Physical fitness during the COVID-19 routine can become difficult. And even more so if you were accustomed to going to a traditional gym. It is important to try and find a new routine that can either maintain your existing level of fitness or start to make improvements. Physical health is key to a strong immune system and can also play an important part in your mental health in times of stress.
What is physical health or “fitness”?
The million-dollar question. Definitions vary. And some define fit as your ability to walk across a stage in a bikini and receive prizes for doing so. When discussing physical fitness during COVID-19 we will focus instead on fitness as a means of participating fully in life. Can you keep up with your 2-year-old? Can you get down onto the floor and play with your grandchildren – pain-free? Can you rush up a set of stairs without getting winded? Can you carry your groceries without getting a sore back?
Some of these daily life tasks require strength, and some require mobility. Both of these are important components of physical health. Generally speaking, mobility should take priority over strength. Adding “load” or weight to a body in an exercise when proper mobility is not present risks injury. Mobility is the union of flexibility – like being able to touch your toes – and stability – touching your toes without falling forward on your face.
Strength is a far more common topic in the fitness industry, and typically refers to the body’s ability to lift, press, push, and pull objects. Life often requires us to do this in a way that is unbalanced or awkward. One way of seeing the lack of ability to go to a gym during this pandemic is as an opportunity to train in a way that replicates real life. Using awkward or day-to-day objects if you don’t have gym equipment is a great way to still get the strength component of your training in.
There are a lot of people experiencing issues around motivation for physical fitness during COVID-19. A few tips for overcoming this.
1 – Don’t over commit yourself or set super high expectations. Emotional stress is high and that may be impacting your motivation and ability to recover from a workout. So be gentle with yourself.
2 – Go for a walk instead of your “normal” routine so that you are not feeling overwhelmed to “get your workout done”.
3 – Just try 10 minutes. At the height of my mental health issues, when my physical health suffered most, my therapist would tell me to, “just try 10 minutes.” Sometimes that was enough, sometimes I would want more and complete my workout.
4 – Find you’re “why”. Write yourself a letter and figure out, deep down, why your physical health is important to you. Then make the decision to fulfill your why.
Here are two quick workouts you can complete at home with your own body weight and some dumbbells or substitutes (soup cans, laundry soap, a bottle of vinegar, etc). Before you begin to get yourself an Interval Timer App on your phone. For the first workout, set it up to beep at you every:30 seconds for “work” and every:15 seconds for “rest”. This is a beginner style workout with plenty of rest, if you are more advanced you can use less rest or just rest between rounds. Start with two rounds, just to give yourself a little 10-minute break in your day. Add more rounds if you want this to become your full workout.
Always, always, warm up your body first with some light dynamic movement. At Round Two Fitness we start each class with a joint articulation sequence just to get the fluid in the joints moving before you begin. Simply move in each direction your joints from head to toe, neck rolls, shoulder rolls, make circles with your elbows and wrists, etc.
20 high knees
20 butt kicks
10 push up plus (from your knees is fine)
10 side shuffle each direction
10 high/low reach
3 cycles of cat/cow
Set up your Interval Timer, complete repetitions of each exercise during the “work” interval, then rest and move to the next exercise. Complete the list for “Round 1”. Rest, then repeat for 2 to 4 rounds.
Bodyweight squats (or add weight by grabbing something heavy)
High plank (just hold or to increase the intensity, tap your shoulders while keeping the hips stable)
Bent over row (hinge forward, pull elbows up alongside you, keep your back flat, use weight)
Walkouts (roll down, walk your hands out to a plank position, walk hands back up, stand up, repeat)
Fake skipping (or real if you have a rope)
Mountain climbers (regular or cross body if you want it more intense)
Rest for the next full internal
Use the same warm-up as workout 1. Set up your Interval Timer to beep at you every minute. We are going to complete cycles of 1 minute, called EMOM (every minute on the minute). Once you complete the listed number of repetitions, you rest for the remaining part of the minute. Complete 10 sets, or 10 minutes, of each exercise before you move to the next.
20 Bodyweight lunges (10 per side)
15 Leg Lifts (be sure to put your hands under your glutes and don’t let your low back engage)
10-15 Push-ups (on your knees is fine. In later minutes if you can’t make the reps, just go to failure)
Three exercises in this format will take you 30 minutes to complete. If you don’t have that much time start with just 5 sets, or 5 minutes, of each exercise.
Cool down and stretch
After each workout, spend some time completing some light movement and stretching. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consume a good protein source when your workout is complete.
Round Two Fitness is a small boutique style studio offering strength training classes and yoga. Located in a garage space on Lorne Street it is a unique training space for women of all ages and abilities, including a full five days of Mom and Me classes for postpartum women. Coach Michelle is a personal trainer, yoga instructor and holds multiple certifications from Agatsu Fitness, as well as being the Agatsu Affiliate Gym for the Sudbury area. Physical fitness during COVID-19 looks a little different, all classes have been moved online and clients are working hard to stay fit and keep each other accountable. Check out Michelle at facebook.com/myroundtwo/