddenly opened up, healthy possibilities are emerging. So when it comes to exercising, pick a routine that brings you joy. Let it be fun. Develop workarounds. As you create alternative habits, set aside the same time-slot each day to work on your body. Crank up your favorite playlist. Watch a video. Facetime your trainer. Or get virtual-social by picking a friend to be your accountability partner and check in with each other daily.
No Gym. No Problem. Read on...
Take a break from the news and social media and turn to the breath for centering. Try the calming three part Yoga breath; expand the lungs, open the chest, and breathe through the nose, deep into your abdomen. Harmonize the right and left sides of the brain and promote inner calm with alternate nostril breathing. And if you'd like a powerful energizing breath, turn to the Breath of Fire.
Stretch & Align
Stand tall in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
With feet a few inches apart, gently tuck in your tailbone. Envision a clear thread moving along your spine, up through your shoulders, head, toward the sky, aligning your body with ease. Throughout the day, make a practice to return to standing and listen to your body. Pause. Tune in... Ask yourself what would feel good. Do you need to stretch your arms toward the sky? Maybe a twist from right to left would help your energy flow. Or reach down, touch your toes, and slowly rise back up again.
Don't have dumbbells and a treadmill, no worries. Did you know you can use a sack of flour as a weight as you do a lunge? Check out this cool video from the British Heart Foundation that teaches you how to exercise with common household items such as water bottles, soup cans, and even a carton of milk!
When sitting for long periods of time, make sure your back is supported on a comfortable chair and avoid keeping your neck crooked in the same position for hours on end. If you like, transition from remote work to Yoga, with Chair Yoga poses, that are quite remarkable. For a video, try Yoga with Adrienne's Chair Yoga sequence.
Run With Your Dog
If you have a quiet space where you can safely walk, Holly suggests bringing your furry pal along with you for a run in the morning or evening, and preferably in 50-73 degree weather. But before dashing out the door with your cockapoo, “make sure you have adequate water for you and your dog,” says Holly. Additionally, be mindful of your dogs needs. Depending on the breed, different distance levels are advisable. Holly says, “ensure with your vet the proper distance for your dog to run, as there is a huge difference in running capability for a Corgi (small dog with small legs) than Labrador.” How should you get started? “Try a moderate run/jog for 20 minutes 3x a week with your dog. Then after two weeks, increase your jog/running time to 30-45 minutes. You want your dog to slowly build up his/her stamina.”
The benefits of jumping on a trampoline include increased bone density, immunity, circulation, core and muscle strength. Not everyone has enough space to fit one in their home. So consider the mini version, the rebounder, which is compact and can fit in the smallest areas. When should you start jumping? Obviously, it's not the best idea to leap up and down on a full stomach, so early morning before breakfast is ideal. The movement helps counter the rigidity of your sleep position through the night, and also gets the lymph moving, naturally stimulating your immune system. Holly says, “I think they are truly a fun workout and have a huge calorie burn. Easy on your joints, but if you have ankle stability issues, or previous ankle problems, this isn’t the workout for you.” Note: check with your Dr. to make sure it’s safe for you.
Laughter As Medicine
No wonder a belly laugh feels so great. The benefits of laughter Yoga include: strengthening immunity, stress reduction, lower blood pressure, blood sugar; plus laughter may also serve as an antidepressant. How do you do it? You can take a class, or try it in the solitude of your own home. Here's a video by Dr. Kataria, 40 of the most Popular Exercises in Yoga Laughter Clubs.
Laugh daily: breath fully and naturally into your belly and exhale. Find a comfortable position where your body feels relaxed. Think of something that makes you laugh; if nothing springs to mind, that's fine. Simply recreate laughter. Keep doing it like a mantra, as long as possible. As you laugh, your body will feel the effects and naturally natural produce endorphins as though you were in a joyful situation. Note: if you're concerned about getting laugh lines, gently apply some olive or coconut oil to your face beforehand so you'll be able to freely contort your facial muscles.
A terrific way to stretch and get your endorphins flowing is through expressive dance. In addition to lifting your spirits and working your joints, dance warms the body. If you are feeling frustrated or sad and want to transform your mood, create a playlist that evokes joyful memories; dedicate the time and space to dance it out. Ballet, modern, jazz, funk, how you move is up to you. If you'd like some virtual company while you dance, try a dance cardio workout or ballet barre fitness,
When it comes to dance fitness, Holly is partial to Zumba, and says it can “shed 300-500 calories in an hour, calorie burn depends on how hard you're pushing yourself, really try to move your body as fast as you can.” How well you move isn't as important as the movement itself. “Zumba is great because it's fairly easy to memorize and the goal is to workout, not to memorize choreography,” says Holly. For a high intensity burn, try a Strong 30, Zumba video.
It's great if you have a park or yard, but you don't need space to stretch your legs; walking briskly is an ideal way to snag some cardio and clear your head. It also helps with gaining clarity and focus for creative projects. If you are working on a mantra or intention, repeat it over silently as you walk. If walking outside, try meshing mindfulness on your journey by heightening awareness of your surroundings; notice each sound, pause and tune into your senses.
You needn’t have an expansive space to walk. Walking in place for 20 minutes a day, simulates a treadmill, and is another way to get your heartrate up. And if you have stairs in your home, walk up and down for a set number of times, in place of a stair-master. Check out Leslie Sansone's video, on how to walk a mile a day, staying in place.
Deepen Your Yoga Practice
Along with Yoga classes, it's also important to maintain an at home practice. The Sun Salute, a series of 12 poses that flow into one another, is a beautiful way to practice mindfulness while strengthening the body/mind/soul. Read Yoga & Meditation to Initiate Change. And for some video inspiration: try Sun Salutations for various levels from master teacher Rodney Yee. And Elaine Gavalas, Salute to Gods & Goddesses. Additionally, for various Yoga and meditation videos, check out Yoga With Adrienne or Tara Stiles YouTube channel.
For additional workout options: check out Stream These Classes For Free, from USA Today.