Before this past year, I thought I had the workout thing all figured out. I had a set schedule, and I could easily accommodate a multi-bridge bike ride or a ninety-minute yoga class into my daily routine. I would be surprised when people told me they hadn’t practiced in over a month, or that they found it hard to find the time to even get outside some days. Fast forward to 2020, when everyone is doing at-home workouts.
Five ways to get a workout in
Because I could work from anywhere, sometimes I ended up working everywhere. I didn’t keep the same routine I had before (who did?). Some mornings I would wake up particularly inspired, and start typing only to look up and realize that the sun had gone down and I had not left the house in a while. I started dreading my at-home workouts because I was bored. My Ashtanga-yoga-every-day-practice turned into a much more accessible just-sweat-every-day practice.
These days I am a lot better about getting outside before I start working, and after my morning smoothie. During the winter that was not always an option, so I found the following strategies to help get my at-home workouts in when I was too cold (or too busy) to get outside.
This one is a favorite of mine. Something I picked up during my Pilates honeymoon phase. It stands for “Tuck Tummy In”. Engaging your core is a great way to turn any activity into a workout. If you engage your abs while you’re walking, cooking, or typing (paying special attention to those low abdominal muscles beneath your navel), you can feel like you’ve got a solid class in a short amount of time.
My favorite way to do this is while walking (even if you only have 10-20 minutes). The motion of your legs pulls on your obliques as well as the other abdominal muscles, making it a full range session as opposed to standing or sitting still. Get an interval timer app for your phone and set it to two minutes with thirty seconds of rest so you don’t forget what you’re doing.
DIY interval training
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is my favorite form of exercise and I love that I can start and stop as I need to. I’ll set an interval timer app for three minutes of high impact, and one minute of low impact and have it run for usually about forty minutes. Anything is tolerable for a short amount of time, and you can mix and match depending on what you need.
My interval training usually looks like any of the choice moves I can remember from barre or pilates, combined with squats, twerking, dancing, planks, frogs or whatever else I feel. Committing to three minutes of squats and a one-minute plank while you’re cooking dinner or cleaning house is a lot more manageable than trying to fit a one-hour session into your life. Doing as many intervals as you can throughout the day for a boost of energy can add up to a full workout. We have another example of interval training for apartment living here.
Dance it out
Dancing is one of the best at-home workouts on earth and if it brings you joy, it’s a great bet. Dancing is a joy practice, you can’t push yourself to dance harder unless it’s really something you do. Crank some music and dance however it feels good to you. Don’t worry about if it’s the best action your quads have ever seen, or if you’re doing it right. It’s just about joyful movement, and the workouts that you’re the happiest while doing will give you the best and most sustainable results. Dancing has remarkable benefits as well, including boosting memory.
Okay, you literally have no time, got it. If you have seven minutes, we’ve got you. I’ve done this in the bathroom, in the office at work, on a subway platform and anywhere else I can squeeze it in. It’s ten exercises you know well, like jumping jacks for thirty seconds each, and you’re guaranteed to sweat. The 7-minute workout is an app you can download in the app store, and I promise you, these seven minutes in fitness heaven are guaranteed to make you feel like you ran eight miles with weights on! Seven minutes, you can do it!
Walk it out
Walking may not make the sweat pour and your heart rate soar, but it is something most people enjoy and can be a really great workout. If you missed your workout, but you still have some time and the weather is on your side, take a little walk. Some people do best before work, some like a lunch time walk, or after dinner is great. Walking is an extremely underrated workout.
You can hit your workout hard tomorrow or the next day, but a walk and a little T.T.I. leaves you feeling stretched, refreshed, and just-worn-out enough to get a great night’s sleep. Just do yourself a favor, and don’t text or social media at the same time. Get your music, get your podcast, but let the day fade away otherwise. Exercise is about taking the time for you, so whatever it is you choose to do, let it be something you feel good about and give yourself the gift of doing it well.
Written by the Clean Team