There is no hiding the fact that exercise opportunities have been somewhat restricted for the past couple of months. Fitness centers normally crawling with members and group workout classes packed mirror to mirror are less likely to offer the necessary safety precautions while maintaining the business-as-usual offerings to large numbers of paying customers. And without those and other tested indoor options, park trails and sidewalks have become busier.
Now, we are not saying that staying at home more has led to hibernation-level eating habits, but this author will humbly admit to falling off the workout wagon after his gym temporarily closed its doors. Am I slightly less disappointed in myself because the outlook for upcoming weekends spent poolside in Tan Mode is less than optimistic? Maybe. Do I still rue slacking off for the better part of a month? Yes.
Dwelling on the past is not going to help----getting back on the wagon absolutely will. So where do we start if we are planning for a typical summer? We all have our weaknesses and not every workout caters to every individual. Here are a few options to consider if you want to be ready for summertime:
Inside or outside, you have the necessary gear to engage in body-weight training (hint: look in the mirror). For someone used to dumbbells and cable machines and squat racks – like me – the prospect of a bare floor can be an uncomfortable unknown. Muscle & Fitness has a wonderful Bodyweight Beach Workouts article outlining a week’s schedule with simple-yet-exhausting exercises like burpees, dips, lunges, and sprints that do not require expensive equipment. While it might be nice to run on the beach as the article suggests, you can easily turn a backyard or part of a park into your workout space. If you are concerned with the intensity of the plan, just do the exercises you feel work for you, at your own pace – no shame in knowing your limits and goals.
While outside, remember to protect your skin from harmful rays with broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen.
Running any meaningful distance is out of the question for me due to a nagging injury or two, though it might be one of the most complete cardiovascular-focused options around. There are alternatives I very much enjoy, like swimming, but times dictate we get a bit more creative. Shape has The Best Cardio Workout at Home, a circuit similar to a body-weight session with less of an emphasis on strength training. It includes a warm-up and yoga cool-down activities with breathing tips so you can get the most out of the workout and recover, too.
Shape recommends a morning start time to jumpstart your day. You may want to unwind later with a relaxing, relieving soak.
Workout Fun with Kids + Friends
We have already shared a blog on at-home workouts you can do with your kids. The tips are horseplay-heavy and aimed at families with younger kids with games like hide and seek. There are some nifty tidbits regarding using other humans as resistance equipment, though. Think of your children – or non-youth roommates – as opposing forces; utilize them to add that much more weight or difficulty to an already strenuous movement. Experiment with other activities, too, not just those with names like plank or bench press (Tug of War, anyone?).
Roughhousing comes with its own considerations. Be prepared to quickly take care of scratches and other wounds that are bound to happen.
If you can, look to Mother Nature as a natural gym. Following recommended and mandated guidelines for social distancing and other measures aimed at maximizing safety outside of the home, start by exploring the areas around your residence. I am not saying you should begin your rock-climbing journey at the first cliff face you come across but dare to stray from the path of least resistance. Turn steppingstones into a hopscotch court. Pick up bigger rocks and boulders (one at a time) and take them for a lap. Use a natural incline/decline for adjustable exercises like crunches and pushups. Dodge those pesky squirrels or chase them up a tree to get your lungs burning. Just be kind to and smart with Earth’s offerings, and be sure to remain aware of your surroundings.
You will not find the kind of CAUTION notices gyms post for liability purposes out in nature. You will want to ward off bugs that sting and think about carrying relief for rashes and other skin irritations caused by plants poisonous or otherwise.
Of course, diet and things like sleep patterns will affect your energy levels and fitness; exercising is just one part of an overall plan. We have published a few blogs on immune-boosting foods and things you can do to relax and de-stress. Let us know if you have workout tips or other notes about getting ready for summer.